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the manuscript? It is but the opinion of one man. When it was written, or for what particular object it was written, does not appear. It might possibly be only a work of youth, or an exercise of the understanding, in sounding and trying a question problematically. All people, when they first enter professions, make their collections pretty early in life; and the manuscript may be of that sort. However, be it what it may, the opinion is but problematical ; for the act to which the writer refers never passed, and Lord Hale only said, that if it had passed, the Parliament might have abdicated their right.
But, my Lords, I shall make this application of it. You may abdicate your right over the colonies. Take care, my Lords, how you do so, for such an act will be irrevocable. Proceed, then, my Lords, with spirit and firmness; and, when you shall have established your authority, it will then be a time to show your lenity. The Americans, as I said before, are a very good people, and I wish them exceedingly well; but they are heated and inflamed. The noble Lord who spoke before ended with a prayer. I cannot end better than by saying to it Amen; and in the words of Maurice, Prince
of Orange, concerning the Hollanders : “ God bless this industrious, frugal, and well-meaning, but easily-deluded people.”
The Stamp Act was repealed, and the Declaratory Act, thus advocated by Lord Mansfield, was also passed by a large majority.
The positions taken by Lord Mansfield were answered in a variety of ways by the colonists. What may be called the American Case, was carefully stated in a “Declaration of Rights and Grievances,” passed by the New York Congress, October 19, 1765. The substance of the American claims may be summarized in the following propositions :
1. They owed their existence not to Parliament, but to the Crown. The King, in the exercise of the high sovereignty then conceded to him, had made them by charter complete civil communities, with legislatures of their own having power to lay taxes and do all other acts which were necessary to their subsistence as distinct governments. Hence,
2. They stood substantially on the same footing as Scotland previous to the Union. Like her they were subject to the Navigation Act, and similar regulations touching the external relations of the empire ; and like her the ordinary legislation of England did not reach them, nor did the common law any farther than they chose to adopt it. Hence,
3. They held themselves amenable in their internal concerns, not to Parliament, but to the Crown alone. It was to the King in council or to his courts that they made those occasional references and appeals, which Lord Mansfield endeavors to draw into precedents. So “ the post tax spoken of above, did not originate in Parliament, but in a charter to an individual which afterward reverted to the Crown, and it was in this way alone that the post-office in America became
connected with that of England. Even the American Declara. tion of Independence does not once refer to the British Parliament. The colonists held that they owed allegiance to the King only, and hence it was the King's conduct alone that was regarded as a just reason for their renouncing their allegiance. One of their grievances was, that he confederated with others in “pretended acts of legislation."
The Colonists supported their argument by an appeal to “long-continued usage.” Burke acknowledged the force of this position, though he drew from it the conclusion merely that, to introduce a change now, is both inexpedient and unwise.” The Colonists, on the contrary, held: “You have no right to lay the taxes.” The attitude of the colonies is best studied in the volume of “Prior Documents to Almon's Remembrancer,” where all the important papers and the resolutions of the several colonies are given. See, also, Pilkin's “ Political History,” Marshall's “ American Colonies," and vol. i. of Story, “On the Constitution.” There is an excellent summary of the debate in the English Parliament, probably written by Burke, in the Annual Register, vol. ix., pp. 35–48 ; and a still fuller one embracing the examination of Franklin, in Hansard's “Parliamentary History," vol. xvi., pp. 90
THERE is much in the oratory of Edmund Burke to suggest the amplitude of mind and the power and scope of intellectual grasp that characterized Shakespeare. He surveyed every subject as if standing on an eminence and taking a view of it in all its relations, however complex and remote. United with this remarkable comprehensiveness was also a subtlety of intellect that enabled him to penetrate the most complicated relations and unravel the most perplexed intricacies. Why? Whence? For what end? With what results ? were the questions that his mind seemed always to be striving to answer. The special objects to which he applied himself were the workings of political institutions, the principles of wise legislation, and the sources of national security
and advancement. Rerum cognoscere causas,to know the causes of things-in all the multiform relations of organized society, was the constant end of his striving. More than any other one that has written in English he was a political philosopher. But he was far more than that. He had a memory of extraordinary grasp and tenacity; and this, united with a tireless industry, gave him an affluence of knowledge that has rarely been equalled. He had the fancy of a poet, and his imagination surveyed the whole range of human experience for illustrations with which to enrich the train of his thought.
For the purposes of legislative persuasion many of Burke's qualities were a hindrance rather than a help. His course of reasoning was often too elaborate to be carried in the mind of the hearer. His exuberant fancy constantly tempted him into illustrative excursions that led the hearer too far away from the march of the argument. The one thing which he always found it difficult to do was to restrain