THE ELLIOTS are a family of great antiquity in the south of Scotland, where the chicfs of the race were never known in a condition inferior to that of military tenants of the crown, or of the Douglasses, Humes, or Scotts. There are two principal branches of the family; the Elliots of Minto, and the Elliots of Stobbs. The celebrated Elliot who fought and conquered Thurot, a younger brother of one of these families, died not many years since, an old admiral. Lord Heathfield, the famous defender of Gibraltar, was another ornament of the same race and name. Nor are there wanting among the persons who have merited distinction, in the last century, a number of others who do honour to the same descent.

Lord Minto is the third in an unbroken succession of great statesinen, who have been at the head of the family of which he is now the principal representative. His grandfather, Sir Gilbert Elliot, was a judge in the supreme courts of justice civil and criminal, in Scotland. He was distinguished for the rectitude of his decisions, and for the erudition, strength, and acuteness of his law arguments. The affections of the Scots were, in his timc, still divided between the exiled Stuarts and the house of Hanover; and, in this situation of affairs, his loyalty and wisdom were eminently proved in the support of the revolution and union settlements, and in his vigilance to defeat every hope of the Jacobites. His son also, Sir Gilbert Elliot, dedicating his talents wholly to the service of his country in parliamentary and political employments, attained to conspicuous distinction as an orator in the House of Commons, and held, at different times, high secondary offices in administration. He was, in the year 1763, treasurer of the chamber in England, and had obtained the reversion of the office of keeper of the signet in Scotland. As a Scotsman enjoying such appointments, he fell under the satire of Wilkes, in the famous North Briton. But, so pure and so truly respectable was his character, that the satirist could find no topic of rcproach to use against him, but that he was a Scotsman, in the administration, and received soine cmo. luinents for his services,

His son, now Lord Minto, was born April 23, 1751. His carly education was domestic. And as the connections and views of his family created, even then, a probability that he might, in manhood, be engaged in public life, chiefly on the great theatre of affairs in England; he was, therefore, put to follow out the higher courses of instruction at an English free school, and an English university. It is desireable, that every British gentleman should, as was anciently usual for every eminent citizen of Rome, join to the advantages of a civil and literary, those also of a military education. Mr. Elliot, probably in conisideration of this, was at an early age enrolled in the army, and even promoted to the rank of captain, befure he was much more than ten years old. To complcte his education, as he was advancing to mature



manhood, he visited those parts of the continent, over which it is commonly thought fit, that our young men of fortune should travel before they engage in business or settle in the world, in order that they may acquire a due personal knowledge of the general state of European life and policy.

In the year 1774, he was elected into the British House of Commons. The era was important, critical, big with great events.

The colonies of Great Britain in North America, had, for their founders, men, whose ambition of uncontrouled adventure preferred all difficulties and dangers, to the humility of living at home in quiet submission to the laws, and in the common forms of English life, Persons, who, making religion the supreme rule both of civil and political life, and owning in religion, no earthly, no visible, superior guides, were therefore, republican and democratical in their notions of government, became the second class of colonists that went to occupy those regions. They were followed by Roman Catholics, escaping from persecution that provoked their minds almost to a puritan's spirit of freedom, even in spite of the religious priuciples to which they cherished an attachment. To these were added, from time to time, numbers of the guilty and the miserable, driven into exile by the criminal justice of their country, by puverty, or by a restlessness the fruit of disappointment and sorrow. Justermingled with the colonists of British and Irish descent, were many foreigners, aliens to the British name, and, though taking refuge


under the protection of our government, not apt to contract habits of submissive attachment to its autho. rity. This mixed assemblage of colonists long continued to feel their dependence on the mother country, scarcely in any other way than by the benefits which it conferred on them. No authority was exercised over the colonies, save what was absolutely necessary to preserve them in the order requisite to the security of domestic life, and to protect them from the injuries of the foreign tribes and nations surrounding their territory. No taxes were imposed but those which they themselves levied for the small unavoidable expenditure of their internal government. Britain derived from their existence, no pecuniary emoluments but those which arose from the monopoly of their commerce,-emoluments which were much more than compensated by the quantity of British capital that was, from time to time, transferred to America, and there permanently fixed in buildings, trading-establishments, and agricultural improvements. From a dependence so advantageous, even those of the colonists who were the most indifferent to the welfare of the mother-country could have small temptation to break off. Yet, while the population of the colonies became more numerous, and their political strength more distinct and vigotous, they began, by degrees, to give intimations of a hope, that their obedience to British jurisdiction should not be perpetual. In the war of 1756, they felt their own strength, and evinced their importance in the military exertions of the mother country. But,


the same appearances which erected the minds of the colonists to the ambition of independence, excited the British Government to attempt to confirm over them its power by a more vigorous exercise of it, and to draw from them a new taxation, applicable not to their own immediate governinent only, but to the general expenditure of the whole state. The imposition of an internal tax, to be levied under the authority of a stamp-ali, gave the first decisive indica. tion of these new intentions respeding the colonies. It might be unjust, upon that natural principle, which forbids governments to extort, in any mode of taxation, from their subjects, more than is, in reason, necessary for the expences of the administration : It might be incxpedient, as likely to create dissension and civil war at a time when we should rather have strengthened ourselves, by closer domestic union, against our foreign enemies : But, by the charters of the colonies, by the constitutional laws of the British empire, by the state of the accustomed exercise of the power of the general legislature, it was, undoubtedly, so far and so clearly lawful, that it violated no right of convention which the colonies then possessed. Yet, partly by questioning the right of the mothercountry to impose such an internal tax, and in part by complaining of evils peculiarly attending this instance of the exercise of that right; adding, at the same time, to complaint and argument, the keenest threats of resistance; the colonists prevailed with a ministry, infirm in power and uncertain in counsch, to rescind the obnoxious act. The repeal of that act


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