When I contemplate these things[ The Industries of the Colonists.]; when I know that the colonies in general owe little or nothing to any care of ours, and that they are not squeezed into this happy form by the constraints of watchful and suspicious government, but that, through a wise and salutary neglect, a generous nature has been suffered to take her own way to protection; when I reflect upon these effects, when I see how profitable they have been to us, I feel all the pride of power sink and all presumption in the wisdom of human contrivances melt and die away within me. My rigour relents. I pardon something to the spirit of liberty.— Conciliation (II. 183).
Let me add that I do not choose wholly to break the American spirit; because it is the spirit that has made the country.— Conciliation (II. 184).
But if it had this effect, I confess that I should prefer independency without war to independency with it; and I have so much trust in the inclinations and prejudices of mankind, and so little in anything else, that I should expect ten times more benefit to this kingdom from the affection of America, though under a separate establishment, than from her perfect submission to the crown and parliament, accompanied with her terror, disgust, and abhorrence. Bodies tied together by so unnatural a bond of union as mutual hatred are only connected to their ruin.— Letter to Sheriffs (II. 280).
For be fully assured that, of all the phantoms that ever deluded the fond hopes of a credulous world, a parliamentary revenue in the colonies is the most perfectly chimerical.— Letter to Sheriffs (II. 281).
On this business of America I confess I am serious, even to sadness. I have had but one opinion concerning it since I sat, and before I sat, in parliament. The noble lord will, as usual, probably, attribute the part taken by me and my friends in this business to a desire of getting his places. Let him enjoy this happy and original idea. If I deprived him of it, I should take away most of his wit and all his argument. But I had rather bear the brunt of all his wit, and indeed blows much heavier, than stand answerable to God for embracing a system that tends to the destruction of some of the very best and fairest of His works. But I know the map of England, as well as the noble lord, or as any other person; and I know that the way I take is not the road to preferment. — American Taxation (II. 152).
They augur misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.— Conciliation (II. 190).
My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron.— Conciliation (II. 234).