The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“It is my opinion, that this kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies. At the same time I assert the authority of this kingdom over the colonies to be sovereign and supreme in every circumstance of Government and legislation whatsoever. The colonists are the subjects of this kingdom, equally entitled with yourselves to all the natural rights of mankind and the peculiar privileges of Englishmen…The Americans are the sons, not the bastards, of England. Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power…When, therefore, in this House we give and grant, we give and grant what is our own. But in an American tax, what do we do? We, your Majesty’s Commons for Great Britain, give and grant to your Majesty,—what? Our own property?—No! We give and grant to your Majesty, the property of your Majesty’s Commons of America…The distinction between legislation and taxation is essentially necessary to liberty…There is an idea in some, that the colonies are virtually represented in this House…Is he represented by any knight of the shire, in any county in this kingdom?…Or will you tell him that he is represented by any representative of a borough?—a borough which perhaps its own representatives never saw.—This is what is called the rotten part of the constitution. It cannot continue a century. If it does not drop, it must be amputated…I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of liberty, as voluntarily to let themselves be made slaves, would have been fit instruments to make slaves of all the rest…The gentleman asks, When were the colonies emancipated? I desire to know when were they made slaves?” – William Pitt, Speech in the House of Commons on the Stamp Act (14 January 1766), quoted in William Pitt, The Speeches of the Right Honourable the Earl of Chatham in the Houses of Lords and Commons: With a Biographical Memoir and Introductions and Explanatory Notes to the Speeches (London: Aylott & Jones, 1848), pp. 71-6.

 

 




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