But the ambivalence was removed when Pitt and Isaac Barre sought to remove the phrase "in all cases whatsoever" to prevent it being used to justify taxes. They failed. Thus, when the Declaratory Act passed, most members of parliament were convinced they had declared their authority to levy taxes even though they had repealed a specific tax, the Stamp Tax.
But on what foundation could his declaratory act be based? He was supposed to have previously consulted the particular laws of as many foreign nations as was possible, and to have selected from among them those which were found to be held in common by a number of tribes.
As the British government were unable to enforce this Act, it was graciously repealed on the 22d of February, 1766, but coupled with the declaratory Act, that "the Legislature of Great Britain had authority to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever." On the 20th of November, 1767, the Act previously passed, imposing a duty of three pence per pound on tea, was to take effect.
But to affirm a resolution which is not thus brought by necessity before the House of Commons to affirm a resolution merely declaratory of an opinion, that is not the correct nor the regular course of proceeding in this House.
Calhoun introduced resolutions declaratory of international law on this point, and setting forth that England had no right to interfere with, or to permit, the escape of slaves from vessels driven into her ports. The resolutions were idle, because they could effect nothing, and mischievous because they represented that the sentiment of the Senate was in favor of protecting the slave-trade.
Unlike Britain, the changes in Virginia broadened political leadership to include the new elements which emerged during the Stamp Act debates, the Lee-Henry group. It also brought into power those who were less likely to be satisfied with political addresses and constitutional niceties should parliament pass into law the powers it claimed in the Declaratory Act.
But it served also as a public declaration of the difference which severed the Whigs from the Great Commoner. In a full house Pitt found but two supporters in his fierce attack upon the declaratory bill, which was supported by Burke in a speech which at once gave him rank as an orator; while Pitt's lieutenant, Shelburne, found but four supporters in a similar attack in the Lords.
The Declaratory Act of 1766 brought clearly into comparison the political system of America, as opposed to the political system of Europe.
About 1743 some stir began to be aroused by a succession of statements published by Charles Lucas, a Dublin apothecary, in the Freeman's Journal, a newspaper started by him, and in which he vehemently denounced the venality of Parliament, and loudly asserted the inherent right of Ireland to govern itself, a right of which it had only been formally deprived by the Declaratory Act of George I . So unequivocal was his language that the grand jury of Dublin at last gave orders for his addresses to be burnt, and in 1749 a warrant was issued for his apprehension, whereupon he fled to England, and did not return until many years later, when he was at once elected member for Dublin.
A foul mouth and unclean hands are certain marks of vulgarity; the first is the cause of an offensive breath, which nobody can bear, and the last is declaratory of dirty work; one may always know a gentleman by the state of his hands and nails.