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constitution to come down to the House on this day (perhaps the last time he should ever be able to enter its walls) to express the indignation he felt at an idea which he understood was gone forth, of yielding up the sovereignty of America! My lords, continued he, I rejoice that the grave has not closed upon me; that I am still alive to lift up my voice against the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy | Pressed down as I am by the hand of infirmity, I am little able to assist my country in this most perilous conjuncture; but, my lords, while I have sense and memory, I will never consent to deprive the royal offspring of the House of Brunswick, the heirs of the princess Sophia, of their fairest inheritance. Where is the man that will dare to advise such a measure ? My lords, his Majesty succeeded to an empire as great in extent as its reputation was unsullied. Shall we tarnish the lustre of this nation by an ignominious surrender of its rights and fairest ossessions? Shall this great kingdom, that as survived whole and entire the Danish depredations, the Scottish inroads, and the Norman conquest ; that has stood the threatened invasion of the Spanish armada, now fall prostrate before the House of Bourbon 2 Surely, my lords, this nation is no longer what it was Shall a people that seventeen years ago was the terror of the world, now stoop so low as to tell its ancient inveterate enemy, take all we have, only give us peace It is impossible ! I wage war with no man, or set of men. I wish for none of their employments; nor would I co-operate with men who still persist in unretracted error; or who, instead of acting on a firm decisive line of conduct, halt between two opinions, where there is no middle path. In God’s name, if it is absolutely necessary to declare either for peace or war, and the former cannot be preserved with honour, why is not the latter commenced without hesitation ? I am not, I confess, well informed of the resources of this kingdom; but I trust it has still sufficient to maintain its just rights, though I know them not. But, my lords, any state is better than despair. Let us at least make one effort; and if we must fall, let us fall like men lo
[When his lordship sat down, earl Temple said to him, “You forgot to mention what we talked of—Shall I get up 2" Lord Chatham replied, “No, no, I will do it by and by.”] The Duke of Richmond said, the noble viscount (Weymouth) objected to the Address, because the matter contained in it has already received a negative; and because the facts, though not controverted, were not proved. The noble viscount must have totally forgot; for the propositions were not negatived, but postponed; the very mode of getting rid of them proved it. If they had been negatived, the noble viscount well knows that they could not be offered to your lordships’ consideration a second time, in the course of the same session. The truth is, my lords, that the propositions were acknowledged to be so many truisms, but not proper to be assented to ; because such an assent would contain a full parliamentary acknowledgment of the weak and defenceless state of the nation. The time is past when such an argument, if it ever deserved any attention, can avail. France has already declared her intentions; the facts are before the public. I might with great justice add, France knew them long before they were either known or acknowledged in this House. But, my lords, the true motive for postponing to resolve them at one time, or for not admitting them now, is come out. They were early foretold by a learned lord (Camden). He prophesied, that when the ultimate measure came to be pointed out, the House would have no premises to proceed on. The facts were, that such was the state of our army, navy, &c. that we could no longer carry on the war in America with any prospect of success; and that the present calamitous situation of this country was occasioned by the ignorance and misconduct of ministers. The first of these would be a foundation for withdrawing the troops; the last would be a sufficient ground for the removal of ministers. This was the prediction of the noble and learned lord; and such is the conduct of the noble viscount. Without
* The following Report of the Earl of Chatham's Speech upon this occasion, is taken from the London Magazine:
The Earl of Chatham followed lord Wey
facts the House could not come to a con
clusion. The last point, as to the matters of fact spoken to by the noble viscount,
mouth. He appeared to be extremely feeble, and spoke with that difficulty of utterance which is the characteristic of severe indisposition. His lordship began with declaring that his ill health had for some time obliged him to
exactly corresponds with the other. The contained in those documents was admitted, noble viscount tells you, that although the because it was not controverted?. facts were not controverted, they were by The noble viscount says, the prayer of no means admitted. I appeal to your lord- the proposed Address consists of two parts: ships whether this was or was not the case; it recommends that our fleets and armies and whether, in almost every instance, they be withdrawn from the towns and coasts of were not admitted as so many truisms? | the thirteen revolted provinces, and for the But even though the noble viscount could removal of ministers. I grant it; but, says not support this assertion on the ground the noble viscount, the first is a very imhe has taken it upon; would it not be a fair proper restriction on the royal prerogative. logical inference to presume, that in 60 His Majesty ought to be left to his own solemn an investigation as that of an en. determination; it is to be presumed that quiry into the state of the nation, when he will act with suitable wisdom and promatters of the first rate consequence came priety, in directing and employing the in proof, and that from documents lying on force of the state entrusted to his care. your lordships' table, that whatever was / The second, recommending a removal of
his ministers, is equally improper, and absent himself from the performance of his parliamentary duty; he rejoiced, however, compacts! Why, then, should we now give that he was yet alive to give his vote against up all, without endeavouriog to prevent our so impolitic, so inglorious a measure as the ac Josses, without a blow, without an attempt to knowledgment of the independency of America; resent the insults offered us? If France and and declared he would much rather be in his Spain were for war, why not try an issue with grave tban see the lustre of the British throne them? If we fell afterwards, we should fall tarnished, the diguity of the empire disgraced, decently, anıl like men. the glory of the nation sunk to such a degree. Having spoken with some enthusiasm upon as it diust be, when the dependency of America these points, his lordsbin said he waged war on the sovereignty of Great Britain was given against no set of men, neither did he wish for up. The earl next adverted to the conduct of any of their eruployments: he then reverted to the court of France, and observed, that at a the suhject of American independency; and crisis like the present, he would openly speak after recalling the attention of their lordships to his sentiments, although they might turn out the extent and revenue of the estate of the to be dangerous. As a reason for throwing off crown of England, when the present King reserve, he said he did not approve of halting came into the possession of it, asked what right between two opinions, wben there was no the Houses of Parliament had to deprive the middle path; that it was necessary absolutely prince of Wales, the bishop of'Osoaburghi, and to declare either for peace or war, and when the other rising hopes of the beloved royal fathe former could not be preserved with honour, mily, of the inheritance of the thirteen Amerithe latter ought to be declared without hesita can provinces ? Sooner than consent to take tion. Having made this remark, he asked, away from any of the heirs of the princess where was the ancient spirit of the nation, that Sophia, what they had a legal and natural a foreign power was suffered to bargaiu for that right to expect to possess, he declared he would commerce which was her natural right, and see ibe prince of Wales, the bisliop of Osnaenter into a treaty with her own subjects, with burgh, and the rest of the young prioces, ont instantly resenting it? Could it be possible brought down to the committee, and hear that we were the same people wbo but sixteen them consent to lose their inberitance. The years ago were the envy and admiration of all earl declared he was exceedingly ill; but as ibe world? How were we altered! and what long as lie could crawl down to that House, had made the alteration? He feared there was and had strength to raise himself on his something in the dark, something lurking near crutcbes, or to lift his hand, he would vote the throne, which gave motion to administre - I
| against the giving up the dependency of Ametion-someibing unseen, which caused such | rica on the sovereignty of Great Britain ; and pusillaninous, such timid, such dastardly , if no other ford was of opinion with him, he councils. What! were we to sit down in an. would singly protest against the measure. ignominious tameness? to say, “ take from us 1 With regard to our power to carry on the what you will, but in God's name let us be at war, or commence a new one with France, peace ?" Were we blinded by despair? Could there were, he said, meaus, though he knew we forget that we were Englishmen? Coulu pot what; if, however, he was called upon to we forget that the nation had stood the Danish | give his advice, lie would give it honestly ; irruptions? bad siood the irruptious of other and though, from his exceering ill state of pations! has stood the inroads of the Scotch ! , health, be feared he had bot abilities enough to had stocd the Norman conquests! had stood | ensure to the execution of bis measures the the threatened invasion by the famous Spanish | wislied for success, he would make some Armada, and the various efforts of the Bourbon amends by his sincerity. [VOL. XIX.]
contains, besides, a charge against ministers, and recommends condemnation, without the parties being permitted to be heard in their own defence. Now, I totally differ from the noble viscount, that recommending to withdraw the troops implies any restriction whatever. It only relates to a matter of state, and does not, in the most remote degree, tend to tie up the hands of the sovereign. His Majesty may station or send the troops to any part of the world he pleases: the advice simply relates to the employing them in hostilities against the revolted colonies. The noble viscount’s argument relative to the removal of ministers, is no less ill supported: he presumes, that removal imports accusation; and that ignorance or misfortune amounts to criminality. I am sure he cannot be serious, because the contrary has been the constant language of ministers and their friends, since the commence. ment of the present enquiry. If, then, inability or misfortune are not criminal, a removal on those grounds cannot import accusation, much less condemnation. But, my lords, independent of this, I can see nothing in the argument. I will allow, if removal amounted to the same thing as a bill of pains and penalties, the charge should be carefully made and fully proved; but is that the case at present 2 Ministers, though they are the . servants, are likewise the servants of the public. The king himself is to be considered in that light; he is the first, but he is nevertheless no more than the first magistrate. If, therefore, parliament and the people, whose servants ministers are, disapprove of their conduct, it is the duty, as it ought to be the wish of the king, to dismiss them from their places and employments. The noble viscount says, that charges should be accompanied with proofs. If he wants proofs of incapacity, I believe your lordships have been amply furnished with them in the course of the enquiry. If any more are wanting, look to the present perilous situation of this country. The noble earl who spoke last, for whose
person and opinions I entertain the highest
veneration, thinks, that the interest and
honour of this country unite in obliging us
to hazard every thing in securing the dependency of the colonies; and, as a ground of what we are able to do, reminds us of what we have formerly achieved. Not one of your lordships has a more grateful memory of the services performed for his country, by that noble lord, than I have :
he raised its glory, reputation, and successes to an height never before experienced by any other nation. His lordship's name (I beg his pardon for mentioning it) the name of Chatham, will ever be dear to Englishmen; but when I grant this, I am convinced that the name of Chatham is not able to perform impossibilities; and that even high and respectable as it is, I do not think that the present state of this country by any means accords with what it was when the noble lord was called to direct our councils. Our finances were then in a most flourishing state, through the abilities and indefatigable zeal of that truly great man and able financier, Mr. Pelham ; our fleet was in a most respectable condition, and under the direction of a most able naval officer, and noble member of this House (lord Anson). The influence of the crown had not yet got to the alarming height it has since arrived at. We had, for the most part of the war, but France singly to contend with ; and when Spain took a part against us, France was exhausted to the lowest ebb ; her navy was almost annihilated; and the principal part of her colonies in the new world wrested from her, and in our possession. We had then America for us; we have now America against us; instead of Great Britain and America against France and Spain, it will now be France, Spain, and America against Great Britain. If the noble lord had, indeed, pointed out the means of supporting ourselves in such an unequal contest, I should readily acquiesce in his lordship's sentiments; but as his lordship has not only omitted to point out the means, but has acknowledged that he knows them not, I presume he will excuse me, if I adhere to my former opinion. I am as ready as any man, to acknowledge and repeat, that the noble earl carried the glory of the nation to a higher pitch than had been known at any former period; but if his lordship were to come in now, he would come in under very different circumstances.
| My lords, there is not a person present, who more sincerely wishes that America should remain dependent on this country, than I do. But as I am convinced that it is now totally impracticable, I am anxious to retain them as allies, because if they are not on terms of friendship with us, they must necessarily throw themselves into the arms of France ; and if we go to war with France on account of her late treaty, the colonies will look upon themselves bound in honour to assist her. What rospect of success have we? We have ost 11,000 men in the course of the last campaign. Our peace establishment is between 5 and 6,000 short of its complement. , Make this up out of the new corps, or send all the new corps to America to repair the losses of the last campaign; is there one of your lordships, or a single mipister present, who will rise and say, that there is the least prospect of supposing, that raw undisciplined troops will |. able to effect what veterans could not It is absurd to expect success, though you had no power but America to contend with. But if appearances were more favourable, how can money be raised ? You are now obliged to borrow money in the third year of a war, at a higher premium than you were in the seventh year of the late war, attended with this circumstance too, that the loan was then twelve, whereas it is now six millions; and yet, high as the premium is, the subscribers are considerable losers; so considerable, that an application has been talked of to parliament, to indemnify them for their o The noble earl, as a reason for inducing your lordships to go to war, talks of the injustice that must follow to the inherent rights of the heir apparent and his brother, by disposing of their American patrimony. I am ready to assist the noble lord, not in endeavouring to recover what I deem now totally impracticable (I mean by force of arms) but in calling to a severe account, those who have been the cause of the loss of their inheritance. Much has been said, in a former debate, of the provocation given by France, on account of her conduct respecting America, to prove, that we are compelled to resent it, in the most spirited and direct manner. Queen Elizabeth, it is well known, openly abetted the revolt of the Spanish Netherlands, in the reign of Philip the 2nd, and assisted them for a series of years, with men and money. Philip, far from resenting it, scarcely seemed to take the least notice. His hands were then sufficiently full; and he never looked upon himself bound, either in honour or policy, to create more enemies than he was able to contend with ; and yet Philip was at that time the most owerful prince in Europe. The Earl of Chatham rose to reply, but after two or three unsuccessful attempts to stand, his lordship fell down in a swoon on his seat, and was immediately assisted
by the duke of Cumberland, and the earls
Temple, Stanford, &c. His lordship was removed into the Prince’s Chamber, and Dr. Brocklesby, who happened to be near, immediately attended his lordship.”
* The following Account of Lord Chatham's Illness in the House of Lords, is taken by memorv from the Conversation of a #. who was in the House at the time, and saw the whole transaction. See Seward's Anecdotes of Distinguished Persons, vol. 2, p. 383.
“Lord Chatham came into the House of Lords, leaning upon two friends, lapped up in flannel, pale and emaciated. Within his large wig, little more was to be seen than his aquiline nose and his penetrating eye. He looked like a dying man; yet never was seen a figure of more dignity: he appeared like a being of a superior species. “He rose from his seat with slowness and difficulty, leaning on his crutches, and supported under each arm by his two friends. He took one hand from his crutch and raised it, casting his eyes towards Heaven, and said, “I thank God that I have been enabled to come here this day--to perform my duty, and to speak on a subject which has so deeply impressed my mind. I am old and infirm—have one foot, more than one foot in the grave—I am risen from my bed, to stand up in the cause of my country—perhaps never again to speak in this House!"—A prophecy too fatally fulfilled ! “The purport of his speech is well known. The reverence—the attention—the stillness of the House was most affecting: if any one had dropped a handkerchief, the noise would have been heard. “At first he spoke in a very low and feeble tone; but as he grew warm, his voice rose, and was as harmonious as ever; oratorical and along; perhaps more than at any former period ; both from his own situation, and from the importance of the subject on which he spoke. He gave the whole history of the American war; of all the measures to which he had objected; and all the evils which he had prophesied, in consequence of them ; adding at the end of each, “And so it proved '' “In one part of his speech he ridiculed the apprehension of an invasion, and then recalled the remembrance of former invasions. “Of a Spanish invasion, of a French invasion, of a Dutch invasion, many noble lords. may have read in history; and some lords (looking keenly at one who sat near him) may, perhaps, remember a Scotch invasion.” “While the duke of Richmond was speaking, he looked at him with attention and composure; but when he rose up to answer, his strength failed him, and he fell backwards. He was instantly supported by those who were near him, and every one pressed round him with anxious solicitude. His youngest son, the hon. James Pitt (since dead), was particularly active and clever in assisting his venera
As soon as the confusion occasioned by this public calamity subsided, the duke of Richmond rose, and after giving a warm testimony to the great political abilities and integrity of the noble earl, whose illness had caused the interruption of the debate, and acquainting their lordships he had the pleasure to inform them, that the noble earl’s illness, though violent, he had reason to hope was but temporary, and occasioned by weakness and the excessive heat of the House, said he thought it would be better to adjourn the debate till the next day. The House unanimously agreed to it, and accordingly adjourned.
April 8. The order of the day being read for resuming the adjourned debate on the State of the Nation,
The Duke of Richmond rose, and hav. ing lamented in very warm terms the unlucky accident which had the preceding day caused the House so suddenly to rise, said he had the pleasure to inform their lordships that the issue was not likely to prove fatal in its consequences, as appearances at first seemed to threaten; for he had learned since he came into the House, that the noble earl was much better, and that he was not without hopes of soon seeing his lordship in his place, and in a capacity once more to serve his country, by the performance of his duty in that House. His grace then reminded their lordships, that his motive for resuming the subject of yesterday’s debate was merely to give any of their lordships who might desire it, an opportunity of speaking to the question. He had himself so fully spoken to the several objects which it involved, that he should not think of troubling them again, unless in reply. The motion itself was drawn up so much in detail, that it called for very few arguments to support
ble father, though the youth was not more than 17 or 18 years of age.
“Lord Chatham was carried to Mr. Sergent's house, in Downing-street, where he was accommodated with every kind and friendly attention, both at this time and on a preceding day, when he had attended the House of Lords, some weeks before. From thence he was carried home to Hayes, and put to bed. He never rose again! Therefore his death may be properly said to have happened in the House of Lords, in the discharge of his great political duty: a duty which he came, in a dying state, to perform :
“Şich was the glorious end of this great man!”
it. On the whole, if any new matter should arise which might make his rising necessary, he should do all in his power to give their lordships such explanations as the matter itself might call for. The Earl of Shelburne began with paying very high compliments to their lordships, on the great attention shewn to the noble earl (Chatham) who had been taken ill the preceding day. He said, their conduct upon that melancholy occasion, was such as might be naturally expected from persons of their nice and generous feelings, and was worthy of the highest encomiums. It was a mark of respect, as well as of humanity, to adjourn the debate; and for his part, looking upon himself to be highly interested in an event which so nearly concerned the great man alluded to, he was greatly obliged to them. He confessed, he was much alarmed on the occasion, both on account of his personal esteem for the noble earl, and, what was of more consequence to their lordships and the nation, the fatal consequence of the death of a peer, to whose wisdom, abilities, and happy and fortunate exertion of talents, this country stood so highly indebted, and whose assistance would at this perilous moment be so much wanting. He assured their lordships, that it would have been utterly impossible for him to have delivered his sentiments on the question before the House at the time, so sensibly was he affected; nor could he have yet collected himself sufficiently to speak to the subject, if the cause which first prevented him had not been removed in a great measure; the apprehension that the noble earl's illness was likely to prove fatal : his apprehensions were in part removed, thank God, by an appearance of the noble earl’s being in a fair way of recovery. His lordship, by way of introduction, gave a particular account of his own sentiments respecting America, and of the previous steps he took before he finally made up his mind on the subject. He was resolved to have the noble earl's opinion, pure and genuine, unmixed with compliment, or biassed by any personal regards. He accordingly forbore to hint his own opinion, till after the noble earl had fully given and explained his; and was much pleased to find, that it exactl coincided with what he had himself delivered in a debate, a few days since in that House. He was no less surprised at the matter, than the manner in which the