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LATE SHORT ADMINISTRATION.
The late administration came into employment, under the mediation of the Duke of Cumberland, on the tenth day of July 1765; and was removed, upon a plan settled by the Earl of Chatham, on the thirtieth day of July 1766, having lasted just one year and twenty days.
In that space of time
The distractions of the British empire were composed, by the repeal of the Amgrican stamp act ;
But the constitutional superiority of Great Britain was preserved by the act for securing the dependence of the colonies.
Private houses were relieved from the jurisdiction of the excise, by the repeal of the cider-tax.
The personal liberty of the subject was confirmed, by the resolution against general warrants.
The lawful secrets of business and friendship were rendered inviolable, by the resolution for condemning the seizure of papers.
The trade of America was set free from injudicious and ruinous impositions——its revenue was improved, and settled upon a rational foundation—its commerce extended with foreign countries; while all the advantages were secured to Great Britain, by the act for repealing certain duties, and encouraging, regulating, and securing the trade of this kingdom, and the British dominions in America.
Materials were provided and insured to our manufacturesthe sale of these manufactures was increased—the African trade preserved and extended—the principles of the act of navigation pursued, and the plan improved—and the trade for bullion rendered free, secure, and permanent, by the act for opening certain ports in Dominica and Jamaica.
That administration was the first which proposed and encouraged public meetings and free consultations of merchants from all parts of the kingdom; by which means the truest lights have been received; great benefits have been already derived to manufactures and commerce ; and the most extensive prospects are opened for further improvement.
Under them, the interests of our northern and southern colonies, before that time jarring and dissonant, were understood, compared, adjusted, and perfectly reconciled. The passions and animosities of the colonies, by judicious and lenient measures, were allayed and composed, and the foundation laid for a lasting agreement amongst them.
Whilst that administration provided for the liberty and commerce of their country, as the true basis of its power, they consulted its interests, they asserted its honour abroad, with temper and with firmness; by making an advantageous treaty of commerce with Russia; by obtaining a liquidation of the Canada bills, to the satisfaction of the proprietors; by reviving and raising from its ashes the negotiation for the Manilla ransom, which had been extinguished and abandoned by their predecessors.
They treated their sovereign with decency; with reverence. They discountenanced, and, it is hoped, for ever abolished, the dangerous and unconstitutional practice of removing military officers for their votes in parliament. They firmly adhered to those friends of liberty, who had run all hazards in its cause ; and provided for them in preference to every other claim.
With the Earl of Bute they had no personal connexion ; no correspondence of councils. They neither courted him nor persecuted him. They practised no corruption ; nor were they even suspected of it. They sold no offices. They obtained no reversions or pensions, either coming in or going out, for themselves, their families, or their dependents.
In the prosecution of their measures they were traversed by an opposition of a new and singular character; an opposition of placemen and pensioners. They were supported by the confidence of the nation. And having held their offices under many difficulties and discouragements, they left them at the express command, as they had accepted them at the earnest request, of their royal master.
These are plain facts; of a clear and public nature ; neither extended by elaborate reasoning, nor heightened by the colouring of eloquence. They are the services of a single year.
The removal of that administration from power is not to them premature ; since they were in office long enough to accomplish many plans of public utility; and, by their perseverance and resolution, rendered the way smooth and easy to their successors ; having left their king and their country in a much better condition than they found them. By the temper they manifest, they seem to have now no other wish, than that their successors may do the public as real and as faithful service as they have done.