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be a work appropriated to the powers and their opposition is reserved. Admitting compass of his mind.
His industry and the measure to be eligible in itself, they perseverance alone could carry it into ask me now by what means do you proexecution. On a transcendent question, pose to carry it into execution? What such as this, of morals implicated with course would you pursue ? What power policy, the eminence of his mind extends would you employ? I shall not keep these his view, and gives him an horizon, which gentlemen in suspense. My answer, I vulgar vision cannot reach to. If Mr. see, is waited for with an impatience, Burke were here,- for his own happiness which indicates the certainty and anticiI cannot wish it,- this would be his office. pates the triumph of immediate victory. How gladly would I resign it to him! They exult in the practical difficulties in.
Non foret ambiguus tanti certaminis hæres. separable from every attempt to do good I have not seen the plan which he drew in this world, and which, they trust, are up some years ago, and which he then insurmountable in the present instance. communicated to a right hon. gentleman, Well, Sir, I am ready to gratify their de. high in office in Ireland (Mr. Pelham); sire, and prepared, as I think, for all the and since to a right hon. friend on the objections that can be rationally urged other side (Mr. Windham). Nor would against me. This part of the question is I avail myself now of his permission to not new to me. What I know of it is see it, because I soon perceived that it derived not only from study and reflecwent to an extent and embraced a multi- tion, as deep as I am capable of giving tude of objects, which I knew it was im- to any subject, but from the wisdom of possible for me to manage. To force great men, whom I have known, and from them on my mind, without capacity to re- the experience of events, which have ceive them, would be only to embarrass happened in my own time. Though too or utterly to discourage me. Perhaps, young to take part, I was old enough to too, I might differ from him on the most observe, and I had access to some of the prudential course of proceeding. You greatest sources of instruction. The will not suspect me of setting my judg- power, which I mean to resort to, for ment in competition with his. If it were carrying this plan into effect, is that of possible for him to lead the cause himself, the British parliament over the colonies I should hold myself ready for any sub- of Great Britain. No man is fairly at ordinate part in it, and to be guided by issue with me, who does not distinctly deny his judgment. But, if I am to act, 1 that power, Is there a statesman in this must act upon my own.
I am not tho. | House, is there an individual of any rank or roughly convinced of the advantage of consideration here, who will take it upon forcing a great variety of institutions to himself, directly and plainly, to maintain march together and in front. Or possibly that denial or, in other words, to affirm, it would be more honest to say, that that in no case whatever has the British consult my own infirmity in leaving as parliament a right to make laws to bind much as I can to the gradual operation the British colonies ? I cannot believe it. of those simple principles and limited in. But, if there be, let him come forward stitutions, which I am more able to com- and declare himself. On that question, prehend, to arrange with effect, and apply inconsiderable as I am, and bold as it may to practice.
appear, I am ready to meet him in front, The House, Sir, is now in possession to show that he knows nothing of the of the general object and principles of the principles of legislation, of the policy of plan, which I meant to lay before you. states, or of the duties of government, There are
some persons undoubtedly, and to make him, for his ignorance at whose hearty concurrence I am not san- least, the scorn of mankind. If he admits guine enough to expect; but I do not that cases may possibly exist, in which believe it possible that any man will di- the power may
and the right rectly and openly assert, that such an undisputed, I then shall have nothing to object, if it were attainable, is not to be prove, but that this is eminently a case in desired ;-that such a plan, if it were point in which the application ofthe unquespracticable, is not fit to be encouraged. tionable power of parliament must be reNo human resolution will go that length. sorted to, because no other power on earth is I know, as well as they do, on what equal to the purpose. I am as ready as any ground they are prepared to meet me, man to allow, or to contend, if it were neand for what question the strength of cessary, that the transcendent power of parliament to make laws for every part of resisted.” If this be a concession, these the British empire, where it has not been gentlemen are welcome to it. I do not formally relinquished, is not, in prudence, believe it will avail them. I rejoice that to be used on ordinary occasions, when America resisted with success, because it the subordinate powers of legislation can was a triumph of unquestionable right act with equal effect in their several de- over outrageous wrong, of courage and partments. It is a right reserved for virtue over tyranny and force ;-because great emergencies. To say that it ought the issue of that contest has provided a to be reserved, is to acknowledge that it refuge and left us an asylum, when exexists. Without evident necessity, Iistence in Europe, perhaps even in Engwould neither urge the case nor agitate land can no longer be endured. The nathe right. Occasions vary, and prudence tions, crushed by taxes for the support must be consulted. But rights are not of powers that oppress, or of wars that given to lie dormant for ever. They destroy them, have still the consolation have relative duties attached to them. of knowing that peace, and freedom, and According to the occasion, the right is to plenty, are to be found in America, and be exercised, and the duty to be per- that there is still a country in the world, formed. Necessity alone, if the thing where every man enjoys in security the must be done, and if there be no alterna- fruits of his industry, and the produce of tive, conveys a right, or stands in the bis labour. Who is there, who can pro. place of it, to act for the general welfare nounce with certainty that a period is not or for the public safety. I shall show approaching, when no other refuge may you hereafter how little is to be expected, be left us ?-On what ground did the on this subject from the power, even if it Americans first dispute the general legisconcurred with the disposition of the co- lative authority of the mother country? lonial assemblies, and that, by their Did they assert that a British parliament means, a real and effective alteration in had no right to bind or to regulate a Brithe condition of the negroes can never be tish colony by its laws, in any case whataccomplished. But I have first another soever? Did they ever maintain a propoargument to maintain, and better ground sition so absurd and so monstrous as that to stand on. In a former debate, the ex- protection gave no claim to obedience, ample of America was held out to deter that those duties were not reciprocal; us from acts, which might alienate the that a nation sub tutelâ owed no submis. West India islands, and drive them to sion to the tutelary power by which it look elsewhere for protection, if not to was protected, that the ward owed no. resistance. At that time, nothing was in thing to the guardian, the pupil to the question but the abolition of the slave tutor, the child to the parent ;--that such trade. This night you may be sure of offices were nominal, and gave no right hearing the same argument repeated, or to act even for the benefit of the prerather of seeing the same weapon up- tended objects of their care? No, Sir; lifted to awe your deliberations. "Let the America had too much wisdom for herquestion be what it may, they are equally self, as well as too hearty an attachment ready with it. If the West India islands to England, to hold such foolish lanwould not submit to abolition, how will guage, or to maintain such dangerous they endure the interposition of the le doctrines. See how. she has lately acted gislature in any thing that touches their to some refractory dependencies of her internal government? Such is the lan- own. The moment such principles preguage of Englishmen, sitting among us, vail, there is an end of all unity of govern. to the legislative authority of their coun- ment in the world. In an extended em. try. Let us see, with what reason they pire, every distant province may set up for resort to the example of America. I am itself. Every one of your islands may be an as ready to appeal to it as they are. I independent state. If I aimed at their deknow where that fatal question originated. struction they should have my consent to be No part of the argument, which divided You would soon see them at your feet this country on the merits of the stamp with supplication to you to resume your act, or of the events, which followed it, station, and never to relinquish your auhave escaped me. With all those trans- thority over them. That authority was actions in iny view, I declare now, on the not disputed by America, until it was principles and in the language of lord extended to purposes unconnected with Chatham, that I “rejoice that America general regulation, and exercised on prin
ciples, which, if once they were admitted, it is essential to the character and definiJeft no security to the Americans for tion of a tax, that the amount shall be any thing they possessed. The claim, taken from the contributor and applied to which they resisted, was that of direct | the service of the crown or of the public. taxation by a House of Commons, in To appropriate and allot an existing fund, which they were not represented. They whether in land or money, is not of itself asserted truly, that taxation and represen- an act of taxation. But, if it were so, tation were inseparable ;-that the right what pretence have these gentlemen to grew from the fact, and could not exist appeal to the case or to quote the rights, without it. In private life, the guardian which justified the resistance of America? regulates the conduct, and even disposes Is there any resemblance between the two of the property of the pupil, for his situations The Americans resisted taxmaintenance, for his service, or for his ation, because they were not represented education. But it does not follow, that in parliament. The folly and injustice of he may take any part of it for his own this country, by persisting in a claim of use or benefit. The first may be a duty;
; right, which never could have been effecths second would be a robbery. The tually exercised, and which at last was protecting power has a claim to obedience, relinquished, drove the Americans to the not to money. To prevent any farther necessity of asserting much more than their question on this subject, all claim to lay original pretensions amounted to. They taxes on the colonies was formally re- began with petition and remonstrance : nounced in the year 1778. The act of they appealed to the sword, and establishthe 18th of his present majesty, com- ed their destined independence long bemonly called governor Johnstone's act, fore its natural and inevitable period, be“ declares and enacts, that the king and fore they themselves had forescen or deparlianient of Great Britain will not im. sired it. In the fullness of time, and in pose any duty, tax, or assessment what- the maturity of their state, separation soever, payable in the colonies, except and independence must have been the lot such duties as it may be expedient to im- of America. The Herculean infant would pose for the regulations of commerce, the necessarily have burst its cradle, and brobett produce of such duties to be always ken loose from its leading strings. But paid and applied to the use of such colo- then the union of the two countries would nies."— This surrender, on the part of have continued unimpaired. The mutual Great Britain, is specific. All the other relations of kindness and friendship would general rights of the mother country re- not have been dissolved. Affection and main unaltered. The concession, by attachment would have occupied the places which one particular point is given up. of authority and dependence. Between amounts in fact to a re-affirmance the the case of America and that of the West rest. The question then is, whether the India islands there is no similarity, nor measure I propose, and particularly that are the same consequences possible. Is part of it, by which the planters would it true, in fact, that the property of the be obliged to allot some portion of their West India islands is not represented in land with a cottage to their negroes, be the House of Commons ? Of what sort of or be not an act of taxation. I desire to persons does that party consist, which, confine myself to this point at present, be- on the subject of the slave trade, carries cause I do not mean to insist that a pro- every thing before it in this House? Why, vision for the salaries and establishments Sir, it is one of their allegations, when of magistrates, advocates, and commis- it suits their purpose, that the property sioners may not properly be the subject of the islands is vested in Great Briof a different consideration. What I am tain, that is, in the hands of resident now speaking of is the allotment of a share owners, mortgagees, merchants, and crein the usufruct of the estate to the service ditors. They are all on the spot, to reand benefit of the estate itself, and to no present the interests, and to defend the other purpose. Nothing is taken away right of the islands. They, at least, are from the owner, nothing is applied to the the subjects of Great Britain. They, at uses of government. The tenure of the least, may be compelled by the power of villan regardant was in its nature usufruc- parliament. If they are not your subtuary, and was never understood to limit jects, what are they?. The Americans, or impair the right of the proprietor to the on the contrary, resided on their own conproperty of the soil. Now I affirm that tinent, at a distance, which made communication impracticable, and not only tion of the strict right of parliament to without representation, but not even in act legislatively for the general benefit contact, and much less in sympathy with of the West India islands, I know there the power that pretended to tax them. I is another important question to be reThe progress of their population had no solved. Since the different islands have limits. An unbounded territory expanded colonial assemblies or inferior parliaments to receive it. The Islands have their of their own, why do I not prefer some boundary fixed by nature. The nurnber course of application to those assemblies, of their white inhabitants cannot increase and try whether all the useful purposes of beyond a certain point, and must always the bill, which I am endeavouring to rebe inconsiderable in comparison with the commend to the House of Commons, negroes and people of colour.
may not equally be effected through that superior power, of some protecting do- medium? The question is fair, and I minion, the islands must for ever be the shall answer it frankly. In the face of colonies or the dependencies. In the na-experience, and against all our knowledge ture of things they never can be indepen- and observation of the principles, characdent states. Their representatives in this ter, and proceedings of these assemblies, House talk boldly of separation, and even let us suppose for a moment that a geneintimate resistance. I would not drive ral disposition did really prevail among them to that issue. If they can make out them to impart to their negroes some their right, I would never put them to a share in the natural rights of human creatrial of their strength. Their arguments tures, labouring in their service, and a and their power are pretty much upon a legal security for the possession of them. footing. They know that, if they were un- Within these few years, since questions connected with us to-morrow, and if it on this subject have been warmly revived were possible for them to maintain their and repeatedly agitated in England, they independence against France and Ame- have had opportunities and incitements ica, the great market for their produce enough to indulge their benevolence, 8 in the consumption of these kingdoms, and to take the business into their own and that to this market they must bring hands. But neither have they discovered it on any terms, which parliament should such an inclination, nor do I think it was think fit to prescribe to them.
in their power to have concerted a geI have already intimated, that it is not neral plan, or to have pursued it with ef. my intention to propose any thing, that fect. "Partial alterations might possibly should really trench on the question of have been attempted in the several islands, taxation, or furnish a pretence to cavil or without system or connexion, according to quarrel with the general views and pur- to the accidental temper or prevailing disposes of the measure. I need not argue cretion of the different assemblies. Some about privileges, which I have no thoughts would have granted less than others. of invading. If the sums required to pay Very little, I believe, would have been the salaries and to support the establish- yielded by any of them. But, were it ments made necessary by this or any other otherwise in point of disposition, their plan, were to be raised in the Islands by number and their distance from each the direct authority of parliament, the other would have made it impossible for objection would then be in its place, and them to deliberate in concert, or finally proper to be considered. That point is to concur in a uniform conclusion. The not in question, and need not be debated. colonies of North America were in conIf the colonial assemblies cannot be pre. tact with each other, and were capable vailed upon, by a recommendation from of acting under one direction, for å gethe crown, or any other means, to pro- neral object. The islands have no union vide for such expenses, the charge must of views, no common bond of interest, to be borne by Great Britain, and may easily engage them to agree in a general resolube assessed upon objects, unquestionably tion; much less have they a union of power within the disposition of parliament. 1 | to inforce it. So much the more necesam ready, for my part, to contribute to sary is it, that there should be somewhere it, by a perpetual rent-charge on mv a superior indifferent tribunal, and a bindestate, to a greater amount than can be ing power paramount to them all.
No roasonably stated as the just proportion authority, adequate to the purpose, can of any individual.
exist but in parliament. If one of the Waving now, Sir, all farther considera- provincial legislatures presided with sovereignty over the rest, it might possibly public uses thereof." But in what form, be sufficient to form the plan. The dif- or by what testimony conviction is to be ficulties of the execution would still be obtained in this or any other instance insurmountable. But, let their capacity against a white man, where there is no be what it may, the principal disqualifica white evidence, which must generally be tion lies in their rooted aversion to the the case, is no where specified. White measure, and in their contempt of the ob. overseers and drivers will not often bear jects of it. Such is the invariable influ- witness against one another. They have ence of arbitrary capricious power, to a fellow feeling on this subject, or they vitiate the human mind, to make us hate, can easily take care not to act in comwhen we have injured ; and despise, when pany. An act passed in Dominica in we have degraded. A great deal, it is the year 1788, “ for the encouragement, said, may be expected from the virtue protection, and better government of and prudence of the colonial assemblies. slaves," I am told, is greatly relied on as Let us try the value of that expec. a proof of the justice and humanity, tation by the test of experience. To which prevail in the islands. This act judge of what they will do, let us see does certainly admit, that “it is just and what they have done. I place no con- proper that the slaves should be protected fidence in professions, unsupported by in their persons from the violence and conduct. I have examined their laws inhumanity of such white persons and free with care and attention. I have read them persons of colour, who may have no lawwith patience, with weariness, and dis- ful authority over them." The admission gust. I do assure you, Sir, it is not easy is important. Observe the date, and then for an English mind to conceive that such consider what sort and what length of a code as this could be the result of de antecedent practice is proved by it. bate and deliberation in a senate of any But this act is remedial. I wish it were sort. Their utter ignorance of every ra- possible to bring the whole tenor of it tional principle of legislation is only to into your view. One example will be be paralleled by the unfeeling cruelty that enough to show you the spirit that runs dictates and prevails through all their re- through it. The 18th clause declares solutions. I shall not weary the House that the inferior crimes of slaves cannot with details or recitals from this book. My always be conveniently brought before hon. friend near me (Mr. W. Smith) has the cognizance of the magistrates, and kindly undertaken that task, if the House therefore enacts, “ that every slave, who should be disposed to call for it. I be shall disobey orders, or who shall be lieve it will be sufficient, if I give you a guilty of neglect of duty, or absence sample of the principles, on which these from labour, &c. &c. shall be punished assemblies have proceeded. You may at the discretion of the owner, renter, take it safely for a specimen of the whole. manager, or overseer, by confinement of First of all, let the personal injury done fogging on the bare back provided the to a negro, be ever so atrocious, the as- number of lashes does not exceed thirtysemblies have taken special care to make nine.” Trial and conviction are avowedly conviction impossible. Suppose that all out of the question. But, if the punisher the negroes on any plantation should shall inflict any punishment not prejointly and severally attest that the over- scribed by this act. What then? He seer had “ maimed, defaced, mutilated, “ shall be subject to a penalty, not ex, or cruelly tortured” a negro (the com- ceeding 201. current money of the island mon language of these laws), their evi- to be recovered by bill, plaint, or infora dence would avail nothing.' The party mation, in any of his majesty's courts of would be at liberty to purge himself on record!" Who is to complain? Who is his oath ; that is, they have established to inform ? - Suppose he repeats the impunity by law for crimes, in many cases thirty-nine lashes, after a short interval. worse than murder. They talk of con- That case is not provided for. Most of viction perpetually, and of penalties to these lawgivers seem to think it reason, be attached to it. To deface, to maim, able that, if any violent injury be done to or to mutilate, if by any means the fact the person of a negro, compensation can be proved, is to be punished with im- should be made for it. By an act of St. prisonment, not exceeding three months, Vincent's, past in 1767, it is provided and a fine of 100l. currency, “ to be paid that, if any white person shall castrate or into the treasury of the island for the dismember any slave (familiar cases) he [VOL. XXXII.)