Page:Sketches of the life and character of Patrick Henry.djvu/455
serve the British intcTest in America ,• from whence they must conclude, they cannot now be deprived of a right they have so long enjoyed, and which they have never forfeited.
" The expenses incurred during the last war, in compliance with the de- mands on this colony by our late and present most gracious sovereigns, have involved us in a debt of near half a million, a debt not likely to decrease un- der the continued expense we are at, in providing for the security of the peo- ple against the incursions of our savage neighbours ; at a time when the low state of our staple commodity, the total want of specie, and the late restric- tions upon the trade of the colonies, render the circumstances of the people extremely distressful ; and which, if taxes are accumulated upon them, by the British parliament, will make them truly deplorable.
- Your memorialists cannot suggest to themselves any reason why they
should not still be trusted with the property of their people, with whose abi- lities, and the least burthensome mode of taxing, (with great deference to the superior wisdom of parliament,) they must be best acquainted.
" Your memorialists hope they shall not be suspected of being actuated on this occasion, by any principles buttliose of the purest loyalty and affection, as they always endeavoured by their conduct to demonstrate, that they consi- der their connexion with Great Britain^ the seat of hberty, as their greatest happiness.
" The duty they owe to themselves and their posterity, lays your memo- rialists under the necessity of endeavouring to estabhsh their constitution, upon its proper foundation ; and they do most humbly pray your lordships to take this subject into your consideration, with the attention that is due to the well-being of the colonies, on which the prosperity of Great Britain does, in a great measure, depend."
Mr. W3rthe was the author of the following remonstrance. " It was done « with so much freedom that, as he told me, liimself, his colleagues of the
- ' committee shrunk from it as wearing the aspect of treason, and smoothed
" its features to its present form."*
" To the Honourable the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled : " The Remomtrance of the Council and Burgesses 0/ Virginia. " It appearing, by the printed votes of the house of commons of Great Bri- tain m parliament assembled, that in a committee of the whole house, the 17th day oi March last, it was resolved, that towards defending, protecting, and securing the British colonies and plantations in America, it may be proper to charge certain stamp duties in the said colonies and plantations ; and it being apprehended that the same subject, which was then decUned,may be resumed and further pursued in a succeeding session, the council and bur- gesses of Virginia, met in general assembly, judge it their indispensable duty, in a respectful manner, but with decent firmness, to remonstrate against such
• Mr. Jefferson.