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could even please themselves, like Tacitus of old while in terror of the enemies of Rome, with the spectacle of a civil war, and employ themselves in turning the force of the one to the destruction of the other?

You may be told, indeed, in a word, that Great Britain wished to tax America, and that America successfully resisted. But how, may you reasonably think, could such things be? Could not a dispute about revenue have been composed without an open rupture and a separation ; without the shedding of blood; without the horrors and calamities of a civil war? And again, if arms were to be resorted to, how could it happen that Great Britain could fail in the contest? That the same power which had just humbled the House of Bourbon should not be a match for her own colonies; should not be able, after overpowering the fleets and armies of the first nations of Europe, immediately to discomfit the farmers and merchants of America ? How are such events to be explained ? What demon of folly got possession of our councils? What malignant star shed its influence on our arms? Where were our statesmen, and where were our generals ?

I conceive, therefore, that there is now before you a very striking subject of historical interest, if you can but abstract yourselves, as you must always endeavour to do, from your present knowledge of the event, and set yourselves to consider what were the principles in action at the time, and what it was natural to expect would be the consequences : comparing, as you proceed in the history, these expected consequences with the real events; reading, indeed, the narrative, but stopping from time to time to gather up the instruction which the facts, thus reviewed, are fitted to afford you.

I will now, therefore, mention the books which you may consult.—The history of the American revolution has not yet been written by any of the great masters of literature; and since the appearance of the French revolution, I know not that any writer of this description would be properly rewarded by any attention which the public would pay to his work, whatever might be its merit.

Another circumstance is also to be mentioned : he would not find the precise materials he might expect.

The American patriots, when they met in congress to deliberate on the resistance to be made to Great Britain, debated with closed doors, and what passed cannot now be known; yet the feelings and reasonings of such men, on such an occasion, would have constituted the most instructive portion of the whole dispute.

The same may be nearly said of the debates in our own parliament, which could only have been second in interest to the former. But the report of these debates will extremely disappoint you ; it is meagre and imperfect: access to our House of Commons was sometimes altogether denied, and was always rendered, as it appears from passages in the debates themselves, a matter of some difficulty. The consequence was very unfortunate, not indeed to the same extent as in the former case, but still to a degree much to be lamented. Some idea may indeed be formed, from these debates, of the talents of Col. Barrè, Sir G. Saville, and even of Burke; some, perhaps, though a most inadequate one, of the powers of Fox; and, on the whole, a general notion of the sort of opposition that was made in parliament to the scheme of coercing America. But no idea whatever, I am satisfied, can be formed of the powers of Lord North, or even of Thurlow and Wedderburne; in short, of the pleasantry, the arguments, and the eloquence by which the ministerial system was recommended (and successfully) to the approbation of the country gentlemen and the independent members of the lower house of parliament.

I do not say that we have no debates left, and that we have no opportunities of instructing ourselves amid the reasoning of our statesmen and legislators; but I say that they are not at all what we might have expected; and not at all what they should have been in a civilized nation, and under a free government like ours.

We must make, indeed, the best of our materials; and I shall endeavour to do so immediately. But I thought it necessary to apprize you of what I have felt a most disagreeable disappointment when looking round for information myself.

But to proceed, with regard to the books you may have recourse to. The first great magazine of information which


may be mentioned is, the Remembrancer, a work of twenty volumes, comprehending all the documents relative to the American contest that could be collected at the time by a London bookseller, Almon. Almon, however, was an opposition bookseller; the Remembrancer therefore remembers chiefly such letters, speeches, and publications as serve to display the injustice of the designs, and the folly of the councils of Great Britain.

The whole must be examined thoroughly by all who are to write upon the subject of the American war; but as there is an index of contents, I would rather advise the student to have recourse to the work, when other works have been considered, and when he has become a judge of what is or is not important. What he should look for is, such local and appropriate information from America as cannot find a place in the regular histories he reads. The first volume, containing what are called prior documents, from 1764 to 1775, should be exainined : though most of them will have occurred in other places, there are some that would not readily be met with elsewhere. The earlier parts of a contest are always the most instructive.

The history of Gordon, in four thick octavo volumes, will, in like manner, be consulted with best effect, when other accounts have been perused. The author appears to have had access to good sources of information ; and the work is an immense assemblage of facts presented to the reader with little or no comment, and with great impartiality. In this instance, as in the former, I would advise you to select from the index such parts as may be important, and you will sometimes be rewarded, though you will often think the account given very short and inadequate to its subject. The first volume is the most curious, as entering more minutely into all the views and reasonings of the American patriots ; into all the local politics, contests with the governors, and petty but serious irritations which took place in America prior to the commencement of hostilities. The work, too, is valuable as confirming, by its simple and plain statements, the conclusions which would be drawn from other and better histories respecting very important points--the distresses of Washington, the injurious effects of the depreciation of the paper money, the vain attempts of congress to encounter them by the operation of laws, &c. &c. On the whole, Gordon's appears to me a history that has been made much use of, though it is in fact superseded by the superior and more concise history of Ramsay.

Jefferson's History of Virginia is always rei nmended, but it is merely what might be expected from its tits and is little to our present purpose.

Morse's Geography will supply you with infoi. tion respecting the particular states of America, their histo.. , more appropriate advantages, and separate constitutions. It is a common book, and will be of use.

Franklin's works will be found very entertaining and instructive, particularly part of his life, written by himself, and every thing that relates to America and the subjects of political economy: e. g. his letters to Governor Shirley, which contain the first predictions on the subject of American taxation, so early as 1754; and a remarkable paper, printed in January, 1768, where the American case is calmly and well stated, much upon the same principles and in the same spirit with Burke's celebrated speeches ; and a letter not less reasonable, of an earlier date, and therefore more important, in January, 1766. This letter was intended to show that the Stamp Act should be repealed, &c. &c. Franklin's very remarkable examination, in February, 1766, before the British parliament, so creditable to him, may be found also in these volumes, with other curious documents, which I have not now time even to enumerate The powerful understanding of Franklin in the very peculiar circumstances of America, made him a person of such consequence, that every thing relating either to him or his publications becomes a subject of history. The editor of the present work intimates that writings of his have - been prevented from seeing the light by the management of particular persons in this country. Since I drew up these lectures, a quarto volume of his correspondence has been published; another is expected. It was agreeable to me to find that his entertaining and instructive letters, as far as our present subject was concerned, only confirmed what I had already written.

You will sometimes see the work of Chalmers referred to. It is an immense, heavy, tedious book, to explain the legal history of the different colonies of America. It should be consulted on all such points. It goes down to the Revolution of 1688. But it is impossible to read it. The leaves, however, should be turned over, for curious particulars often occur, and the nature of the first settlement and original laws of each colony should be known. The last chapter, îndeed, ought to be read.

The right to tax the colonies became a great point of dispute. Chalmers means to show that the sovereignty of the British parliament existed over America, because the settlers, though emigrants, were still English subjects, and members of the empire.

Such are the books that may be consulted, as in themselves important, and connected with the general subject.

I now proceed to propose to you such a course of reading as may be gone through: first, on a larger scale; next, on a smaller.

In the first place, the debates in parliament may be looked at. Many important documents are there to be met with; and these, and some of the speeches of the celebrated men on each side of the house, should be read. The protest, for instance, in the lords, on the repeal of the Stamp Act, is the best statement I have seen of the views and reasonings of those who supported the system of American taxation.

Secondly, there is a History of the American War by Stedman. Stedman served in the British army during the



Thirdly, there is a history of the American contest by Dr. Ramsay, who was himself a member of congress.

Fourthly, some of the letters of Washington to congress were published.

Fifthly, a Life of Washington, by Marshal.

These I select as books that contain original information, and should be read.

From the pamphlets that have appeared, I select, in like manner, Paine's Common Sense, the tracts of Dean Tucker, two pamphlets by Robinson, afterwards Lord Rokeby, the speeches printed by Burke, and the pamphlet of Dr. Johnson, “Taxation no Tyranny.”

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