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nevertheless, continued to grow in strength. “Men are opening their eyes," said Voltaire, "from one end of Europe to the other. Fanaticism, which feels its humiliation and implores the arm of authority, makes the involuntary confession of its defeat. Let us bless this happy revolution which has taken place in the minds of men of probity within fifteen or twenty years. It has exceeded my hopes."
That a greater change hung over America could not escape the penetration of Jonathan Trumbull, the deputy governor of Connecticut. He was a model of the virtues of a rural magistrate, never weary of business, profoundly religious, grave in manner, discriminating in judgment, fixed in his principles, steadfast in purpose, and by his ability and patriotism enchaining respect and confidence. His opinion was formed, that, if "methods tending to violence should be taken to maintain the dependence of the colonies, it would hasten a separation ;” that the connection with England could be preserved by “gentle and insensible methods,” rather than “by power or force.” But not so reasoned Townshend, who, after the Whitsuntide holidays, 6 stole” his bill through both houses. The stamp act had called an American revenue “just and necessary,” and had been repcaled as impolitic. Townshend's preamble to his bill granting duties in America on glass, red and white lead, painters' colors and paper, and threepence a pound on tea,
declared a “certain and adequate " American revenue
“expedient." By another act, a board of customs July.
was established at Boston; and general writs of assistance were legalized. For New York, an act of parliament suspended the functions of its representatives, till they should render obedience to the imperial legislature.
On such an alternative, it was thought that that province would submit without delay; and that the Americans, as their tea would now come to them at a less price than to the consumers in England, would pay the impost in their own ports with only seeming reluctance.
But the new measures were even more subversive of right than those of Grenville, who left the civil officers dependent on the local legislators, and consigned the pro
ceeds of the American tax to the exchequer. Townshend's revenue was to be disposed of under the sign manual at the king's pleasure, and could be burdened at will by pensions to Englishmen. In so far as it provided an independent support for the crown officers, it did away with the necessity of colonial legislatures. Governors would have little inducement to call them, and an angry minister might dissolve them without inconvenience. Henceforward, native” of America could hope to receive any lucrative commission under the crown, unless he were one of the martyrs to the stamp act. Places would be filled by “some Briton-born," who should have exhibited proof of a readiness to govern the Americans, on the principle of bringing them to the most exact obedience to the dictates of the king.
The man who, at this moment of Chatham's illness, seized on the administration of the colonies, saw nothing but what at the moment lay near him. England had excelled in planting, because she sent out her sons with free institutions like her own; and now her ruler of an hour, blind alike to her interest and her glory, was undoing her noblest work. Less than two centuries before, the English was heard nowhere but among the inhabitants of the larger part of one island and a few emigrants among the Celts of another. It had now seated itself on a continent beyond the Atlantic; and a comely and industrious race, as it climbed the eastern slope of the Alleghanies, carried with it the English speech and laws and letters and love of liberty. With superior wisdom and foresight, Hume contemplated the ever expanding settlements of those who spoke the same tongue with himself, wished for them the freest and happiest development, and invited Gibbon, his great compeer, to observe that at least “the solid and in
July. creasing establishments in America promised superior stability and duration to the English language."
HOW TOWNSHEND'S AMERICAN TAXES WERE RECEIVED BY
FRANCE AND AMERICA, COALITION OF THE KING AND THE ARISTOCRACY.
The anarchy in the ministry enabled the king to govern
as well as to reign. Grafton made no tedious speeches
in the closet, and approved the late American reguJuly.
lations; persuading himself that the choice of tea as the subject of taxation was his own; that the law, suspending the legislative functions of New York, was marked by moderation and dignity; and that abrogating the charters of the American colonies would be their emancipation from « fetters."
The king, who had looked into Conway's heart to learn how to wind and govern him, attached him to office by the semblance of perfect trust; showing him all Chatham's letters, and giving him leave to treat with his own old associates.
But Rockingham, who never opened his eyes to the light that was springing from the increased intelligence of the masses, and left out of view that his glory as a statesman had come from his opposition to Grenville and Bedford, governed himself exclusively by the ancient principle of his party“ to fight up against the king and against the people," and set about cementing the shattered fragments of the old whig aristocracy. He began with Bedford. 66 Bedford and Grenville are one,” said Rigby, by authority; "and neither of them will ever depart from the ground taken, to assert and establish the entire sovereignty of Great Britain over her colonies.” But Rockingham satisfied himself by declaring for a “wide and comprehensive” system, and,
after a week's negotiation, with no plan but to support privilege against prerogative, he announced to Grafton his readiness to form a new administration.
The king, whom Rockingham had now to encounter, was greatly his superior in sagacity and consistency. Implacable towards Grenville, he surveyed calmly the condition of the checkered factions; and, seeing that his own consent to their union would set them at variance among themselves, he gave Rockingham leave to revive, if he could, the exclusive rule of the great whig families. He was master of the field, and he knew it. “ The king may make a page first minister,” said Lord Holland. The day was past when England was to be governed by privilege alone ; but, with the decline of the aristocracy, the people not less than the king increased in authority; demanded more and more to know what was passing in parliament; and, with the ready support of the press, prepared to enforce their right to intervene. “Power,” thought a French observer, “has passed into the hands of the populace and the merchants. The country is exceedingly jealous of its liberty.”
While Rockingham, self-deluded as to the purposes of his strange allies, summoned them to London, Shelburne was quieting the controversy with America respecting the billeting act. New York had foreseen the storm ; and, without recognising the binding force of the British statute, or yet conforming to its provisions, it had made a grant of money for the use of the army, without specifications. This, by the advice of the attorney and solicitor general, Shelburne received as a sufficient compliance; and the assembly went on as though nothing had happened. The health of Chatham was all the while growing worse; his life began to be despaired of; his letters were kept from him; in the transactions which were going forward, he seemed unconcerned.
About nine o'clock in the evening of the twentieth, the leaders of the two branches of the oligarchy met at
July. Newcastle house. When Rockingham had explained the purpose of the meeting, Bedford, on behalf of Temple and Grenville, declared their readiness to support a comprehen
sive administration, provided it adopted the capital measure of asserting and establishing the sovereignty of Great Britain over its colonies. At this, Rockingham flew into a violent passion. Bedford insisted with firmness on the declaration. “We may as well demand one from you," cried Richmond, “that you never will disturb that country again." Sandwich interposed to reconcile the difference, by substituting an ambiguity for the explicit language of Grenville.
Yet the same difficulty recurred on discussing the division of employments. In the house of commons, the lead must belong to Conway or Grenville. Against the latter, Rockingham was inflexible; and Bedford equally determined against the former. So, at one o'clock at night, the meeting broke up without any result, in spite of the Duke of Newcastle's tears.
The next day, Newcastle, whom forty years' experience had accomplished in the art of constructing ministries by compromise, convened the two parties once more at his house. But the difficulty about America could not be got over. Rockingham again avowed his distrust of Grenville and Temple, and insisted on Conway's taking the lead in the house of commons. This left no possibility of agreement; « and we broke up,” says Bedford, “ with our all declaring ourselves free from all engagements to one another, and to be as before this negotiation began."
During the suspense, the king, who had never been in earnest for a change, would not admit Rockingham to an audience; now that he had failed, he was received to make a petulant confession that the country required a strong, united, and permanent administration, and that he himself could not form one of any kind. The king was in the best humor. He bowed very graciously, and Rockingham bowed, and so they parted. “What did the king say to you?” asked Grafton and Conway eagerly, as Rockingham came out; and the only answer he could make was: “ Nothing." Once more Rockingham was urged to join with the
friends of Chatham; but he was unaccommodating and impracticable. A leader of a party had never