The Corner

The Americans

William Pitt (‘the elder’), Earl of Chatham, speaking to the House of Lords, June 17th 1774:

“If we take a transient view of those motives which induced the ancestors of our fellow-subjects, in America, to leave their native country to encounter the innumerable difficulties of the unexplored regions of the western world, our astonishment at the present conduct of their descendants will naturally subside. There was no corner of the world into which men of their free and enterprizing turn would not fly, with alacrity, rather than submit to the slavish and tyrannical principles which prevailed, at that period, in their native country.

“And shall we wonder, my Lords, if the descendants of such illustrious characters spurn, with contempt, the hand of unconstitutional power, that would snatch from them such dear bought privileges as they now contend for? Had the British colonies been planted by any other kingdoms than our own, the inhabitants would have carried with them the chains of slavery, and the spirit of despotism; but as they are, they ought to be remembered as great influences to instruct the world, to what a stretch of liberty mankind will naturally attain, when they are left to the free exercise of themselves.”

He got it.


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