The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 02 (of 12)
by Edmund Burke
The following speech has been much the subject of conversation, and the desire of having it printed was last summer very general. The means of gratifying the public curiosity were obligingly furnished from the notes of some gentlemen, members of the last Parliament.
This piece has been for some months ready for the press. But a delicacy, possibly over-scrupulous, has delayed the publication to this time. The friends of administration have been used to attribute a great deal of the opposition to their measures in America to the writings published in England. The editor of this speech kept it back, until all the measures of government have had their full operation, and can be no longer affected, if ever they could have been affected, by any publication.
Most readers will recollect the uncommon pains taken at the beginning of the last session of the last Parliament, and indeed during the whole course of it, to asperse the characters and decry the measures of those who were supposed to be friends to America, in order to weaken the effect of their opposition to the acts of rigor then preparing against the colonies. The speech contains a full refutation of the charges against that party with which Mr. Burke has all along acted. In doing this, he has taken a review of the effects of all the schemes which have been successively adopted in the government of the plantations. The subject is interesting; the matters of information various and important; and the publication at this time, the editor hopes, will not be thought unseasonable.
During the last session of the last Parliament, on the 19th of April, 1774, Mr. Rose Fuller, member for Rye, made the following motion:-
"That an act made in the seventh year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled, 'An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America; for allowing a drawback of the duties of customs upon the exportation from this kingdom of coffee and cocoa-nuts, of the produce of the said colonies or plantations; for discontinuing the drawbacks payable on china earthenware exported to America; and for more effectually preventing the clandestine running of goods in the said colonies and plantations, might be read."
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