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observed, that it was the object of government to enslave America, and to exercise a degree of tyranny over that extensive continent, entirely repugnant to the spirit of the British constitution, and directly opposite to every idea of liberty which could possibly be entertained by a free people. That this object was sometimes prosecuted with unremitting rigour, sometimes with a sort of relaxation; but that the latter was obviously meant to enable those who directed the design to renew their attempt to enslave America with more violence, and with a better prospect of success. That conscious of the influence of administration, and convinced that it would be in vain to oppose their measures, he had for one whole session absented himself from parliament. Aware, however, from the first, that the attempt to deprive America of her freedom might terminate in the ruin of Great Britain, when he found such measures adopted as tended to accelerate that ruin, he thought it his duty to make one effort to let the people see their danger, and to judge for themselves of the wisdom or the wickedness of those who had loaded the nation with so heavy a calamity as the American war. The very idea of forcing America back to subjection, and conquering the thirteen provinces, was so absurd, that the eyes of all Europe had been provoked to regard the attempt as impossible. To carry on a war at such a distance as America was situated from Britain, to transport an army of 40,000 men across so extensive a sea as the Atlantic, and to suppose it possible to victual that army by sending it provisions from Europe, was, considered altogether, a project unparalleled in history, and so improbable to be successfully practised, that every nation, in the least conversant with the art of war, confessed their admiration of the lunatic scheme. He begged their lordships to consider, that the acts of madmen created admiration, as well as the acts of the sensible. It was as natural to wonder, that any man should dare attempt what was highly probable to end in his ruin, as it was to be surprized at those bold efforts which nothing but the most solid judgment could dictate. His grace said, he had joined in the admiration confessed by all the world, and finding (as he had with others supposed) that the attempt to conquer Ame. rica would fail, he had thought it necessary to move an enquiry into the state of the nation, that their lordships might, if
possible, adopt such measures as were likely to avert the ruin which threatened the kingdom. The enquiry, the duke declared, had been of singular advantage to the nation; and he was exceedingly happy to find that it had met with universal approbation. Another circumstance which gave him great pleasure was, that the conduct of it had been approved of by their lordships, who had in no one instance expressed their dislike of the manner of agitating the various questions introduced either by other lords, or which he had the honour to open to the committee; the only objections made to either, amounting, not to a denial of the resolutions of fact offered to their consideration, but merely to an argument of the inexpediency of carrying such resolutions at that particular time. Having premised this, his grace recapitulated the various parts of the enulry.
After dwelling on every point which had
been agitated, and shewing that it was of
the utmost importance for the nation to
beware of its danger, and to know that the war, if finished immediately, had cost them 24 millions, and if continued one year longer, must necessarily cost them nine millions more, his grace said, he thought the propositions authorised to be sent out to America, under the last acts, and which had been a year or two since made without effect, would now prove a fruitless endeavour to conciliate the two countries, although various opportunities had offered themselves when terms might have been proposed with success. He closed with urging their lordships to save the loss of more lives, deeming it the first duty of humanity, and producing the copy of an Address to his Majesty, which he thought the present situation of affairs warranted; he begged, however, that it might not be argued against it, that it drew conclusions without premises, be
cause the resolutions offered to the com
mittee would have been the premises, had they been allowed to have been carried. Having premised that the Address was necessarily long, the duke read it to the committee, as follows: “That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to inform his Majesty, that in the serious situation in which we found public affairs at the opening of this session of parliament, this House thought it an indispensible duty to take into consideration the State of the Nation. “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 Ame. disadvantages 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, too! « 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 parlia. possible 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 victu“ 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 Eng. obtain 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, consisted altogether of no more than 36,731 men fit for duty, officers included. “That to recruit this army to what it was last year, will require a reinforcement of at least 11,885 regular old troops. “That the numbers in old corps in Great Britain, Ireland, Gibraltar and Minorca, together with the new levies which are raising, appear to us on a full examination of all the various services, to be such as not to render it in any degree prudent or safe to remove any part of the said troops to America, at a time when so great a part of our land and sea force is already in that remote part of the world, at too great a distance to assist this country in case of a sudden emergency. “That it appeared that the navy in North America would also want a very great reinforcement of ships and men. “That from this view of things, we are led to conclude, that if the whole force in North America (which for these last two years has been so greatly superior to what there seems to be any possibility of making it in the course of this year) has made so little impression towards the reduction of the provinces by arms, at a time when they were very deficient in military preparations of all sorts, had neither money, arms, ammunition, magazines, clothing, discipline or government, when the assistance they might receive from foreign nations was far less than it has been since, and is likely to be in future, by the avowed part which France has taken; it is not reasonable to suppose that they may now be reduced by a force, which we cannot make even equal to that which has failed, under circumstances in every respect more favourable. “That with regard to our naval strength in Europe, it appears that far from being in that respectable condition, which it has often been officially represented by the first lord of the Admiralty in the course of this session, that essential part of our strength is no ways answerable to the vast sums expended on it, or to the various and extensive services which it may be called very shortly to fulfil. “That the value of the captures made by the Americans on the merchants of Great Britain, amount to upwards of 2,600,000l. “That the African trade is almost annihilated, haviag suffered a diminution of no less than 1,400,000l. per annum. “That the West-India islands are much
distressed, and that the great increased price of many essential articles of trade, and particularly of naval stores and insurance, are such a burthen on the commerce of this kingdom, as must greatly affect its prosperity. “That the expences o. account of this war, over and above the ordinary high expence of a peace establishment, as it has been voted of late years, would, with the extraordinary charges not yet provided for, amount to near 24 millions, if peace was instantly concluded; but if the American war alone is continued only for one campaign more, the additional expence will probably amount to nine millions, making in all 33 millions expended in this contest. Such an increase of debt, the interest of which is equal to the net produce of the land tax at 3s. in the pound, added to our former burthens, will, we fear, with our diminished trade, be difficult for this country to support with national faith. “That we have made some enquiry into the manner in which certain parts of this enormous expenditure have been conducted, and we are sorry to find that the mode of contracting and engaging for the transports and supplies of the army has been unusual and prodigal, and such as affords ground for suspicion of corrupt management. “That the state of public credit is truly alarming; the small decrease of the national debt, amounting scarcely to ten millions in the course of 15 years of peace, bears no proportion to the vast increase in times of war: it requires no calculations to prove that a debt, continually augmenting, must end in a manner we are unwilling to think on. The national debt has increased 100 millions in the memory of many of us; the natural period and inevitable consequence of this system appears to be at hand. As one principal foundation of credit is a confidence in government, we have much to apprehend under ministers who have justly forfeited the good opinion of the nation ; the want of confidence complicated with the effects of this enormous, and enormously growing debt, appears from the low state of the public funds, and from the discredit of the new loan, which sells considerably under par, although the terms given this year for six millions, are higher than those which were given for 12 millions in 1761, in the seventh year of a war with the House of Bourbon, and although we have hitherto had no foreign war whatsoever.
“That from this melancholy state of facts, we see it impossible to carry on the present system of reducing America by force of arms. “That we conceive this impossibility not to have arisen from the accidents of this war, but to result from the very course of nature; to be the necessary consequence of an attempt to reduce to servitude a numerous people united in the defence of their liberties, in a distant, extensive and strong country. “That we conceive that his Majesty and the parliament could not have been induced to prosecute so fatal a war, but from being misled in the information they received of the disposition of the people in America, of their disunion, and of the possibility of reducing them by force of arms to unconditional submission, and to the acknowledgment of the supreme authority of parliament, before a complaint even of just grievances should be listened to. “That it was the peculiar duty of his
Majesty's ministers to procure correct in
formation on matters of such high importance, and to have laid the whole of such information before his Majesty, and before parliament, previous to their proposing such steps as have led us into our present calamitous situation. “That we cannot but lament that when ropositions of a similar nature to those ately proposed and enacted, were three ears ago repeatedly offered to parliament in both Houses, his Majesty’s ministers, the very men who nowhave advised greater concessions, did, upon delusive arguments and false representations, prevail on parliament to reject those propositions at a time - when they would probably have been successful, and might have prevented the prodigal, and, we fear, fruitless waste of so much treasure, and still more to be lamented effusion of so much blood. “That, under these circumstances, we can give his Majesty no other advice than instantly to withdraw his fleets and armies from the thirteen revolted provinces, where they are decaying and wasting, where they subsist with difficulty, cost immense sums of money, can answer no good purpose, particularly at this time when they are much wanted for our security at home; to effectuate conciliation with the colonies on such terms as may preserve their goodwill, on the preservation of which the future greatness of this nation may, in a great measure, depend.
“That the armaments long since preparing in the ports of France and Spain, and the late declaration of the French ambassador, although natural, are melancholy consequences of the measures which have been pursued, and make it indispensably necessary to view our situation in a new light: that we are no longer to consider ourselves as contending solely for dominion over others; we are to look to our own safety; we are to rescue, if possible, what remains of this empire, from the further effects of those measures by which it has been reduced to its actual limits. And as we apprehend that the present calamities have arisen in a great degree from the degeneracy of the times, and a departure from the true principles and spirit of our constitution, it would be highly expedient to endeavour at some sober well-digested plan of public reformation, in order to restore the ancient morals, and revive the original character of this nation.
“That we think it our duty on offering to his Majesty this unhappy but true representation of the state of his dominions, to express our indignation at the conduct of his Majesty’s ministers, who have caused it; who, by abusing his confidence, have tarnished the lustre of his crown; who, by their unfortunate counsels, have dismembered his empire, wasted the public treasures, sunk the public credit, impaired the commerce of his kingdoms, disgraced his Majesty's arms, and weakened his naval power, the pride and bulwark of this nation; whilst, by delaying to reconcile the differences which they had excited amongst his people, they have suffered an alliance to take place between the former subjects and the antient rivals of Great Britain, and have neither taken measures to prevent, nor formed alliances to counteract so fatal an union.
“That in this calamitous, although they trust not desperate situation of public . fairs, this House reposes its ultimate hope in his Majesty's paternal goodness: that we have no doubt that he will look back to the principles, both political and constitutional, which gave rise to the Revolution from whence we have derived the happiness of being governed by princes of É. illustrious House: that he will reflect on the examples of his predecessors from that auspicious period, during which the prosperity, the opulence, the power, the territory, and the renown of his throne and nation, have flourished and increased beond all example: that he will particuarly call to mind the circumstances of his accession to the crown, when he took possession of an inheritance so full of glory, and of the trust of preserving it in all its lustre: that, deeply affected with these considerations, he will be graciously pleased to put an end to a system too well understood in its nature, and too sorely felt in its effects, which by the arts of wicked men has prevailed in #. court and administration, and which, if suffered to continue, will complete the miseries which it has begun, and leave nothing in this country which can do honour to his government, or make the name of an Englishman a matter of that pride and distinction in which his Majesty and his subjects had so much reason to glory in former happy times.” Wiscount Weymouth opposed the Address. The greater part of it, he said, consisted of resolutions which had already been submitted to the opinion of their lordships, and had been rejected by a considerable majority; that the very same reasons operated for negativing these resolutions when thrown into the form of an address. The noble duke had said, that no one lord had denied the truth of each of the resolutions when urged, that therefore it was allowed on all sides that they were truisms; in this point he could not agree with the noble duke; it was true the resolutions were not controverted when offered, but it by no means followed that they were admitted as facts; before that could be done, it would have been necessary for their lordships to have investigated them with a much larger share of care and time than they had bestowed on them; that, in fact, they were deemed inexpedient to be agreed to, even if they had been well founded, and therefore their real foundation in fact, had not been considered, and consequently it was not to be presumed that their lordships were convinced of their being true. The prayer of the Address was of two parts; the one desiring his Majesty to withdraw the troops and fleet from America; the other desiring his Majesty to dismiss his ministry. Both of these points had before been agitated and rejected, by the previous question having been moved upon them, and carried. With regard to the first, the same arguments were still in force as had been urged against it before, namely, the impolicy of the measure, and the improbability that Auerica would treat about
terms of conciliation, when this country had, by an act of her own, given her to understand, that we despaired of conquest. Another reason, which now very powerfully spoke against it was, our situation with France; a situation which rendered the smallest hint of our consciousness of being incapable of resisting an attack highly imprudent; and as there was not any real occasion to suppose ourselves in so defenceless a state as the noble duke had alleged, it was still more imprudent to give room for any such suspicion. Besides, it was one of the first prerogatives of the crown, to have the disposing and directing of the naval and military force of the kingdom; but if their lordships should agree to the Address, it would deeply affect the acknowledged right the King has over his fleets and armies, and of course be a direct invasion of the executive power. .
With regard to the other object of the prayer, the dismission of the ministry; it might be thought rather indelicate for him, who was in some measure a party concerned, to speak to it; as those, however, who knew him, he trusted would believe him, when he declared, his employment was the last object of his consideration, he should not hesitate to repeat that it would be an act of violent injustice, to convey to the King so severe a censure upon his servants, before they had been heard speak in their defence. He added, that it was the King’s prerogative to appoint his own servants; that if they were guilty of any misconduct, they were open to public inquiry; and if convicted upon competent proof were certainly objects of parliamentary complaint, and of parliamentary prayer for removal. It had been said, did ministers consider their places as their freeholds 2 Did they hold them as a matter of right? Did they deem their dismission from employment a punishment? Certainl no. The King, who honoured them . his commands, could, whenever he pleased, dispense with their services; and when his Majesty thought proper to do so, no one member of administration would think himself punished.
The Earl of Chatham rose:
His lordship began by lamentin that his bodily infirmities had so long, an especially at so important a crisis, prevented his attendance on the duties of parliament. He declared that he had made an
effort almost beyond the powers of his