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P R E F A C E.
CHE following Speech has been much the subje& of convere
fation ; and the desire of having it printed was last summer very general. The means of gratifying the public curiosity were obligingly furnished from the notes of some gentlemen, Members of the lait Parliament.
This piece has been for some months ready for the press. But a delicacy, poflibly over ferupulous, has delayed the publication to this time. The friends of adminiftration have been used to attribute a great deal of the opposition to their measures in Američa to the writings published in England. The Editor of this Speech kept it back, until all the measures of government have had their full operation, and can be no longer affected, if ever they could have been affected by any publication
Most Readers will recollect the uncommon pains taken at the beginning of the laft feffion of the jaft Parliament, and indeed during the whole course of it, to asperfe the characters, and decry the measures of those who were supposed to be friends to America, in order to weaken the effe&t of their opposition to the acts of rigour then preparing against the Colonies. This Speech contains a full refutation of the charges against that party with which Mr. Burke has all along aged. In doing this, he has taken a review of the effects of all the schemes which have been fuccessively adopted in the government of the plantations. The fubject is interesting; the matters of information various and important; and the publication ax this time, tho Editor hopes, willinot be thought anseasonable.
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 act made in the 7th year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled, " An act for granting $ certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in Amerí.
ca; for allowing a 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 discontinu, " ing the drawbacks, payable con China earthen ware exported * to America ; and for more effectually preventing the clandef* tine running of goods in the faid colonies and plantations ;" inight be read.
11 And the fame being read accordinglyı; He moved, " That this "honfe will, upon this day fevennight, resolve itselfontosa com“ mittee of the whole house, to take into consideration the duty of “ 3d. per pound weight upon tea, payable in all his Majesty's “ dominions in America, imposed by the said act ; and also the “appropriation of the said duty."
On this latter motion a warm and interesting debate arose, in which Mr. Edmund Burke spoke as follows. 32*' SIR,
this subject is not new in the 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, session after session, we have been lashed round and round this miserable circle of occasional arguments and temporary expedients. I am sure our heads must turn, and our stomachs nauseate with them. We have had them in every shape; we have looked at them in every point of view, Invention is exhausted ; reason is fatigued ; experience has given judgment; but obftinacy is not yet conquered.
The hon. Gentleman has made one endeavour more to diversify the form of this disgusting argument. He has thrown out a speech
composed * Charles Wolfron Cornwall, Esq; lately appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury,
composed almost of challenges. Challenges are serious things; and as he is a man of prudence as well as resolution, I dare say he had very well weighed those challenges before he delivered them. I had long the happiness to fit at the fame side of the house, and to agree with the hon. Gentleman on all the American queftions My sentiments, I am sure, are well known to him; and I thought I had been perfectly acquainted with his. Though I find myfelf mistaken, he will fill permit me to use the privilege of an old friendship; he will perinit me to apply myself to the house under the fanction 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, merely' confined to the question on your pa. per the other more large and more complicated ; comprehending the whole series of parliamentary proceedings with regard to America, their causes, and their consequences. With regard to the latter ground, he ftates it as useless, and thinks it may be even dangerous, to enter into so extensive a field of enquiry. Yet, to my surprize, he had hardly laid down this restri&tive proposition, to which his authority would have given so much weight, wher directly, and with the fame' authority, he condemns it'; and de clares it absolutely neceffary to enter into the most ample historical detail. His zeal has thrown him a little out of his usual accu. racy. In this perplexity what shall we do, fir, who are willing to submit to the law he gives us ? He has reprobated in one part of his speech the rule he had laid down for debate in the other ; and, after narrowing the ground for all those who are to speak after him, he takes an excursion himself, as unbounded as the fubje&t and the extent of his great abilities. "! Sir, When I cannot obey all his laws, I will do the best I can. I will endeavour to obey such of them as have the sanction of his. example ; and to stick to that rule, which, though not consistent with The other, is the moft rational. He was certainly in the right when he took the matter largely. 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 afferts, that retrospect is not wife; and the proper, the only proper, fubje& of enquiry' is, “not how we got into this difficulty, but w how we are to get out of it.” In other words, we are, according to him, to confuit our invention, and to reject our experience. The mode of deliberation he recommends is diámetrically opposite to every rule of reason, and every principle of good-fense establifhed