Page:Lord Chatham as an Orator.djvu/23

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
18
Lord Chatham as an Orator

the subjects of this kingdom, equally entitled with yourselves to all the natural rights of mankind and the peculiar privileges of Enghshmen.... The Americans are the sons, not the bastards, of England.'

Imagine the effect of such a sentence at such a time, the atmosphere throughout the land so charged with electricity!

The principle that 'Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power,' he argues at length and with lively vehemence, but the rebellion of the colonists which is in every one's mind has not yet come. He even sits down, as if weak and exhausted, without dealing with this crucial topic.

Then follows a considerable pause.

At length General Conway speaks on behalf of the Government, and then George Grenville in defence of his own offspring, the accursed Stamp Act. As he sits down, Mr. Pitt again rises, with several other members. There are loud shouts for 'Mr. Pitt, Mr. Pitt'. The Speaker calls to order, and after a time decides that Mr. Pitt may speak again.

Amid shouts of 'Go on, Go on', the incensed combatant proceeds to his final assault. And with what arms, with what artillery? We still seem to hear its thunder.

'Gentlemen, Sir'—so he begins—'have been charged with giving birth to sedition in America. Several have spoken their sentiments with freedom against this unhappy Act, and that freedom has become their crime. Sorry I am to hear the liberty of speech in this House imputed as a crime. But the imputation shall not discourage me. It is a liberty I mean to exercise. No gentleman ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty by which the gentleman who calumniated it