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therefore, upon the sum total of the experience which we have so dearly bought, and upon the certain prospect of all the farther evils which threaten this country, I am justly entitled to recom

mend it, as the opinion of this committee,

that it is unbecoming the wisdom and prudence of parliament to proceed any farther in the support of this fruitless, expensive, and destructive American war. I never can refrain from pressing again and again the necessity of an immediate peace with America. There is nothing that can destroy the powers and faculties of this country, but its being divided against itself. Give us peace with America, and we shall be ourselves again. Give us again our American family compact, and I shall be the last man to fear the House of Bourbon; and with reason, for confidence should not be vain and visionary, but should take reasonable grounds for its foundation. The unfortunate treaty which is already too far advanced between France and America, may possibly deprive us of the assistance of America in any contest with France, even if you were to make peace with America this moment. But in any case we should at least recover to our use 100 ships of force, which are now cut off from us, we might recover the use of 30 or 40,000 men both by land and sea, either for defence, or for offence, if necessary. If you would make peace with America upon equal and fair terms, trade would again return to your ports, and public credit would thereby feel the means of support. And besides this, what is beyond every thing else in national operations, unanimity would give vigour to our counsels. Foreign powers, instead of despising us for our folly, and lying in wait to take advantage of the wasting of our strength, would stand in awe of the powers of this country, when conducted upon the principles of wisdom and justice, and abandon the thoughts of any insults or attack upon the honour or rights of this country. They have shrunk under its power when united, and conducted by an able administration. The means are still the same, if there were the same wisdom in our counsels. No man can charge me with disparaging the powers and faculties of my country; my sentiments have always been that they exist in all their vigour, § that they are misapplied. They are not directed against the natural enemies of this country but against itself. I would wish that this dis[VOL, XIX.]

tinction should make an impression upon the minds of the committee, and of the public, and of all foreign courts. If you would be prevailed upon to relinquish this fatal war, all would be well. There would then be no ground left for a war with France, or with any part of the House of Bourbon. And if they were either so unreasonable, or so unwise, as unnecessarily to provoke a war, we should be well prepared, and capable of resenting every insult, and of repelling every attack upon the national honour. But it is our folly alone that tempts them. I have pleaded so zealously for the restoration of peace with America, that I wish to attach the explanation with it, as not undervaluing the powers of this country in respect to any foreign nations if we were at peace with ourselves. It is no disparagement to any country to advise them against impossibilities. Give us peace with America, and there is nothing under Heaven that this country needs to fear. For these reasons I have drawn up a particular Resolution expressive of this well grounded confidence, if such measures of wisdom are pursued, by which the national faculties and exertions may be reserved, for the just and necessary occasions of supporting its own dignity, and defending its own. rights, instead of profusely lavishing them away in the pursuits of injustice, folly and madness. But it may be said, “How shall we obtain peace; and upon what terms ? We would have an honourable peace.” And so we may : for who makes war with us? It depends upon ourselves. We have only to relinquish our folly and Quixotism, and there is an end. It is the madness of the undertaking, and the obstimacy of persevering even after conviction that is dishonourable. The dishonour comes from them who would precipitate their country into impossibilities, who advised the King not even to give an answer to the united petition of all America, when they were at the feet of this country seeking for justice. You spurned them from you with indignation. It was the ministry of this country who would admit of no reasonable or constitutional terms. I say, reasonable and constitutional terms, because I presume that the ministry themselves will so denominate the terms which have been lately voted in this House in those Conciliatory Bills, which have received the unanimous , sanction of the legislature. If those terms are reasonable and constitutional now, [3 Z]

then they always were so; yet these Bills contain neither more nor less than the very offers which were made to this country from the Congress in their last petition three years ago. Many and many propositions, tantamount to these, have been made by the opposers of this mad war, but the ministry have always crushed them by an inflexible influence in the counsels of this House. I myself did, more than three years ago, on the 27th of March 1775," offer to this House the very identical terms, or nearly so, which are contained in your late Conciliatory Acts, and which were taken as the foundation of the petition of the Congress in the month of July 1775. The draught of a letter of requisition to the colonies in the usual and accustomed manner, which I then laid before you, might have made peace at that time, for those terms were accepted by the Congress in their Petition to the King and Address to the people of Great Britain, a few months after. That they were reasonable and constitutional terms I am justified now at least to say, because in your late Conciliatory Acts they have received the unanimous sanction of the legislature. I hope, therefore, that I may stand acquit for one, as never having sacrificed the honour of this country by any mean or unbecoming proposal. It is not towards those who have opposed this mad war, that you are to look as the causes of the irksome situation in which you find yourselves now. If our advice had been followed, things would not now be as they are. Many thousands of lives, many millions of money would have been saved to this country, much honour and prosperity would have been its lot, instead of the distraction in which we now see ourselves involved. You are to thank your ministers for having led you to the dishonour of refusing the reasonable and constitutional terms of accommodation offered by your colonies in 1775. That was the fatal aera which gave an inflexible obstinacy to the coun. sels of this nation, to require absolute and unconditional submission before you would treat. The present minister of the American department entered into his office, with the public avowal of these principles. All Europe was ransacked for mercenaries to impose unconditional submission upon your colonies. What, them, was there left for them to do, but to seek their safety in independence and foreign alliances It

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was the ministry of this country which drove the Americans into foreign alliances, by the example of hiring foreign troops, and which reduced them to the alternative of unconditional submission or independence. In this dilemma they chose the latter; and in such a dilemma they should have made no other choice. If you would have conceded to them reasonable and constitutional terms of connexion, they did over and over again disavow every wish or claim of independence. It is the administration of this country who have forced them into independence; they now possess it, nor is it in your power to wrest it from them. Let it be remembered who drove their country to set the whole upon this desperate cast. By the advice of your ministers you set all prudent counsels at defiance, and by the folly of their conduct you have lost America. We may have peace with America if we chuse it, but not upon the terms that we might have had it at the time when the peti. tion from the Congress was rejected, nor even upon the terms that we might have had six months ago. The only rule that we seem to follow, is, to refuse the terms which may be had at the time, till it becomes too late, and then we see our folly. I myself told the administration in this very place before Christmas, that there was an opening to treat, by which they might have prevented the treaty between France and America. The conduct of the French court towards the Americans had been so deceitful and unsatisfactory, as gave the greatest disgust. I informed them that they might hit the blot, and take advantage of it. My words in this House were, “Do it before you sleep.” They slept and did it not. They prevailed upon the House to adjourn itself for two months, and the time was lost. If nothing less than independence will now do, you must thank the administration who have driven things to all extremities. You have tried the event of three campaigns, and have failed in all. You have lost an entire army, you have likewise lost your time to recruit and augment that which remains, and the most probable prospect for sir W. Howe's army, is, that they may share the same fate with that under general Burgoyne, unless you have the prudence to withdraw it in time. I grieve to see that things are come to so desperate a pass; none of the measures which have brought us to it, had my concurrence. I would have advised far others. At present there is no other advice left to be given, but to concede and to confirm that independence to America, which you have forced upon them. I know that you will not consent to this, and that all counsel is vain, but I know likewise that the time will come when you will think it a good bargain to make peace with America, simply upon the terms of independence. I would advise the repeal of the Canada Act, but I know likewise that this will not be done; yet the time may come when this Act may be repealed without your consent. Look to Canada, and perhaps to the Floridas. It might likewise be worth while to think of your West Indian islands. You have driven America into an alliance with the House of Bourbon. Look to the consequences. For my own part I can only give the advice of a single and insignificant individual. I would seek the alliance and friendship of America. I would cement the two coun. tries together by a mutual naturalization, in all rights and franchises to the fullest extent. We are derived from the same stock; we have the same religion, the same manners, the same language, the same temper, the same love of liberty and of independence; and if we must be seemingly divided, let there at least be an union in that partition. To those who might otherwise have a reluctance to the concession of American independence, let this serve as the more liberal equivalent, Give up freely the less generous claim of an irksome and sterile dominion, and put the “padlock on the mind.” I will now, with their permission, read to the committee the motions which I have to make. They are as follow : 1. “That it is the opinion of this committee, that the expence of prosecuting the American war for another campaign, in the year 1778, more especially if, in consequence thereof, this country should be involved in any foreign wars, added to the expences already incurred in the American war, may probably amount to a sum not less than between 30 and 40 millions sterling, which must create an alarming increase of the principal and interest of the national debt, and must require many additional heavy and burdensome taxes, land taxes as well as other taxes, upon the British subjects to defray. 2. That the prosecution of the American war must be destructive of the navigation, trade, riches, and resources of this country, as well as of the lives of his Majesty's subjects, carrying our land and sea forces the

distance of 3,000 miles, and thereby laying us open to the insults or attack of any secret or insidious enemy to this country. 3. That among the various causes which may contribute to depress the national funds, or to embarrass the state of public credit, and to weaken the resources of this country, the hostile disunion and division of America against Great Britain must probably be more operative to such fatal effects, than the prosecution of any just and necessary war against a foreign enemy. 4. That it is unbecoming the wisdom and prudence of parliament to proceed any farther in the prosecution of this fruitless, expensive, and destructive American war. 5. That there is no reason to doubt the sufficiency of the powers of this country, or the most animated coercion of them, when disengaged from this fatal American war; and under the conduct of a prudent and vigilant administration, effectually to resent every insult, and to repel every attack, upon the honour of his Majesty's crown, and upon the essential interests of his kingdom, in the prosecution of any just and necessary war, against a foreign enemy. 6. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he will graciously be pleased to instruct the commissioners appointed to treat, consult, and agree upon the means of quieting the disorders now subsisting in certain of the colonies, plantations, and provinces of North America, to establish, as a fundamental, previous to any treaty, and from which they shall not have liberty to depart, that all persons, born either in Great Britain, Ireland, or the colonies, provinces, and plantations of North America, shall be considered as natural born subjects, and enjoy all rights and privileges as such, throughout all the said dominions in common, in the manner heretofore accustomed.”

Lord North objected to the motions in gross as well as in detail. He could not agree to the first, from its being erroneously stated, as well from its depending on probability, and its indefinite amount. A sum between 30 and 40 millions was very indefinite; but the error in the stating was the most considerable objection. The fact was, that the expence of the three last years was no more than 18 million or thereabouts, and the additions at the end of the campaign, would be 5 million. This, he said, he could prove, by enumerating the addition to the national debt and other articles. The addition to the national debt was 13 million. The increase of the

land-tax was 500,0001. a year, that made it that the civil law of France, to which they 14,500,0001. The increase of the navy had originally belonged, joined to the cridebt was about a million and a half, that minal law of Britain, which was a greater made it 16 million, and the sum which we security to the subject than that of the should have saved in case of peace, and French, would jointly form a system, wbich would have gone to pay off a part | favourable as a preliminary, until a more of the national debt, might be taken on an regular one could be granted. He conaverage at 900,0001. a year. So that the cluded with moving that the chairman do sum it had already cost us is no more than leave the chair : which was agreed to. 18,700,0001. The unfunded debt for the present year will be no more than 3 mil Debate on Mr. Powys's Motion for lions, and the other out-goings altogether enabling the Commissioners appointed to would make up no greater a sum than treat with America to declare the Indepen. about 23,500,0001. He adverted to the dency of that Country.] April 10. In hon. gentleman's arguments on the last the Committee on the State of the Nation, loan. The reason for his meaning to give Mr. Powys said, that from the exhausted the subscribers douceurs, at a time when state of the finances of the nation, and the stocks had considerably decreased, was, the great expence into which the Amethat they might in future trust to the rican war had plunged it, nothing at this honour of parliament. The first deposit period, when we were threatened with a had not been made, nor was there any com- French war, could be more necessary to pulsion upon them to make good their us than peace with America. After the subscriptions. They would have been amazing stand that the Congress had made losers to have it made good, as the stocks against our armies ; after the incredible then stood ; and as parliament must, sooner successes with which their endeavours to or later, have made good the deficiency, shake off their dependence on this country he thought it provident to give them a had been attended, it were chimerical to further advantage, which would have su- think that they would give up an indepen. perseded the necessity of having the aid dence which they had established with from parliament next session, as well as their blood and treasure; and which placed brought future subscribers forward, by them out of the reach of any future mishewing that they dealt honourably with nister, who, following the example of the them. He could not agree with the present administration, might, if they rehon. gentleman, that it would be good turned to their obedience to Great Bri. policy to keep 5 millions reserved in the tain, endeavour to enslave them with arms, Exchequer, while so heavy a load of debt victorious arms in their hands; it was the hangs upon the nation. It might, indeed, height of madness to think they would be advantageous to have such a sum in re. | treat with us, but as one sovereign and inserve, as a nest.egg, when we went to dependent state ought with another : it market, or as a provision for a rainy day, was fruitless then to send out commiswhen we could not go; but he considered sioners at a vast expence, whose powers it impossible to accomplish such an object being too limited did not enable them to in the present state of our finances. He treat upon such terms. The people would could not, from the most impartial review be only amused with the vain expectation of his conduct, consider it as criminal. that the Americans would return to their His heart must be excused, though his allegiance; while nothing was more fohead might be to blame. With the best reign to their intention ; and the kingdom and wisest intention, an erroneous conduct already bending beneath the weight of an might be joined. In a particular manner enormous debt, would be saddled with vast he justified the measure of the Quebec but unnecessary expences. He should Act. After the most serious deliberation therefore move, in order to procure a on the nature of the people, he considered peace, at present so necessary, “ That it most prudent and politic to give them the the powers of the Commissioners might be form of government they now enjoy. Not enlarged; and that they might be authofitted to receive into their state an epitome rised to declare the Americans absolutely of our original constitution, he formed a and for ever independent.” system partly of our own, and partly of Mr. Pulteney thought the motion injuthe French government, merely as a pre- rious to the commissioners. A number liminary to the introduction of a solid sys. of men had raised themselves in the colotem, by a popular assembly. He thought nies, from obscurity to grandeur, from poverty to riches, from servitude to power; / reasons for evading a war. An inquiry they had the reins of their new govern- | into the internal opulence of this country ment in their hands, which must be would extinguish every fear of that kind. wrested from them; it was reasonable to | The aggregate riches of Britain were not suppose, that they would insist upon it, less than 1,000 million. The nativnal debt and, if not overcome by the superior voice was only 146 million ; a seventh part of of the people, would preserve it. Such a the wealth of the kingdom. How, then, resolution as that moved for, would give could we be so distressed in our finances ? them the fairest argument to persuade the In cases of national occasion, we should people; and independency must be the have reference to the fundamental pro. consequence. But he did not despair of perty of the nation, and all Europe would the success of the commission. He be- wonder at our resources, and tremble at lieved the tone of the Americans, in ge- our power. neral, was against independency. They Mr. Fox said, he had formed a decided had been in a manner forced into a mea- | opinion upon the present question, and if sure, which they had not approved of, and he should happen to differ in his sentiments it was carried in the Congress by only one from a venerable character, whom he ho. or two voices. It was even reasonable, noured and revered, the committee would arguing from motives of interest, to sup- give him credit that no early prejudice, no pose that they would prefer dependency infant pique, directed his judgment, or into independency. Secured from taxation; Auenced his mind. He had considered relieved from the fear of having any share this matter, abstracted from every other in the burthen of our debt; protected object, and his judgment was formed upon during war by our strength, and cultivated logical, as well as natural reasoning and during peace by our arts-with these ad deduction. The dependency of America vantages joined to dependency, could they he thought it impossible, from our situawish to be independent? It was not rea- tion, as well as from the nature of the obsonable, that men, attentive to their in-ject, for us to regain. She had joined with terests, would forfeit security and protec- France in an amicable and commercial tion, for danger and the chimerical notions treaty. The latter had recognized her inof nominal grandeur. But it hurt him to dependency, and both were bound in gra. hear a proposition urged in that House so titude to defend one another, against our destructive to the welfare of Britain. resentment on the one hand, or our atWould not the independency of America tempt to break it on the other. If by conbe the eve of their advancement into a cession or 'coercion we attempted to reflourishing naval power? Their situation cover the dependency of America, we commanding a species of superiority over should have the powers of France and all the earth, they would soon rival Europe America, and perhaps Spain, to encounter in arts, as well as grandeur, and their with. If we attempted to punish France power in particular would rear itself on for recognizing the independency of Amethe decay of ours. Are we, then, so lost rica, America would join her, and we to all the feelings of patriotism, that with should have, in either case, two, if not a wanton hand we would lay the founda- | three powers to combat with. It was protion stone of a blockade against our own bable, that the greatest part of Europe existence? We were able yet to reduce would join in the recognizance. GratiAmerica, should she be unwise enough to tude on the one hand, and obligation on refuse our offers. Efforts would then be the other, would unite them in one bond, made very different from the former. We and we should experience the joint efforts had till then been engaged in a wrong of all, if we attacked one. If, on the cause ; our ministers had been cruel, un contrary, the committee agreed to the just, and unconstitutional in their demands, motion, and thereby recognized the indeand the hearts of the people were not in | pendency of America, we should be no the measures adopted. But now the in longer bound to punish the European justice would change sides, and if they powers, who had already, or who might do refused, they only would be the aggressors. the same: and we should probably secure In a war with justice on our side, what a larger share of the commerce of the would not Britain perform ? The national Americans, by a perpetual alliance on a spirit was not extinct, and that was the fæderal foundation, than on a nominal debulwark of Britain. The state of the pendence. funds and finances had been introduced as He could not avoid lamenting to hear

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