Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents and the Two Speeches on America

Burke, Edmund
(1729-1797)
BIO
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Editor/Trans.
E. J. Payne, ed.
First Pub. Date
1770
Publisher/Edition
Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc.
Pub. Date
1990
Comments
Foreword and notes by Francis Canavan.

1. P. 158, L. 3. publication at this time. The speech was sent to press about the Christmas vacation of 1774.

2. P. 159, L. 13. the Honourable Gentleman who spoke last. "Charles Wolfran Cornwall, Esq., lately appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury." (Burke). For a sketch of him, see Mr. Macknight's Life of Burke, ii. 52. He was "Member for Grampound, descended from an ancient Herefordshire family, and a sensible lawyer. He (according to Walpole) married a sister of the first Earl of Liverpool: became a Lord of the Treasury in 1774, and Lord Chatham upon the occasion of the offer being made him, writes, 'If he accepts, Government makes a very valuable and accredited instrument of public business. His character is respectable, and his manners and life amiable. Such men are not to be found every day.' "; He continued a Junior Lord of the Treasury till 1780, when he was chosen Speaker. He thus figures in the Rolliad;

    There Cornewall sits, and oh! unhappy fate!
    Must sit for ever through the long debate.
    Painful preeminence! he hears, 'tis true,
    Fox, North, and Burke, but hears Sir Joseph too;
    Like sad Prometheus fastened to his rock,
    In vain he looks for pity to the clock;
    In vain the effects of strengthening porter tries,
    And nods to Bellamy for fresh supplies.
    ——Rock. Mem., vol. ii.

3. [282] L. 14. this subject is not new in this House. "The long debates which have formerly happened upon this business. If this were a new question," &c. Cornwall's Speech. The present debate had begun in the dullest possible style, and had reached its meridian. Rose Fuller, Rice, Captain Phipps, Stephen Fox, and Cornwall had already well tried the patience of the House. The members had begun to disperse to the adjoining apartments, or places of refreshment. Hence the short, lashing, petulant exordium, contrasting strongly with those of the great speeches on the Economical Reform, and the Nabob of Arcot's Debts. It was necessary to arrest the attention of the House in the dullest part of a debate. The report of it spread rapidly, and members crowded back till the hall was filled to the utmost. It resounded throughout the speech with the loudest applause. The student should observe the contrast between this preamble and that of the speech which follows. The latter is full of touches of that ostentatious trifling which was so common in the speaking of the last century; what Hazlitt terms, "calling out the Speaker to dance a minuet with him before he begins."

4. L. 19. occasional arguments. Fr. "arguments d'occasion."

5. L. 26. this disgusting argument. The epithet means no more than "wearisome," "tedious." Cp. Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, Letter lvii: "A nobleman has but to take a pen, ink, and paper, write away through three large volumes, and then sign his name to the title page; though the whole might have been before more disgusting than his own rent-roll, yet signing his name and title gives value to the deed," &c.

6. L. 30. I had long the happiness to sit at the same side of the House.... privilege of an old friendship. Cornwall was a renegade from Lord Shelburne's party, and had spoken with effect on the side of opposition in the debates on the Nullum Tempus Bill, and on Lotteries, as well as on the American question. He accepted office March 12, 1774, together with Lord Beauchamp, afterwards Marquis of Hertford. His speech is reported in the Parliamentary History, vol. xvii.

7. P. 160, L. 22. the most ample historical detail. It is to this demand of Cornwall's that we are indebted for the second part of this speech—one of the most interesting passages in English literature. The student should supplement it by reading the Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol, 1777.

8. L. 32. to stick to that rule. Classical, but not so good as stick by. Vide Johnson.

9. P. 161, L. 2. He asserts, that retrospect is not wise. "I think it (the re-opening of the whole question) wrong; and wish only to pursue the present expediency of the measure." Cornwall's Speech.

10. L. 14. unpitied calamity of being repeatedly caught, &c. See note to p. 77, ante.

11. L. 17. without the least management. In the French sense now disused. Dryden:

    [283] Mark well what management their tribes divide:
    Some stick to you, and some to t'other side.

Burnet: "The managements of the present administration." Infra, p. 197, "He (Rockingham) practised no managements." "Plus il y a de gens dans une nation qui ont besoin d'avoir des ménagements entre eux et de ne pas déplaire, plus il y a de politesse." De l'Esprit des Lois, Liv. xix. c. 27. "Peut-être que ce fut un ménagement pour le clergé." Ibid. xxviii. 20.

12. L. 27. i. e. take their stand on it as an argument for future concessions.

13. L. 29. call for a repeal of the duty on wine. "Let me ask, what answer will they give, when, after this, the Americans shall voluntarily apply to repeal the duty on wine, &c.? The same principle that operates for the repeal of this, will go to that," &c. Cornwall's Speech.

14. P. 162, L. 8. or even any one of the articles which compose it. At that time the Colonies would have not opposed duties imposed for the regulation of trade.

15. P. 163, L. 4. had thus addressed the Minister. Lord North, then Chancellor of the Exchequer.

16. L. 33. left unfinished. To give this paragraph its proper effect we must suppose it to be concluded among "cheers and laughter."

17. P. 164, L. 7. and he is the worst of all the repealers, because he is the last, i.e. Lord North. Lord Rockingham had repealed only one duty, while Lord North had repealed five. These four paragraphs must be understood in their true spirit of open irony in the form of an "argumentum ad hominem."

18. L. 13. the lie direct. Cp. Shakspeare, As You Like It, Act v. Sc. 4.

19. L. 18. ancient household troops. See note p. 96.

20. L. 19. new recruits from this. Alluding to the deserters from the various sections of the Whig party, who by this time had gone over to the Court in large numbers.

21. P. 165, L. 2. Here Mr. Speaker, is a precious mockery. Used thus ironically by Locke. "Precious limbs was at first an expression of great feeling: till vagabonds, draymen, &c., brought upon it the character of coarseness and ridicule." Lord Thurlow, Letter to Cowper.

22. L. 12. the paper in my hand. Lord Hillsborough's Circular Letter to the Governours of the Colonies, concerning the Repeal of some of the Duties laid in the Act of 1767. (Burke.)

23. P. 165, L. 33. an advantage in Lead, that amounts to a monopoly. The total exports of lead from England in 1852 were about 23,000 tons, of which the United States took nearly a third, being three times as much as any other customer; and this notwithstanding the working of the productive mines of Illinois and Wisconsin. "The lead mines of Granada," says Mr. Macculloch, "would, were they properly wrought, be among the most productive in the world." Spain is now a large producer, and the advantage of England no longer exists.

24. P. 166, L. 20. Sir, it is not a pleasant consideration. Burke here makes a [284] landing-place, as usual, out of a broad generalisation arising from a particularly striking point in his argument. The student should note the effective use of familiar terms in the body of the paragraph, and its contrast with the rhetorical sentence which concludes it. In the next paragraph he returns to the argument on the preamble, after a digression on the interests of the East India Company, who purchased tea in China with the silver of the Bengal revenue.

25. L. 22. mischief of not having large and liberal ideas in the management of great affairs. Cp. the peroration of the Speech on Conciliation (Sursum Corda, p. 289), and especially the following passage from the Second Letter on a Regicide Peace: "In truth, the tribe of vulgar politicians are the lowest of our species. There is no trade so vile and mechanical as government in their hands. Virtue is not their habit. They are out of themselves in any course of conduct recommended only by conscience and glory. A large, liberal, and prospective view of the interests of states passes with them for romance; and the principles that recommend it, for the wanderings of a disordered imagination. The calculators compute them out of their senses. The jesters and buffoons shame them out of everything grand and elevated. Littleness in object and in means, to them appears soundness and sobriety. They think there is nothing worth pursuit, but that which they can handle; which they can measure with a two-foot rule; which they can tell upon ten fingers."

26. L. 31. meanly to sneak out of difficulties, into which they had proudly strutted. "He (Bute) as abjectly sneaked out of an ostensible office in the State, as he had arrogantly strutted into it." Public Advertiser, Aug. 30, 1776.

27. P. 167, L. 2. irresistible operation of feeble counsels... circled the whole globe. The device called by the rhetoricians contentio is here used by Burke with striking effect. Observe the same in the subsequent sentence: "The monopoly of the most lucrative trades... beggary and ruin." Cp. the passage in the Speech on Economical Reform, ending: "The judges were unpaid; the justice of the kingdom bent and gave way; the foreign ministers remained inactive and unprovided; the system of Europe was dissolved; the chain of our alliances was broken; all the wheels of government at home and abroad were stopped—because the King's turnspit was a Member of Parliament."

28. L. 3. so insignificant an article as Tea in the eyes of a philosopher. In contrast with the paramount importance asserted for it from a commercial point of view in the previous paragraph.

29. L. 13. with all the parade of indiscreet declamation. The mover and seconder of the Address "expatiated largely on the enormous transgressions of the East India Company, and described their affairs, as being in the most ruinous and almost irretrievable situation." Ann. Reg. 1773.

30. L. 14. monopoly of the most lucrative trades. The whole commerce of the East with Great Britain was in the hands of the Company.

31. L. 15. verge of beggary and ruin. The Company had agreed to the payment of 400,000l. per annum to government. But in 1772, while many of their servants had returned to England with large fortunes, the Company became so involved in difficulties as not only to be unable to pay this sum, but to make it necessary that 1,400,000l. should be advanced to them by the public. The exhaustion of the country, and the expenses incurred in the war with Hyder Ali and France, involved the Company in fresh difficulties; and they were obliged, in 1783, to present a petition to Parliament, setting forth their inability to pay their annual sum of 400,000l., praying to be excused therefrom, and to be supported by a loan of 900,000l. (Macculloch.) At this crisis Fox brought in his India Bill, on which Burke made one of the most memorable of his speeches, the last but one of the five parliamentary orations which he gave to the world through the press.

32. L. 17. Ten Millions of pounds... rotting in the warehouses. It was said by Burke's critics on the opposite side, that the whole stock of tea in the Company's warehouses was estimated at this quantity, and that by comparing his own estimate (p. 178) of the American consumption, and taking tea at an average price of five shillings the pound, it would be seen that Burke here exaggerated. It was only a fraction of the whole stock, according to this view, that was "locked up by the operation of an injudicious tax." This [285] objection seems, on a careful examination, to be unfounded. In 1772 official reports showed that the warehouses of the Company contained 16,000,000 pounds of tea.

33. L. 19. rotting in the warehouses. The absurd regulation which made it necessary for the Company to keep a year's supply of tea in their warehouses, helped to raise its price and spoil its quality. Coarse teas deteriorate 5 per cent. in value by being kept a year.

34. L. 24. next to a necessary of life. The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, in his Report for 1827, observed: "The use of tea has become so general throughout the United States, as to rank almost as a necessary of life." The same may be said of Russia and Australia. The duty on tea once formed one of the largest items in the American revenue, but it has for many years been wholly repealed.

35. L. 25. our dear-bought East India Committees. Alluding to the Select Committee of thirty-one members appointed in pursuance of a motion, April 13, 1772, and the Secret Committee appointed in November of the same year, shortly after the opening of the session. By "dear-bought" Burke means that the practical result of those Committees, represented by the East India Act of 1773, was but small, or at least incommensurate to the difficulties experienced in getting the Committees appointed, and in procuring adequate information on the abuses they were intended to be instrumental in remedying. See Ninth Report from the Select Committee, &c., 25th June, 1783 (in Burke's Works).

36. L. 29. through the American trade of Tea that your East India conquests are to be prevented from crushing you with their burthen, &c. The [286] state of the recent conquest of Bengal was then exciting some not unreasonable apprehensions. Economists were alarmed by the gradual exhaustion of the circulating coin, military men by the attitude of the Mahrattas. Foreign critics described English rule in India as a brilliant illusion. From the origin of the tea trade in the reign of Charles II down to 1834, it was a monopoly in the hands of the East India Company. The history of this monopoly is a striking example of the mischiefs of the whole commercial system. "The teas sold by the Company," says Mr. Macculloch, in his Commercial Dictionary, "cost the people of Britain, during the last years of the monopoly, upwards of 1,500,000l. a year more than they would have cost had they been sold at the price at which teas of equal quality were sold, under a system of free competition, in New York, Hamburg, and Amsterdam." And yet several gentlemen of great experience, who carefully inquired into the state of the Company's affairs in 1830, expressed their decided conviction that they made nothing by the tea trade—the increased price at which they sold not being more that sufficient to balance the immense expenses incident to the monopoly! "But for the increased consumption of tea in Great Britain," writes Mr. Macculloch in another place, "the company would have entirely ceased to carry on any branch of trade with the East: and the monopoly would have excluded us as effectually from the markets of India and China as if the trade had reverted to its ancient channels, and the route by the Cape of Good Hope been relinquished." (Art. East India Company.)

37. L. 32. must have that great country to lean upon. The colonies consumed about one-third of the Company's total importations of tea, and the war forced on a corresponding diminution in the tea trade. The void, however, was speedily filled up by an increased importation of silk.

38. P. 168, L. 18. Draw-back. Exportation was encouraged sometimes by drawbacks, sometimes by bounties, sometimes by advantageous treaties of commerce with foreign states, and sometimes by the establishment of colonies in distant countries. Drawbacks were given upon two different occasions. When the home manufactures were subject to any duty or excise, either the whole or a part of it was frequently drawn back upon their exportation; and when foreign goods liable to a duty were imported in order to be exported again, either the whole or a part of this duty was sometimes given back upon such exportation. Wealth of Nations, book iv. chap i.

39. L. 24. certain litigation. In the general sense of quarrelling, not the special and more common one, of proceeding at law.

40. L. 27. heavy excises on those articles. "The duty varied (previously to 1836) on the different descriptions of first-class paper from about 25 or 30 per cent. on the finest, to about 200 per cent. on the coarsest!" (Macculloch.) That on glass was even more exorbitant. "After successive augmentations," says the same authority, "the duties were raised in 1813 to the amount of 98s. a cwt. on flint and plate glass! and the consequence was, that despite the increase of wealth and population in the interim, the consumption of both these sorts of glass was less than it had been in 1794, when the duty [287] was only 32s. 2¼d. a cwt.!" The income-tax enabled Peel to abolish this monstrous imposition.

41. P. 169, L. 2. devour it to the bone. Cp. Europ. Settlements in America, vol. ii. p. 215. "Therefore any failure in the sale of their goods brings them (the tobacco planters) heavily in debt to the merchants in London, who get mortgages on their estates, which are consumed to the bone, with the canker of an eight per cent. usury."

42. L. 3. One spirit pervades, &c. Cp. Speech on Conciliation, p. 288.

    One common soul—animates the whole.
    —Dryden's Virgil, vi. 982.

    Thy courage, like the universal soul Darts thro' the troops, and animates the whole.
    —Rowe's Boileau's Lutrin, Canto 3.

This jingle is common in the poets of the century, and is parodied in Sydney Smith's Receipt for a Salad.

43. P. 170, L. 6. neither abstract right, nor profitable enjoyment. Cp. infra, p. 213, "Some honourable right, or some profitable wrong."

44. P. 171, L. 2. a famous address for a revival. Agreed to in the Commons, February 8, 1769, requesting the King to revive the powers given for this purpose under an obsolete Act of 35 Henry VIII. The excellent speech of Governor Pownall on this occasion should be referred to in illustration of Burke. See the first part of the Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol. The expressions "well-considered address," "graciously pleased," &c., are of course ironical.

45. P. 172, L. 14. canonical book... General Epistle to the Americans. This is not mere raillery. Burke was justified in holding the ministry to so important a declaration.

46. ll. 17, 19, 21. I pass by... I conceal, &c. The classical reader will recognise the occultatio of the rhetoricians. "Et illud praetereo"; "Horum nihil dico"; "Furta, rapinas tuas omnes omitto." Rhet. ad Herenn., lib. iv. c. xxvii. s. 37.

47. L. 26. These might have been serious matters formerly. Cp. note, p. 120, ante.

48. P. 173, L. 33. rather part with his crown, than preserve it by deceit. A material point is omitted by Mr. Burke in this speech, viz. the manner in which the Continent received this royal assurance. The assembly of Virginia, in their Address in answer to Lord Botetourt's speech, express themselves thus: "We will not suffer our present hopes, arising from the pleasing prospect your Lordship hath so kindly opened and displayed to us, to be dashed by the bitter reflection that any future administration will entertain a wish to depart from that plan which affords the surest and most permanent foundation of public tranquillity and happiness. No, my Lord, we are sure our most gracious Sovereign, under whatever changes may happen in his confidential servants, will remain immutable in the ways of truth and justice, and that he is incapable of deceiving his faithful subjects; and we esteem your Lordship's [288] information not only as warranted, but even sanctified by the royal word." (Burke.)

49. L. 35. A glorious and true character! &c. There is a lurking irony here, as in many of Burke's allusions to the King. Cp. p. 82.

50. P. 174, L. 6. Noble Lord upon the floor. Lord North, sitting in the front or lowest rank of the Treasury benches.

51. L. 29. Session of 1768, that Session of idle terror and empty menaces. The Session which commenced November 8, 1768, and ended May 9, 1769, is alluded to.

52. P. 175, L. 6. mumping with a sore leg. To mump, in cant language, "to go a begging." Johnson. The word may, however, be regarded as a classical vulgarism. "You it seems may mump it at your sister's." Echard's Terence. Cp. Third Letter on a Regicide Peace, "Our embassy of shreds and patches, with all its mumping cant."

53. L. 21. send the Ministers... to America. Burke perhaps had in mind the well-known occasion in the Samnite wars after the disgrace of the Caudine Forks. See Livy, ix. c. 8-11.

54. L. 22. tarred and feathered. A species of punishment peculiar to America. Mr. Flaw, in Foote's comedy of the "Cozeners," promises O'Flanagan that if he discharges properly his duty of a tidewaiter in the inland part of America, he will be "found in tar and feathers for nothing." "When properly mixed, they make a genteel kind of dress, which is sometimes wore in that climate—very light, keeps out the rain, and sticks extremely close to the skin."

55. L. 25. preservation of this faith... red lead, white lead, &c. By way of forcing his audience into some largeness of ideas, Burke often contrasts a great moral principle with a group of technical names. Cp. p. 288: "Your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances," &c. Observations on State of Nation: "Visions of stamp duties on Perwannas, Dusticks, Kistbundees, and Hushbulhookums." Vol. ii. p. 193. "The State ought not to be considered nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern," &c. Atlas-ordinary, &c., are papers of different qualities and sizes.

56. P. 176, L. 16. disclaimer = act of disclaiming.

57. L. 27. I dare say the noble Lord, &c. Ironical.

58. L. 32. I suppose he made, &c., i. e. I will suppose, for the sake of argument, that he made, &c.

59. P. 177, L. 14. the very citadel of smuggling, the Isle of Man—annexed to the Crown in 1765. "Just loaded yonder from Douglas in the Isle of Man—neat cognac," &c. Guy Mannering, ch. iv.

60. P. 178, L. 27. the end of every visto. Cp. vol. ii. p. 171, l. 27. Johnson only gives the more correct vista. Cp. the Sir Visto of Pope, Moral Essays, Ep. iv. Dyer, Grongar Hill:

    And groves, and grottoes where I lay,
    And vistoes shooting beams of day.

[289] "A long, dull, dreary, unvaried visto of despair and exclusion." Speech on Econ. Reform.

61. IBID. Your commerce, &c., all jointly oblige you to this repeal. "If any man," says Professor Goodrich, "has been accustomed to regard Mr. Burke as more of a rhetorician than a reasoner, let him turn back and study over the series of arguments contained in this first head. There is nothing in any of the speeches of Mr. Fox or Mr. Pitt which surpasses it for close reasoning on the facts of the case, or the binding force with which at every step the conclusion is linked to the premises. It is unnecessary to speak of the pungency of its application, or the power with which he brings to bear upon Lord North the whole course of his measures respecting the Colonies, as an argument for repealing this 'solitary duty on tea.' ";

62. L. 29. all jointly oblige you to this repeal. Burke does not mean that it is only when taken together that these considerations led to the repeal, which would be the strict meaning of the adverb. The context shows that he meant severally as well as jointly.

63. P. 179, L. 14. to say something on the historical part... open myself fully on that important and delicate subject. The history of American taxation, which follows, is probably the best known section of all Burke's speeches and writings, and its parts are among the most popular "elegant extracts" of the English Classics. This portion of the speech bears marks of careful elaboration previous to delivery.

64. L. 22. the Act of Navigation. Passed by Cromwell in 1651, with the design of taking the carrying trade out of the hands of the Dutch. It prohibited amongst other things the importation into England and her Colonies, by foreign vessels, of any commodities which were not the growth and manufacture of the countries to which these vessels belonged. The policy of this Act, now totally repealed, was preserved in subsequent ones. See Smith's Wealth of Nations, book iv. chap. 2, and Macculloch's note.

65. IBID. the corner-stone of the policy. A common Scriptural image. "The income-tax—the corner-stone of our whole financial plan." Gladstone, financial statement, April 18, 1853.

66. L. 24. the commercial system was wholly restrictive. See Smith's Wealth of Nations, book iv. It is justly observed by Smith that though the policy of Great Britain, with regard to the trade of her Colonies, was dictated by the same mercantile spirit as that of other nations, it had, upon the whole, been less illiberal and oppressive than that of any of them.

67. L. 25. the system of a monopoly. "Prior to this era (the peace of Paris) you were content with drawing from us the wealth produced by our commerce. You restrained our trade in every way that could conduce to your emolument. You exercised unbounded sovereignty over the sea. You named the ports and nations to which alone our merchandise should be carried, and with whom alone we should trade; and, though some of these restrictions were grievous, we nevertheless did not complain; we looked up [290] to you as to our parent state, to which we were bound by the strongest ties, and were happy in being instrumental to your prosperity and your grandeur." Address of Congress to the people of Great Britain, September 5, 1774.

68. P. 180, L. 6. your superintending legislative power. Cp. infra, pp. 217, 218, 251.

69. L. 17. your right... your settled policy. This is the key to Burke's whole argument on the American question. Cp. p. 254.

70. P. 181, L. 27. attended the Colonies from their infancy. This is not strictly correct. "On the contrary, the charters granted to the founders of the settlement in Virginia distinctly empower the colonists to carry on a direct intercourse with foreign states. Nor were they slow to avail themselves of this permission; for they had, as early as 1620, established tobacco warehouses in Middelburg and Flushing." (See further on this subject, Macculloch, Art. Colonies and Colony Trade.) The Navigation Acts of Cromwell and of Charles II founded the monopoly system.

71. L. 28. grew with their growth, and strengthened with their strength. Pope, Essay on Man, ii. 136.

72. P. 182, L. 4. this capital was a hot-bed to them. It was in the sugar Colonies that English capital was most extensively employed. It is observed by Smith that the capital of the French sugar Colonies was, on the other hand, almost entirely the product of the industry of the Colonists themselves.

73. L. 12. not so much sent as thrown out. "The original relation between the government of the Mother-Country and the New England Colonists was that of tyrant and refugee. The ancient 'Art of Colonization,' which it is supposed we have lost and may recover, consisted in persecuting the Puritans till they fled to the New World.... That which James I gave the founders of New England, under the name of a charter, was the inestimable boon of his neglect. It made them the fathers of a great nation. Later governments were more beneficent. They forcibly endowed the Southern States with the slave trade—the root of the present war (1862). Let us bless Lord North and Mr. Grenville that the war is not on our hands." Goldwin Smith, The Empire, p. 84. The Puritans established the four Colonies of New England; the Catholics, treated with much greater injustice, that of Maryland; and the Quakers, that of Pennsylvania. The persecution of the Portuguese Jews by the Inquisition was the foundation of the prosperity of the Brazils. "Upon all these different occasions," says Adam Smith, "it was not the wisdom and policy, but the disorder and injustice of the European Governments, which peopled and cultivated America."

74. L. 27. sole disposal of her own internal government. "The Colony Assemblies had not only the legislative, but a part of the executive power. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, they elected the governor. In the other Colonies, they appointed the revenue officers who collected the taxes imposed by those respective Assemblies, to whom those officers were immediately responsible. There is more equality, therefore, among the English [291] Colonists, than among the inhabitants of the mother-country." Adam Smith, book iv. ch. 7.

75. L. 29. perfect freedom—cp. p. 155, l. 12.

76. P. 183, L. 35. close of the last war... a scheme of government new in many things. Cp. the Present Discontents. American independence began to dawn upon the world with the rise of the Royal party. At the most unhappy juncture, just as the Colonists had been permanently freed from foreign danger by the acquisition of Canada, a plan was formed, and its execution commenced, to abolish the charters of the Colonies and "make them all royal governments." (Bancroft, v. 83, note.) This arbitrary policy required a standing army, which was to be maintained by those whom it was destined to oppress. Ibid. The fifth and sixth volumes of Bancroft should be studied by those who wish to understand this speech in all its bearings.

77. P. 184, L. 5. the necessity was established, i. e. was confidently asserted—thought to be established. The great accession of French territory, inhabited by French subjects, in Lower Canada, certainly justified some increase of the military establishment.

78. L. 6. capable of seats in this House. Cp. Present Discontents.

79. L. 13. Country gentlemen, the great patrons of economy, &c. The cry against standing armies and corrupt expenditure was a watchword of the country party in the early part of the century. Cp. Bolingbroke, Pref. to Diss. on Parties, p. xxxiv.

80. L. 19. Townshend, in a brilliant harangue. "No man in the House of Commons was thought to know America so well; no one was so resolved on making a thorough change in its constitutions and government. 'What schemes he will form,' said the proprietary of Pennsylvania (February 11, 1763), 'we shall soon see.' But there was no disguise about his schemes. He was always for making thorough work of it with the Colonies." Bancroft, v. 81.

81. L. 29. considered his objects in lights that were rather too detached. Burke's intimacy with Reynolds should be remembered. The art of painting often furnished Burke with admirable illustrations. "Reformation is one of those pieces which must be put at some distance in order to please." (Speech on Economical Reform.) "The works of malice and injustice are quite in another style. They are finished with a bold, masterly hand; touched as they are with the spirit of those vehement passions that call forth all our energies, whenever we oppress and persecute." (Speech at Bristol previous to the Election.) "A group of regicide and sacrilegious slaughter was indeed boldly sketched, but it was only sketched. It unhappily was left unfinished, in this great history-piece of the massacre of innocents. What hardy pencil of a great master will finish it," &c. Vol. ii. p. 166.

82. L. 30. Whether the business of an American revenue was imposed upon him altogether. The words of Walpole, "Grenville adopted, from Lord Bute, a plan of taxation formed by Jenkinson," seem to express the truth. George the Third forced it upon Grenville, who is said to have at first [292] positively declined the task. See Wraxall's Historical Memoirs, vol. 1. p. 418 sqq.

83. P. 185, L. 4. to lean on the memory—to be severe upon. So our colloquialism "to be hard upon." Erskine, Speech for Paine; "God forbid that I should be thought to lean upon her unfortunate monarch (Louis XVI)."

84. L. 7. acted with more pleasure with him. Grenville, when out of office, fell into the ranks of the general Whig opposition. In the Speech at Bristol at the Conclusion of the Poll, Burke speaks of his own share in Mr. Grenville's most beneficial plan of scrutiny for elections.

85. L. 8. A first-rate figure in this country. Mr. Grenville, though not a man of first-rate abilities, was a distinguished financier. His whole policy was directed to making the most of the revenue, and especially to do this by repressing smuggling both in England and the colonies. He was also a rigid economist, and made good bargains for the public with capitalists. He was, says Dr. Bisset, "a most frugal, faithful, and skilful steward to his country." In 1764, after the termination of a costly war of seven years, he was able to bring forward a budget which proposed no additional taxes.

86. L. 10. undissipated = unwasted.

87. L. 12. as a pleasure he was to enjoy, &c. Burke says the same of his own son. "He was made a public creature; and had no enjoyment whatever, but in the performance of some duty." (Letter to a Noble Lord.) "No man," says South, "ever was, or can be, considerable in any art or profession whatsoever, which he does not take a particular delight in." "Use also such persons as affect (i. e. love) the business wherein they are employed." Bacon, Essay on Negotiating. "Pleasures are all alike, simply considered in themselves: he that hunts, or he that governs the commonwealth." Selden, Table-talk.

88. L. 16. noble and generous strain = breed. Spenser, Faery Queen, Book iv. Cant. 8: "Sprung of the ancient stocke of Princes' straine." "Intemperance and lust breed diseases, which propagated, spoil the strain of a nation." Tillotson, quoted by Johnson.

89. L. 17. not by the low, pimping politicks of a Court. Cp. the quotation from Addison, p. 149, ante.

90. L. 22. if such a man fell into errors, it must be; i. e. "it must have been." Burke, following the Irish idiom, frequently neglects the proper sequence of tenses.

91. L. 23. intrinsical. Burke commonly follows the practice of the early part of the last century, in using such forms as intrinsic, intrinsical—ecclesiastic, ecclesiastical, almost indifferently.

92. L. 26. He was bred to the law, &c. With this portrait of Grenville, in which generosity to a deceased foe leads Burke, as in that of Townshend, to be onesided, should be compared those by Mr. Bancroft and Lord Macaulay. The North Briton, No. 46, contains a coarse sketch of him from Wilkes's point of view. Of Burke's sketch Professor Goodrich says, "It does not so much describe the objective qualities of the man, as the formative [293] principles of his character. The traits mentioned were causes of his being what he was, and doing what he did. They account (and for this reason they were brought forward) for the course he took in respect to America. The same also is true respecting the sketch of Lord Chatham. This is one of the thousand exhibitions of the philosophical tendencies of Mr. Burke's mind, his absorption in the idea of cause and effect, of the action and reaction of principles and feelings." Cp. the contrast of the functions of the lawyer and the legislator in the Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol.

93. L. 30. except in persons very happily born. Bacon and Selden are rare examples.

94. P. 186, L. 2. There is no knowledge which is not valuable. "Burke was a strong advocate for storing the mind with multiform knowledge, rather than confining it to one narrow line of study." Life of Crabbe, by his Son.

95. L. 3. men too much conversant, &c. Of such men Professor Smyth says, "They mistake their craft for sagacity, their acquaintance with detail for more profound wisdom,... if any crisis of human affairs occurs, they are the most fatal counsellors, with or without their intention, that their king or their country can listen to." Lect. xxxii, on Modern History.

96. L. 9. as long as things go on in their common order. See Gordon's Discourses on Tacitus, No. iv. sect. 9, in which the ability derived from practice is contrasted with the powerlessness of extraordinary talents without it. Cp. vol. ii. p. 134: "It cannot escape observation, that when men are too much confined to professional and faculty habits, and as it were inveterate in the recurrent employment of that narrow circle, they are rather disabled than qualified for whatever depends on the knowledge of mankind, on experience in mixed affairs, on a comprehensive, connected view of the various complicated external and internal interests, which go to the formation of that multifarious thing called a State."

97. L. 10. when the high roads are broken up, and the waters out. The description of the Flood (Gen. vii. 11, &c.) seems to have afforded verbal hints for this celebrated sentence.

98. L. 20. regulation to be commerce, and taxes to be revenue. Such bold and easy touches are peculiarly characteristic of Burke. This sentence gives the key to the whole of his argument on Grenville's share in the American business.

99. L. 29. After the war and in the last years of it, &c. The enforcement of the Navigation Act had preceded the Stamp Act. The important trade in British manufactures which the English colonists carried on with those of France and Spain, was certainly against the letter of the Navigation Act, though not, perhaps, against its spirit. This trade was afterwards allowed, though under duties that were virtually prohibitory.

100. P. 187, L. 1. It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact. Cp. the fine amplification of this by Erskine; "It is the nature of everything that is great and useful, both in the animate and inanimate world, to be wild and irregular," &c., in the Speech for Stockdale (1789).

101. [294] L. 27. appointment of Courts of Admiralty, which were employed in enforcing the Navigation Act, so as to deprive the offenders of trial by jury. This injudicious proceeding touched the sensibilities of the Colonists perhaps more keenly than anything else.

102. L. 29. sudden extinction of the paper currencies. The colonial assemblies during the war had issued notes, which were made a legal tender. To remedy the inconvenience produced by their natural depreciation, Mr. Grenville passed an act which took away from them the nature of a legal tender. Most of the bullion of the Colonies being employed in the trade to England (see Adam Smith), the extinction of the paper currencies must have caused a general stoppage in trade.

103. L. 33. as their recent services in the war did not at all merit. The Colonies had entered warmly into the war against France, and such was their zeal, that of their own accord they advanced for carrying it on much larger sums than were allotted to their quota by the British Government. (Goodrich.) See the citations in the next speech, p. 271.

104. P. 188, L. 27. beginning of sorrows. St. Matt. xxiv. 8.

105. P. 189, L. 5. Great was the applause of this measure here, i.e. throughout the country. Public opinion was from first to last in favour of taxing America. Cp. Burke to Lord Rockingham, Aug. 23, 1775. Rockingham to Burke, Sept. 24, 1775: "I see and lament that the generality of the nation are aiding and assisting in their own destruction; and I conceive that nothing but a degree of experience of the evils can bring about a right judgment in the public at large." See also Burke to the Duke of Richmond, Sept. 26, 1775.

106. L. 11. did not object to the principle. It is far from being true that the Americans "did not object to the principle" of the Act of 1764: nor is Mr. Burke correct in saying that they "touched it very tenderly." The first Act of the British Parliament for the avowed purpose of raising a revenue in America was passed April 5th, 1764. Within a month after the news reached Boston, the General Court of Massachusetts met, and on the 13th of June, 1764, addressed a letter to Mr. Mauduit, their agent in England, giving him spirited and decisive instructions on the subject. It seems he had misconstrued their silence respecting another law, and had not, therefore, come forward in their behalf against the Act. They say, "No agent of the province has power to make concessions in any case without express orders"; and that "the silence of the province should have been imputed to any cause, even to despair, rather than to have been construed into a tacit cession of their rights, or of an acknowledgment of a right in Parliament to impose duties and taxes upon a people who are not represented in the House of Commons." A Committee was also chosen with power to sit in the recess of the General Court, and directed to correspond with the other provinces on the subject, acquainting them with the instructions sent to Mr. Mauduit, and requesting the concurrence of the other provincial assemblies in resisting "any impositions and taxes upon this and the other American provinces." Accordingly, in November of the same year, the House of Burgesses in Virginia [295] sent an address to the House of Lords, and a remonstrance to the House of Commons on the same subject. Remonstrances were likewise sent from Massachusetts and New York to the Privy Council. James Otis also published during this year his pamphlet against the right of Parliament to tax the Colonies, while unrepresented in the House of Commons. This was printed in London in 1765, about the time when the Stamp Act was passed. See Holme's American Annals, 2nd ed., vol. ii. p. 225-6. (Goodrich.)

107. L. 12. It was not a direct attack; i.e. Their opposition was not that direct calling in question of the power of Parliament to impose taxes which was forced from them by the Stamp Act.

108. L. 15. like those which they had been accustomed to bear. The duties on rum, sugar, and molasses, imported from the West Indies; and on tobacco and indigo exported from the American continent to any of the other plantations.

109. P. 190, L. 7. his own favourite governour. Sir Francis Bernard, Governor of Massachuset's Bay. It was commonly supposed in America that it was he and his coadjutors who laid the original plans for establishing the American revenue, out of which they promised themselves large stipends and extensive patronage.

110. L. 18. for four years longer. See p. 272.

111. L. 25. could not legally grant any revenue. See pp. 269 sqq., where Burke contends that they could do so.

112. P. 191, L. 11. Massachuset's Bay. Massachuset was the collective name of a small Indian tribe.

113. P. 192, L. 9. a common friend. This expression should always be used instead of our vulgarism, "a mutual friend."

114. L. 11. a situation of little rank. That of private secretary.

115. L. 32. was a direct violation, &c., i.e. was represented as a direct violation, &c.

116. P. 193, L. 2. the late Mr. Yorke, then Attorney-General. Son of Lord Hardwicke. In an evil hour, casting aside all promises and obligations, he yielded to the offers of the Court and accepted the Chancellorship on the resignation of Lord Camden, 1770. His brother refused to admit him to his presence, and in his agitation and remorse he put an end to his life. See Junius, Letters xxxviii and xlix; Walpole's Mem., vol. iv. p. 52, and the note p. 53, on his subsequent interview with Burke, and Rockingham's conduct on the occasion.

117. L. 6. of that constitution of mind. Cp. Present Discontents, p. 149, "of that ingenious paradoxical morality." A latinism, using is for talis, not noticed in Johnson.

118. P. 194, L. 13. political equity. (See post, p. 198, l. 28). The principle which should correct and supplement the letter of the law. Cp. ante, p. 124, l. 23, where the idea of equity, of a "large and liberal construction," and a "discretionary power," which Burke approved in dealing with the interests, is reprobated as applied to the offences, of the subject.

119. L. 20. crayoned out = sketched. Fr. crayonné.

120. [296] L. 31. A modification is the constant resource of weak, undeciding minds. "Media sequitur, quod inter ancipitia teterrimum est," says Tacitus. De la Houssaie remarks the spirit of compromise in general policy as one of the causes of the decline of Venice. Compare the very different and truly philosophical view of compromise infra p. 278, l. 29.

121. P. 195, L. 5. this labour did knight's service. The expression "yeoman's service," as used in Hamlet, Act v. Sc. 2, is applied to the result of labours actually performed by a superior intelligence which might have been done though not so well, by an inferior. Burke gives this expression new dignity by substituting for the "yeoman" the "knight," whose service was under the feudal law the highest form of land tenure (abolished 12 Charles II). It was indeed in a great measure such "knight's service" as that here alluded to, which raised Burke so far above his contemporaries in political wisdom, because it brought him into actual contact with so large a mass of political and social facts, which the inferior statesman is content to accept at second-hand.

122. L. 6. It opened the eyes of several. Burke himself probably knew more about America than any one in England. He had read every accessible authority on the subject at the commencement of the Seven Years' War, when the attention of the public was strongly drawn to it, for his Account of the European Settlements in America (1757), which has been recognised from the first as a standard authority. Robertson commends it highly. It has not been reprinted in any of the English editions, but is to be found in the American edition.

123. L. 14. least garbled. Used as now commonly, in malam partem. To "garble" meant originally to sift the good from the bad, and it is still used in this sense in the drug trade. "They garbled our army," Lyttelton, Persian Letters. Bolingbroke speaks of "garbling" corporations by prerogative, i.e. excluding the disaffected.

124. L. 19. old mercenary Swiss of state... practised instruments of a Court. See note, p. 96, ante. From the days of the battles of Granson and Morat in 1476, and Nanci in 1477, the Swiss mercenaries were highly valued throughout western Europe. Cp. Goldsmith, Traveller:

    No product here the barren hills afford,
    But man and steel, the soldier and his sword.

125. P. 196, L. 2. glaring and dazzling influence at which the eyes of eagles have blenched—alluding to the famous "eagle eye" of Chatham, which was often compared to that of Condé, and his submission to influence in 1766. "Blench, to shrink, to start back, to give way; not used" (Johnson). It occurs several times in Shakspeare, but is not used by Milton. Cp. vol. ii. p. 357: "It was wherewithal to dazzle the eye of an eagle. It was not made to entice the smell of a mole," &c.

126. L. 9. whose aid was then particularly wanting. The accession of either Chatham, Temple, or Shelburne, was the sole hope of the Rockingham party in their administration of 1765-6. See the speech of Chatham (then Mr. [297] Pitt) in the debate on the Address, January 14, 1766, containing the well-known passage, "I cannot give them my confidence: pardon me, Gentlemen (bowing to the Ministry), confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom," &c. Cp. Lord Chesterfield to his son, Letters, vol. iv. p. 401. "Here is a new political arch almost built, but of materials of so different a nature, and without a key-stone, that it does not, in my opinion, indicate either strength or duration. It will certainly require repairs, and a key-stone, next winter; and that key-stone will, and must necessarily, be Mr. Pitt. It is true, he might have been that key-stone now; and would have accepted it, but not without Lord Temple's consent: and Lord Temple positively refused." Chesterfield believes that this "heterogeneous jumble of youth and caducity" must "centre before long in Mr. Pitt and Co." Pitt was the only person who could have given strength to the Rockingham administration. June 13, 1766, Chesterfield writes: "It is a total dislocation and derangement, consequently, a total inefficiency." The Duke of Grafton said as much in the Lords, on resigning the Seals. While Pitt was extending to them a useless patronage, the Earl of Bute was cajoling Temple with the prospect of a carte blanche for himself. Animated by the spirit of genuine Whiggism, this nobleman refused in 1770 and 1775 to "wear the livery" of the Court to which nearly all his adherents went over.

127. L. 23. of a complexion to be bullied by Lord Chatham. Constantly used by Burke in this sense = bodily temperament. "Their complexion, which might defy the rack, cannot go through such a trial." Letter to Member of the Assembly. "Our complexion is such, that we are palled with enjoyment, and stimulated with hope." Appeal from New to Old Whigs, &c., &c. He contrasts moral with complexional timidity, vol. ii. p. 364.

128. L. 29. Lord Egmont, who acted, &c. See Introduction.

129. L. 35. household troops... allies. See note, p. 96, l. 1.

130. P. 197, L. 10. Earth below shook; Ps. civ. 32, &c.

131. L. 32. with a melancholy pleasure. See note, p. 151, ante, l. 20.

132. P. 198, L. 1. almost to a winter's return of light. The Stamp Act was repealed March 18, 1766. "An event that caused more universal joy throughout the British dominions, than perhaps any other that can be remembered." Ann. Reg. 1766.

133. L. 12. Hope elevated and joy brightened his crest. Par. Lost, ix. 633.

134. L. 13. expression of the Scripture. Acts vi. 15. Lord Stanhope (vol. v. p. 213) criticises this comparison too severely. It is not a "metaphor" at all: and careful analysis on the ordinary principles of rhetoric discovers in it nothing "overstrained," "bordering on the ludicrous," or in the least resembling Pitt's allusion to the mother of mankind.

135. L. 16. all that kings in their profusion could bestow. General Conway must have felt this passage keenly, and he deserved it. He was now connected with Lord North, and had gratified the King by going the whole length of the most violent measures against Wilkes. About three weeks before, he had said respecting the Boston Port Bill, that he "was particularly [298] happy in the mode of punishment adopted in it." He was then enjoying his reward in the emoluments pertaining to the office of Governor of Jersey, to which he had been promoted, after holding for some years that of Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance. In justice to Conway, it ought, however, to be said, that notwithstanding his hasty remark in favour of the Boston Port Bill, he was always opposed to American taxation. He differed from Lord North at every step as to carrying on the war, and made the motion for ending it, February 22, 1782, which drove Lord North from power. (Goodrich.)

136. P. 199, L. 10. to revert to the ancient policy of this Kingdom. Cp. pp. 213, 215, and the Speech on Conciliation, passim.

137. P. 201, L. 25. vermin of Court reporters... bolt out of all their holes. Cp. the expression of Oldham, Sat. i. on Jesuits:

    Unkennel those state foxes where they lie
    Working your speedy fate and destiny.

138. P. 202, L. 2. an advocate of that faction, a Dr. Tucker. Mr. Forster regards this as an "ill-considered attack" on Dean Tucker, "the only man of that day who thoroughly anticipated the judgment and experience of our own on the question of the American Colonies." Life of Goldsmith, i. 412. Tucker was for first coercing the Colonists into submission, obliging them to pay their debts, and then enfranchising them, and making alliances with them as so many independent states, on the principle that the gain of England from them would be just as great, and the expense connected with them less. Johnson's reply to this, is that by doing so before the war, many millions would have been saved. "One wild proposal is best answered by another. Let us restore to the French what we have taken from them. We shall see our Colonists at our feet, when they have an enemy so near them." Taxation no Tyranny, Works, x. 139. A sufficient account of Tucker's pamphlets will be found in Smyth's Lectures on Modern History, No. 32.

139. L. 3. labours in this vineyard. Alluding to a well-known parable.

140. P. 203, L. 7. the Earl of Halifax. Through this minister Burke had obtained the Irish Pension of 300l. a year, in the days of his attachment to Hamilton. It has been remarked, that on this account he spares his memory.

141. P. 204, L. 2. their importunate buzzing. "Importun" is a common French epithet for troublesome noises. Cp. vol. ii. p. 180, l. 15, "importunate chink." "Importunate guinea-fowls," First Letter on a Regicide Peace.

142. P. 205, L. 15. in various ways demonstrated, &c. "South Carolina voted Pitt a statue; and Virginia a statue to the King, with an obelisk." Bancroft, v. 457.

143. L. 29. Another scene was opened. Cp. ante, p. 186, "when a new and troubled scene is opened." The expression is common in Bolingbroke.

144. P. 206, L. 3. Clarum et venerabile nomen, &c. Lucan, l. ix. v. 202.

145. L. 6. his superior eloquence. Note the modern use of the term in a positive sense.

146. L. 8. fall from power... canonizes and sanctifies a great character. "Il y a des tems oł la disgrace est une manière de feu, qui purifie toutes les mauvaises qualitez, et qui illumine toutes les bonnes." Mémoires du Card. de Retz, Liv. ii.

147. [299] L. 12. betrayed him by their adulation, insult him, &c. Cp. p. 207, "As if it were to insult as well as to betray him."

148. L. 15. governed too much by general maxims. Burke himself appeals to the same maxims at page 131, l. 2.

149. L. 17. maxims, flowing from an opinion not the most indulgent to our unhappy species. "He made far too little distinction between gangs of knaves associated for the mere purpose of robbing the public, and confederacies of honourable men for the promotion of great public objects." Macaulay, Essay on Chatham. See the paragraph commencing at p. 147, l. 19.

150. L. 22. an administration, so checkered and speckled. "Miserable examples of the several administrations constructed upon the idea of systematic discord, monstrous and ruinous conjunctions." Obs. on a Late State of the Nation. "The last botching of Lord Chatham." Letter to Rockingham, Oct. 29, 1769. This passage has been called a specimen of "dictionary eloquence."

151. L. 25. a cabinet so variously inlaid. This frigid pun is probably not original. The image, however, as is usual with Burke, is quickly exchanged for a better.

152. L. 32. Were obliged to ask, &c. This dramatic manner must have been frequent in Burke's speeches, though there are naturally few traces of it in those which he prepared for the press. See, however, his Speech on being elected at Bristol, Nov. 3, 1774.

153. P. 207, L. 3. i.e. lying huddled together, like pigs. One of the vulgarisms which, in the opinion of critics, too often disfigure Burke's pages.

154. IBID. heads and points, in the same truckle-bed. Supposed to allude to the Right Honourable Lord North and George Cooke, Esq., who were made joint paymasters in the summer of 1766, on the removal of the Rockingham administration. As a handful of pins shaken together will be found to have heads and points confused, so two persons get more space in a narrow bed by lying opposite ways. Cp. Erskine, Speech for Baillie; "Insulated passages, culled out and set heads and points in their wretched affidavits." The truckle-bed was "a bed that runs on wheels under a higher bed" (Johnson). Hence to "truckle" to another, in which sense Burke here employs the image. It suggested an amusing passage in the debate on the Reform Bill, 1866: "But I must protest against one portion of the Speech of my Right Hon. Friend (Mr. Lowe), and that is, the portion in which he treated largely of the honour of the Government, and gave his views of the Government as being persons who needed not to be particular, and who were not in a condition to be fastidious on that subject, and he spoke, I think, with marked emphasis of a truckle-bed in which they were to lie," &c. Mr. Gladstone, June 4, 1866. On Lord North's and Mr. Cooke's joint office, see note to Rockingham Memoirs, vol. i, p. 258.

155. L. 15. When his face was hid but for a moment. Isaiah liv. 8. Pitt's face was hid for three consecutive years.

156. L. 22. Deprived of his guiding influence, &c. Lord Macaulay thinks that on the whole, "the worst administration which has governed [300] England since the Revolution was that of George Grenville." Mr. Massey has happily transferred this compliment to the Grafton administration. To this Burke would certainly have assented. "The worst government which this country had experienced since the Revolution was the Rump administration of Lord Chatham. While that great man continued at the head of affairs and kept possession of his faculties, it mattered little that the other members of his cabinet were of slender capacity and experience.... Chatham had sketched the plan of a great administration, which his colleagues, deprived of his direction, were utterly unable to fulfil. For the perverse and calamitous measures which superseded the policy of Chatham, it would be a hard measure of justice to load the memory of his successor. The Duke of Grafton has been termed a minister by accident.... Grafton, unconnected with faction, and professing allegiance to Chatham alone, became as chief minister, a passive instrument in the hands of a determined will, in the furtherance of a definite policy. It was the King who insisted on the prosecution of Wilkes: and it was the King who urged measures of coercion towards the refractory Colonies." History of England, i. 402. (Compare, however, the note to p. 189.)

157. L. 35. For even then, Sir, even before, &c. Cp. p. 97, l. 1. This passage is acknowledged to contain the most gorgeous image in modern oratory. Burke perhaps borrowed the germ of it from Smollett's "Humphrey Clinker" (Letter of June 2): "Ha! there is the other great phenomenon, the grand pensionary, that weathercock of patriotism, that veers about in every point of the political compass, and still feels the wind of popularity in his tail. He, too, like a portentous comet, has risen again above the court horizon; but how long he will continue to ascend, it is not easy to foretell, considering his great eccentricity." The name "grand pensionary" alludes to the similarity between the position of Pitt and the minister of that title in the Dutch Republic. It was sometimes significantly curtailed to "grand pensioner." Cp. Bacon, Advice to Sir G. Villiers (afterwards Duke of Buckingham): "You are as a new-risen star, and the eyes of all men are upon you; let not your own negligence make you fall like a meteor." The least rhetorical of writers makes free use of the image: "In the session of 1714, when he had become lord of the ascendant," &c. Hallam, Const. Hist. ch. xvi, note. "The Whigs, now lords of the ascendant," Ibid.

158. P. 208, L. 5. you understand, to be sure. Used as we now use of course. "Oh, to be sure, it is some very great man that writes it." Ann. Reg. 1760.

159. L. 6. I speak of Charles Townshend. With this affectionate panegyric should be compared the juster portraiture of Horace Walpole, in his Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 100, who would rank him with Churchill's "Men void of Principle, and damn'd with Parts." He is, however, forced to admit that "he seemed to create knowledge instead of searching for it, with a wit so abundant that in him it seemed loss of time to think. He had but to speak, and all he said seemed new, natural, and uncommon." On the other hand, Grattan, in his character of Pitt, describes him as "for ever on the rack of exertion," and [301] contrasts his style with Chatham's, "lightening upon the subject, and reaching the point by the flashings of his mind, which like those of his eye, were felt, but could not be followed." Smollett's character of Townshend is excellent: "At length, a person of a very prepossessing appearance coming in, his grace (Newcastle) rose up, and, hugging him in his arms, with the appellation of 'My dear Charles!' led him forth into the inner apartment, or sanctum sanctorum of this political temple. That, said Captain C——, is my friend Charles Townshend, almost the only man of parts who has any concern in the present administration. Indeed, he would have no concern at all in the matter if the ministry did not find it absolutely necessary to make use of his talents upon some particular occasions. As for the common business of the nation, it is carried on in a constant routine, by the clerks of the different offices, otherwise the wheels of Government would be wholly stopped amidst the abrupt succession of ministers, every one more ignorant than his predecessor. I am thinking what a fine hobble we should be in, if all the clerks of the Treasury, if the secretaries, the War Office, and the Admiralty, should take it into their heads to throw up their places, in imitation of the great pensioner. But to return to Charles Townshend; he certainly knows more than all the Ministry and all the Opposition, if their heads were laid together, and talks like an angel on a vast variety of subjects. He would be really a great man, if he had any consistency or stability of character. Then, it must be owned, he wants courage, otherwise he would never allow himself to be cowed by the great political bully (Pitt), for whose understanding he has justly a very great contempt. I have seen him as much afraid of that overbearing Hector as ever schoolboy was of his pedagogue; and yet this Hector, I shrewdly suspect, is no more than a craven at bottom. Besides this defect, Charles has another, which he is at too little pains to hide. There's no faith to be given to his assertions, and no trust to be put in his promises. However, to give the devil his due, he is very good-natured, and even friendly when close urged in the way of solicitation. As for principle, that's out of the question. In a word, he's a wit and an orator, extremely entertaining; and he shines very often at the expense of those ministers to whom he is a retainer. This is a mark of great imprudence by which he has made them all his enemies, whatever face they may put upon the matter; and sooner or later he'll have cause to wish he had been able to keep his own counsel. I have several times cautioned him on this subject: but 'tis all preaching to the desert. His vanity runs away with his discretion." (Humphrey Clinker.) The following clever stanzas "by a Friend," are quoted from Belsham, v. 249:

    Behold that ship in all her pride,
    Her bosom swelling to the tide,
      Each curious eye delighting:
    With colours flying, sails unfurl'd,
    From head to stern she'll match the world
      For sailing or for fighting.
    [302] Alas, dear Charles! she cheats the sight,
    Though all appears so fair and tight,
      For sea so trim and ready;
    Each breeze will toss her to and fro,
    Nor must she dare to face the foe
      Till BALLAST makes her steady.

On Townshend's celebrated "Champagne Speech," see Walpole, vol. iii, p. 25, and Lord Stanhope's History, v. 272: "full of wit, comedy, quotation, &c., but not a syllable to the purpose. Upon this speech he had meditated a great while, and it only found utterance by accident on that particular day!"

160. L. 9. the delight and ornament of this House. "It was Garrick writing and acting extempore scenes of Congreve." Walpole.

161. L. 14. not so great a stock, as some have had who flourished formerly, of knowledge. The allusion seems to be to Pulteney and Carteret, to whose school Townshend may be ascribed.

162. L. 23. hit the House just between wind and water. Fr. entre deux eaux. When a ship heels over to leeward a part of her bottom (that portion of the keel which is usually below the water-line), is uncovered. An attacking enemy bearing down on the wind naturally aims at this strip along her side, which is "between wind and water."

163. L. 24. not being troubled with too anxious a zeal. Villemain, in his Souvenirs, quotes Talleyrand on this point: "Talleyrand dit, 'Il faut en politique, comme ailleurs, ne pas engager tout son coeur, ne pas trop aimer; cela embrouille, cela nuit à la clarté des vues, et n'est pas toujours compté à bien. Cette excessive préoccupation d'autrui, ce dévouement qui s'oublie trop soi-même, nuit souvent à l'objet aimé, et toujours à l'objet aimant qu'il rend moins mésuré, moins adroit, et même moins persuasif.' ";

164. L. 28. He conformed exactly to the temper of the House. Cp. infra, p. 211, "He was truly the child of the House," &c. Cp. Chesterfield, Character of Walpole: "He saw as by intuition the disposition of the House, and pressed or receded accordingly." Lord Dalling, Character of Canning: "At last, when he himself spoke, he seemed to a large part of his audience to be merely giving a striking form to their own thoughts."

165. L. 36. the sole cause of all the public measures. Further than this, Burke thought with Guicciardini that "any general temper in a nation" might always be traced to a few individuals. Letter to Rockingham, Aug. 23, 1775. "As well may we fancy," he writes in the First Letter on a Regicide Peace, "that of itself the sea will swell, and that without winds the billows will insult the adverse shore, as that the gross mass of the people will be moved, and elevated, and continue by a steady and permanent direction to bear upon one point, without the influence of superior authority, or superior mind." "It is the Few, which commonly give the turn to Affairs," Guicc. Maxim 83. Cp. Gordon's Discourses on Tacitus, ix, II.

166. P. 209, L. 15. passion for fame; a passion, &c. Cp. in the description of [303] the trial of Hastings, in Erskine's Speech for Stockdale, "the love of fame, which is the inherent passion of genius."

167. L. 26. Obstinacy, Sir, is certainly a great vice, &c. Pope, Essay on Man:

    What crops of wit and honesty appear
    From spleen, from obstinacy, hate or fear!

168. L. 29. whole line of the great and masculine virtues. Cp. Speech on the Econ. Reform, near beginning; "Indeed, the whole class of the severe and restrictive virtues are at a market almost too high for humanity. What is worse, there are very few of these virtues which are not capable of being imitated, and even outdone, by the worst of vices. Malignity and envy will carve much more deeply, and finish much more sharply, than frugality and prudence."

169. P. 210, L. 3. Things and the disposition of men's minds were changed. The opinion of most politicians was expressed in the application of a witty remark of Townshend on a former administration to the Rockingham ministry at the outset of its career, July 1765, as a "lutestring ministry; fit only for the summer," but he seems to have lent them an unconfiding support. Cp. Churchill, The Ghost, Book iv:

    A slight shot silk, for summer wear,
    Just as our modern Statesmen are,
    If rigid honesty permit
    That I for once purloin the wit
    Of him, who, were we all to steal,
    Is much too rich the theft to feel.

Macaulay errs in assigning the origin of the bon-mot to this particular occasion.

170. IBID. men's minds. "Men's for the genitive plural of men, is not allowable. We say, a man's mind, but we can only say, the minds of men." Hurd, note on Spect., No. 262. The solecism is now well established.

171. L. 7. resolutions leading to the Repeal. These Resolutions embraced also the principle of the Declaratory Act, without which it is not probable that Townshend would have supported them. The inconsiderate strictures of Lord Campbell (Lives of the Chancellors, Camden) on the exceeding "folly of accompanying the Repeal of the Stamp Act with the statutable declaration of the abstract right to tax," are amply refuted by this Speech (see pp. 217-18). Macaulay is more just. "The Stamp Act was indefensible, not because it was beyond the constitutional competence of Parliament, but because it was unjust and impolitic, sterile of revenue, and fertile of discontents."

172. L. 9. if an illness, (not, as was then given out, a political, but... a very real illness). Cp. the newspaper quotation in Chesterfield's Letters, vol. iv. p. 404: "We hear that the Right Hon. Mr. Charles Townshend is indisposed, at his house in Oxfordshire, of a pain in his side: but it is not said in which side."

173. L. 12. as the fashion of this world passeth away. St. Paul, 1 Cor. vii. 31; 1 John ii. 17.

174. L. 24. then Chancellor of the Exchequer, found himself in great straits. [304] Townshend had laughed at the weakness of the Rockingham ministry, but his own "tessellated" ministry was the first since the Revolution to endure the disgrace of being defeated on a Money Bill. Dowdeswell, his predecessor in the Exchequer, moved an amendment to the four-shilling Land Tax, and defeated him by 206 to 118. Rock. Mem., vol. ii. p. 34. It was the loss on the Land Tax of a shilling in the pound that his American taxes were intended partly to supply. Walpole, iii. 28.

175. P. 211, L. 1. to counterwork. Properly a military term, meaning to raise works in opposition to those of the enemy. Pope, Ess. on Man, ii. 239:


    That counterworks each folly and caprice.

176. L. 6. usual fate of all exquisite policy. "Refined policy has ever been the parent of confusion," p. 226.

177. L. 16. a race of men, &c. The class known in Parliamentary slang as "outsiders," "loose fish," &c. Or, by the transfer of an epithet formerly appropriated to electors, "independent" members. An "independent" member has been described as one who can never be depended on. Such men have naturally ever been unpopular with the organizers of parties.

178. L. 27. the Hear-hims. The "Hear him, hear him" of applauding auditors has now become, by ecthlipsis, "Hear, hear."

179. L. 28. to whom they fell—i.e. the speakers.

180. L. 31. A single whiff of incense withheld. Pope, Character of Wharton:


    Tho' wondering senates hung on all he spoke,
    The club must hail him master of the joke.

181. P. 212, L. 20. on a former occasion. In moving his eight resolutions relating to the disorders in North America, May 8, 1770.

182. L. 22. After all these changes and agitations. The remarks of Professor Goodrich (see note to p. 178) might be repeated here. The speech is here summed up with great force and perspicuity. The peroration, "If you do not fall in, &c." which immediately follows, continues this style, in arguments of a more general character. Of these arguments Mr. Hazlitt says, they are "so sensible, so moderate, so wise and beautiful, that I cannot resist the temptation of copying them out, though I did not at first intend it." Eloq. of the British Senate, vol. ii. p. 293. This peroration is a brilliant specimen of direct appeal. It unites, like the Theseus, the grace of the Apollo with the strength of the Hercules. Vehemently as the power is exerted, it is done so easily and temperately, as to suggest an infinite fund in store. The words are eloquent, but the eloquence appears to reside not in them, but in the subject.

183. P. 213, L. 24. reason not at all. Burke may have had in mind the impressive phrase of the Gospel, "Swear not at all."

184. L. 28. On this solid basis. Alluding to the d&ogrgr;ς po&uivrgr; st&ohivrgr; of Archimedes, to which Burke often appears to have had recourse as an illustration in his parliamentary speeches. It must have been after some such passage as this that Lord John Townshend exclaimed aloud, Heavens! what a man this is! Where could he acquire such transcendent powers?

185. [305] P. 214, L. 9. summum jus. Gr. &apsgr;kribod&iacgr;kaion. The origin of the maxim Summum jus summa injuria is lost in antiquity. "That over-perfect kind of justice which has obtained, by its merits, the title of the opposite vice." Speech on Econ. Reform. Cp. Aristotle, Ethics, lib. v. Macaulay compares the Stamp Act with Acts of Attainder and Confiscation. "Parliament was legally competent to tax America, as Parliament was legally competent to confiscate the property of all the merchants in Lombard Street, or to attaint any man of high treason, without examining witnesses against him, or hearing him in his own defence." "There is no worse torture than the torture of laws." Bacon, Essay of Judicature.

186. L. 23. destroying angel. I Chron. xxi. 12. Cp. vol. ii. p. 138. "The hand that like a destroying angel," &c.

187. L. 33. Let us, Sir, embrace some system. This final appeal is said to have fallen with immense weight on the audience. Burke not only knew that on a prepared audience the blow must be redoubled to produce a corresponding effect, but, as this paragraph proves, he was able to do it at will.

188. P. 215, L. 7. Seek peace and ensue it. A favourite quotation of Burke's. Ps. xxxiv. 14.

189. L. 11. metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Burke, says Bentham, had good cause to hate metaphysics; "The power he trusted to was oratory, rhetoric, the art of misrepresentation, the art of misdirecting the judgment by agitating and inflaming the passions," Works, x. 510. Others have accused him of metaphysical subtleties. "Thus was this great man," says Hazlitt, "merely for disclaiming metaphysical distinctions, and shewing their inapplicability to practical questions, considered as an unintelligible reasoner; as if you were chargeable with the very folly of which you convict others. Burke understood metaphysics, and saw their true boundaries. When he saw others venturing blindly on this treacherous ground, and called out to them to stop, shewing them where they were, they said, 'This man is a metaphysician!' General, unqualified assertions, universal axioms, and abstract rules, serve to embody our prejudices. They are the watch-words of party, the strong-holds of the passions. It is therefore dangerous to meddle with them! Solid reason means nothing more than being carried away by our passions, and solid sense is that which requires no reflection to understand it!" Eloq. of Brit. Senate, vol. ii. p. 297.

190. L. 20. not used to do so from the beginning. St. Matt. xix. 8.

191. L. 32. Nobody will be argued into slavery. "Which government the English have best preserv'd, being a Nation too tenacious of their Libertys to be complemented out of 'em," &c. Tindal, Essay Concerning Obedience, ch. 2. Burke's happy expression reminds us of the equally happy phrase of Sherlock, "Never a man was reasoned out of his religion."

192. L. 34. what one character of liberty. In the primary signification of "a mark, a stamp" (Johnson).

193. P. 216, L. 10. a noble Lord, who spoke. Lord Carmarthen.

194. L. 14. the Americans are our children, &c. An old commonplace of [306] despotic theorists. Notice the gentle irony with which Burke receives its utterance by a young speaker.

195. L. 20. children ask for bread... not to give a stone. St. Matt. vii. 9.

196. L. 27. beauteous countenance of British liberty, &c. Apparently an allusion to Exodus xxxiii. 18-23.

197. P. 217, L. 19. Burke begins by personifying Great Britain in the feminine gender, which is common enough; but he goes on to do the same with Parliament, which seems a little ludicrous.

198. L. 23. What I call her imperial character. Cp. Speech on Conciliation, p. 279.

199. P. 218, L. 10. stress of the draft. The image is from draught-horses.

200. L. 13. backwardness... of Pennsylvania... internal dissensions in the Colony. "Domestic faction impeded measures of defence," Bancroft, iv. 224-253.

201. P. 219, L. 2. Sir William Temple says, that Holland, &c. "Thus this stomachful People, who could not endure the least exercise of Arbitrary Power or Impositions, or the sight of any Foreign Troops under the Spanish Government; have been since inured to all of them in the highest degree, under their own popular magistrates: Bridled with hard Laws; Terrified with severe executions; Environed with Foreign Forces; and opprest with the most cruel Hardship and Variety of Taxes, that ever was known under any Government." Obs. upon the United Provinces, ch. ii. "Cette nation aimerait prodigieusement sa liberté, parce que cette liberté serait vraie; et il pouvrait arriver que, pour la défendre, elle sacrifierait son bien, son aisance, ses intérêts: et qu'elle se chargerait des impôts les plus durs, et tels que le prince le plus absolu n'oserait les faire supporter à ses sujets." De l'Esp. des Lois, xix. 27. "Règle générale: on peut lever des tributs plus forts, à proportion de la liberté des sujets; et l'on est forcé de les modérer à mesure que la servitude augmente." Id. xii. 12.

202. L. 4. Tyranny... knows neither how to accumulate nor how to extract. "Quand les sauvages de la Louisiane veulent avoir du fruit, ils coupent l'arbre au pied, et cueillent le fruit. Voilà le gouvernement despotique." Id. v. 13. Cp. infra, p. 262.

203. L. 10. Johnson, "popularly, according to the common occurrences of life, according to the common judgment made of things." The term is a relic of the Schoolmen, who allowed three degrees of certainty—mathematical, metaphysical, and moral.

204. L. 26. not partial good, but universal evil. Pope, Essay on Man, i. 292.

205. P. 220, L. 8. The noble Lord will as usual. Lord North.

206. L. 19. friend under me on the ffloor. Mr. Dowdeswell

End of notes to Vol. 1, "Speech of Edmund Burke, Esq. On American Taxation"

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