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the State of the Nation [1012 standing, and the same difficulty would was of a great extent, and took in the recur. For suppose commissioners should West India islands ; it was consequently be authorised to assure the Congress, that improper to bring it at this crisis before the Declaratory Act would be repealed, the House. what possible security could the Congress Mr. Greaves moved that the debate be have for the performance, parliament being adjourned for two months. still at liberty to dissent, though America Mr. Burke spoke much at length to the should agree to conciliate ? He then question, and with much applause from moved, “That an Act of the 6th of the the greater part on both sides of the present King, intituled, "An Act for the House. The tendency of his speech was
better securing the dependency of his to prove that the Act, as an abstract pro• Majesty's dominions in America, upon position of law, was wise at the time it was • the crown and parliament of Great Bri- made. That it produced great advantage, • tain,' might be read.” It was read. He at that time, to the measures for healing then moved, “ That leave be given to the differences with America; and that it bring in a Bill to repeal the said Act.” produced no ill effect. That the House
Sir G. Yonge seconded the motion, had already formally renounced the obwhich was likewise supported by Mr. noxious power in question, which was supPowys.
posed to be involved in that Act; and that, Sir Cecil Wray. I give my vote for the therefore, this repeal would be only for question under a sincere conviction, that parliament to give itself the lie, for no the declaration contained in the Act is so manner of purpose. far from being true, that the very reverse The motion of adjournment was then of it is so, and that the parliament of Great agreed to. Britain has no power to pass laws binding America in any case whatsoever. When DEBATE ON THE DUKE OF Rich. America was first settled, the whole right mond's Motion FOR AN ADDRESS TO to conquest, discovery, and division of the King UPON THE STATE OF lands was in the King; it was in his power Nation_SUDDEN ILLNESS to grant them to any body, and on any EARL OF CHATHAM.] April 7. The condition. This power he used in Ame- House being in a Committee on the State rica, in all cases without and in some of the Nation, against the consent of parliament, who The Duke of Richmond rose, and prenever indeed supposed that such feudal ceded the grounds of his intended motion rights were vested in them. At what time with desiring, that if any noble lord had the King gave up or parliament usurped any proposition to offer to the committee, these rights, is not now my business to in- he would then move it, as his intention quire ; but I must maintain that unless was, in case no other peer gave an intiAmerica had consented to such a cession, mation of his wishing to prosecute the inAmerica is not bound by it, but her rights quiry into the state of the nation further, remain the same as when first established to close it, by offering to their lordships by her charters. A late decision in the consideration an Address to his Majesty, King's-bench fully establishes this doc-founded upon what their lordships had trine. The King may lay any impositions come to the knowledge of, in the course on a conquered country by his own autho- of the committee's sitting No lord anrity, till he has by proclamation or other- swering, his grace said, he had to thank wise given up that power by establishing the House for the great candour with another. Had I thought this Act decla- which he had been heard in the progress ratory of the real power of parliament, 1 of the inquiry, and to give his reasons for should have voted for the repeal of the winding up the whole by such an Address obnoxious Acts, on the idea of their in- as he had mentioned. He said the inquiry expediency; but thinking as I do, that the was highly necessary, as it had produced a parliament of Great Britain has no power circumstantial recital of very interesting io pass laws binding America in any case information; and after shewing the benewhatsoever, I shall certainly vote for the ficial consequences which the nation had motion.
reaped from their lordships having so paLord North thought the subject of much tiently and properly attended to the various too delicate a nature to be agitated at that parts of it which had been agitated, urged time; he would therefore be glad that it the propriety of closing it at present, might not be debated : indeed, the Act The Duke said, he had for a long time
observed, that it was the object of govern- possible, adopt such measures as were ment to enslave America, and to exercise likely to avert the ruin which threatened a degree of tyranny over that extensive the kingdom. The enquiry, the duke decontinent, entirely repugnant to the spirit clared, had been of singular advantage to of the British constitution, and directly the nation; and he was exceedingly happy opposite to every idea of liberty which to find that it had met with universal apcould possibly be entertained by a free probation. Another circumstance which people. That this object was sometimes gave him great pleasure was, that the conprosecuted with unremitting rigour, some- duct of it had been approved of by their times with a sort of relaxation; but that lordships, who had in no one instance exthe latter was obviously meant to enable pressed their dislike of the manner of those who directed the design to renew agitating the various questions introduced their attempt to enslave America with either by other lords, or which he had the more violence, and with a better prospect honour to open to the committee; the of success. That conscious of the in- only objections made to either, amounting, fluence of administration, and convinced not to a denial of the resolutions of fact that it would be in vain to oppose their offered to their consideration, but merely measures, he had for one whole session to an argument of the inexpediency of absented himself from parliament. Aware, carrying such resolutions at that particular however, from the first, that the attempt time. Having premised this, his grace to deprive America of her freedom might recapitulated the various parts of the enterminate in the ruin of Great Britain, quiry. when he found such measures adopted as After dwelling on every point which had tended to accelerate that ruin, he thought been agitated, and shewing that it was of it his duty to make one effort to let the the utmost importance for the nation to people see their danger, and to judge for beware of its danger, and to know that the themselves of the wisdom or the wicked- war, if finished immediately, had cost ness of those who had loaded the nation them 24 millions, and if continued one with so heavy a calamity as the American year longer, must necessarily cost them war. The very idea of forcing America nine millions more, his grace said, he back to subjection, and conquering the thought the propositions authorised to be thirteen provinces, was so absurd, that the sent out to America, under the last acts, eyes of all Europe had been provoked to and which had been a year or two since regard the attempt as impossible. To made without effect, would now prove a carry on a war at such a distance as Ame- fruitless endeavour to conciliate the two rica was situated from Britain, to transport countries, although various opportunities an army of 40,000 men across so extensive had offered themselves when terms might a sea as the Atlantic, and to suppose it have been proposed with success. He possible to victual that army by sending closed with urging their lordships to save it provisions from Europe, was, considered the loss of more lives, deeming it the first altogether, a project unparalleled in his duty of humanity, and producing the copy tory, and so improbable to be successfully of an Address to his Majesty, which he practised, that every nation, in the least thought the present situation of affairs conversant with the art of war, confessed warranted; he begged, however, that it their admiration of the lunatic scheme. might not be argued against it, that it He begged their lordships to consider, drew conclusions without premises, bethat the acts of madmen created admira- cause the resolutions offered to the comtion, as well as the acts of the sensible. mittee would have been the premises, had It was as natural to wonder, that any man they been allowed to have been carried. should dare attempt what was highly pro. Having premised that the Address was bable to end in his ruin, as it was to be necessarily long, the duke read it to the surprized at those bold efforts which no- committee, as follows: thing but the most solid judgment could “ That an humble Address be presented dictate. His grace said, he had joined in to his Majesty, to inform his Majesty, that the admiration confessed by all the world, in the serious situation in which we found and finding (as he had with others sup- public affairs at the opening of this session posed) that the attempt to conquer Ame- of parliament, this House thought it an rica would fail, he had thought it neces- indispensible duty to take into considerasary to move an enquiry into the state of tion the State of the Nation. the nation, that their lordships might, if “ That we have examined in a com.
mittee of the whole House, a great number “ That as it is our peculiar province to of returns, accounts, and papers, respect- watch over the conduct of his Majesty's ing the forces both by land and sea, which ministers, and to lay before his Majesty have been employed in North America such salutary opinions as the exigency of during the three years respectively that affairs may require, we are necessitated to the present civil war has continued. offer his Majesty the following dutiful re
“That we have also enquired into the presentation resulting from facts, as they number of lives which have been lost in have appeared to us in this great enquiry. this unhappy contest.
“ That according to the returns laid be“« That we have considered the advan. fore this House, the effective numbers of tages which have been gained, and the his Majesty's land forces in North Amedisadvantages which have been suffered rica in 1774, consisted of 6,884 men; in by his Majesty's armies, and those of his 1775, of 11,219 men ; in 1776, of 45,865 allies; the progress which has been made, men ; in 1777, of 48,616 men. and what yet remains to be done, to- “ That these forces had the assistance wards reducing by force of arms the thir- of a very great and well appointed train of teen revolted provinces in North America. artillery.
“ That we have further considered the “ That in the course of the said years, present state of his Majesty's forces in there were employed no less than 83 men that part of the world; how far they are of war and armed vessels, whose compledeficient from what they were in the course ment of men amounted to 22,337. of the last campaign; and how it may be " That no grants were spared by parliapossible to render them adequate to the ment to enable his Majesty's ministers to reduction of the colonies by force of arms. render these armaments as complete and
“ That we have informed ourselves of effectual as possible; and certainly this the number of old corps, and of their country never sent out a greater or more strength, which are left in Great Britain, respectable force. Ireland, Gibraltar, Minorca, and the West « But great and respectable as it was, Indies, for the security of these several yet after three years trial and various parts of the empire.
successes (among which have been victo“ That we have also weighed the re- ries obtained by his Majesty's troops over sources which may be expected from the the chief American army) the acquisitions new levies his Majesty has thought proper we have made consist only in two open to direct; how far it may be safe to spare towns, difficult to be maintained, and a any more of the old corps, or how far the few islands on the coast, while all the connew levies, as yet only raising, can be a tinental parts of Rhode Island, New York, recruit for the arıny in North America. Pensylvania, and the whole provinces of
“ That we have given much attention New Hampshire, Massachusets Bay, Conto the state of the navy, at all times the necticut, the three counties on Delaware, great bulwark of defence for these king- Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South doms, but particularly so while so great a Carolina and Georgia, still remain to be part of our land forces, and those of our subdued. allies, are on the other side of the Atlantic. « That there have been sent from Great
“ That we have examined respectable Britain upwards of 60,000 land forces, and merchants upon oath, as to the losses sus- 22,000 seamen. tained by the people of Great Britain from • That the loss of men, by death, decaptures made by the Americans, and sertion or otherwise, in North America, touching the effects which the present war according to the last returns laid before has upon the commerce of this kingdom. this House, had, in the land forces,
“ That we have considered the ex- amounted to 19,381, besides 5,336 pripences already incurred, and those which soners ; and that there were at that time necessarily attend the further prosecution 4,639 sick. of this war.
“ That the loss in the navy appeared to “ To assure his Majesty, that in the in- have been 4,314 men; so that there had vestigation of these various, great, and ex. been already lost to this country at the tensive objects, we have spared no pains to time when those returns were sent to Engobtain just and true information ; that our land, no less than 29,031 men, exclusive enquiries have been conducted with that of the sick. temper and fairness, which is most likely “ That it appeared that the remains of to obtain truth, to produce wise counsel, the army divided in Philadelphia, New and to give weight to our opinions.
York, Rhode Island and Canada, con- distressed, and that the great increased sisted altogether of no more than 36,731 | price of many essential articles of trade, men fit for duty, officers included. and particularly of naval stores and in
“ That to recruit this army to what it surance, are such a burthen on the comwas last year, will require a reinforcement merce of this kingdom, as must greatly of at least 11,885 regular old troops.
affect its prosperity. 6. That the numbers in old corps in “ That the expences on account of this Great Britain, Ireland, Gibraltar and Mi. war, over and above the ordinary high norca, together with the new levies which expence of a peace establishment, as it are raising, appear to us on a full exami- has been voted of late years, would, with nation of all the various services, to be the extraordinary charges not yet prosuch as not to render it in any degree pru- vided for, amount to near 24 millions, if dent or safe to remove any part of the said peace was instantly concluded; but if the troops to America, at a time when so great American war alone is continued only a part of our land and sea force is already for one campaign more, the additional exin that remote part of the world, at too pence will probably amount to nine milgreat a distance to assist this country in lions, making in all 33 millions expended case of a sudden emergency.
in this contest. Such an increase of debt, “ That it appeared that the navy in the interest of which is equal to the net North America would also want a very produce of the land tax at 3s. in the great reinforcement of ships and men. pound, added to our former burthens,
“ That from this view of things, we are will, we fear, with our diminished trade, led to conclude, that if the whole force in be difficult for this country to support with North America ( which for these last two national faith. years has been so greatly superior to what “ That we have made some enquiry there seems to be any possibility of making into the manner in which certain parts of it in the course of this year) has made so this enormous expenditure have been conlittle impression towards the reduction of ducted, and we are sorry to find that the the provinces by arms, at a time when mode of contracting and engaging for the they were very deficient in military prepa- transports and supplies of the army has rations of all sorts, had neither money, been unusual and prodigal, and such as arms, ammunition, magazines, clothing, affords ground for suspicion of. corrupt discipline or government, when the assis management. tance they might receive from foreign na- “ That the state of public credit is truly tions was far less than it has been since, alarming: the small decrease of the naand is likely to be in future, by the avowed tional debt, amounting scarcely to ten part which France has taken"; it is not millions in the course of 15 years of peace, reasonable to 'suppose that they may now bears no proportion to the vast increase in be reduced by a force, which we cannot times of war: it requires no calculations make even equal to that which has failed, to prove that a debt, continually augmentunder circumstances in every respect more ing, must end in a manner we are unwilling favourable.
to think on. The national debt has in" That with regard to our naval strength creased 100 millions in the memory of many in Europe, it appears that far from being of us; the natural period and inevitable in that respectable condition, which it has consequence of this system appears to be often been officially represented by the at hand. As one principal foundation of first lord of the Admiraliy in the course of credit is a confidence in government, we this session, that essential part of our have much to apprehend under ministers strength is no ways answerable to the vast who have justly forfeited the good opinion sums expended on it, or to the various of the nation ; the want of confidence comand extensive services which it may be plicated with the effects of this enormous, called very shortly to ful6l.
and enormously growing debt, appears “ That the value of the captures made from the low state of the public funds, by the Americans on the merchants of and from the discredit of the new loan, Great Britain, amount to upwards of which sells considerably under par, al2,600,0001.
though the terms given this year for six That the African trade is almost an- millions, are higher than those which were nihilated, haviag suffered a diminution of given for 12 millions in 1761, in the seventh 'no less than 1,400,0001. per annum. year
of a war with the House of Bourbon, “ Thas the Wesi-India islands are much and although we have hitherto had no fo.
reign war whatsoever.
“ That from this melancholy state of “ That the armaments long since prefacts, we see it impossible to carry on the paring in the ports of France and Spain, present system of reducing America by and the late declaration of the French force of arms.
ambassador, although natural, are melan“ That we conceive this impossibility choly consequences of the measures which not to have arisen from the accidents of have been pursued, and make it indispen. this war, but to result from the very course sably necessary to view our situation in a of nature; to be the necessary conse- new light : that we are no longer to conquence of an attempt to reduce to servi- sider ourselves as contending solely for tude a numerous people united in the de dominion over others; we are to look to fence of their liberties, in a distant, ex- our own safety; we are to rescue, if postensive and strong country.
sible, what remains of this empire, from “ That we conceive that his Majesty the further effects of those measures by and the parliament could not have been which it has been reduced to its actual induced to prosecute so fatal a war, but limits. And as we apprehend that the from being misled in the information they present calamities have arisen in a great received of the disposition of the people in degree from the degeneracy of the times, America, of their disunion, and of the pos- and a departure from the true principles sibility of reducing them by force of arms and spirit of our constitution, it would be • to unconditional submission, and to the highly expedient to endeavour at some
acknowledgment of the supreme autho- sober well-digested plan of public refor. rity of parliament, before a complaint mation, in order to restore the ancient even of just grievances should be listened morals, and revive the original character to.
of this nation. “ That it was the peculiar duty of his “ That we think it our duty on offering Majesty's ministers to procure correct in- to his Majesty this unhappy but true reformation on matters of such high impor- presentation of the state of his dominions, tance, and to have laid the whole of such to express our indignation at the conduct information before his Majesty, and before of his Majesty's ministers, who have caused parliament, previous to their proposing it; who, by abusing his confidence, have such steps as have led us into our present tarnished the lustre of his crown ; who, by calamitous situation.
their unfortunate counsels, have dismem. “ That we cannot but lament that when bered his empire, wasted the public treapropositions of a similar nature to those sures, sunk the public credit, impaired sately proposed and enacted, were three the commerce of his kingdoms, disgraced years ago repeatedly offered to parliament his Majesty's arms, and weakened his nain both Houses, his Majesty's ministers, val power, the pride and bulwark of this the very men who now have advised greater nation; whilst, by delaying to reconcile concessions, did, upon delusive arguments the differences which they had excited and false representations, prevail on par. amongst his people, they have suffered an liament to reject those propositions at a alliance to take place between the former time when they would probably have subjects and the antient rivals of Great been successful, and might have prevented Britain, and have neither taken measures the prodigal, and, we fear, fruitless waste to prevent, nor formed alliances to counof so much treasure, and still more to be teract so fatal an union. lamented effusion of so much blood.
“ That in this calamitous, although they “ That, under these circumstances, we trust not desperate situation of public af. can give his Majesty no other advice than fairs, this House reposes its ultimate hope instantly to withdraw his fleets and armies in his Majesty's paternal goodness: that from the thirteen revolted provinces, where we have no doubt that he will look back they are decaying and wasting, where to the principles, both political and constithey subsist with difficulty, cost immense tutional, which gave rise to the Revolution sums of money, can answer no good pur. from whence we have derived the happipose, particularly at this time when they ness of being governed by princes of his are much wanted for our security at home; illustrious House: that he will reflect on to effectuate conciliation with the colonies the examples of his predecessors from that on such terms as may preserve their good- auspicious period, during which the proswill, on the preservation of which the fu- perity, the opulence, the power, the territure greatness of this nation may, in a tory, and the renown of his throne and great measure, depend.
nation, have flourished and increased be