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this House, (general Keppel) bred also to the country as I do in the part I now in the best schools of his profession, is se- take; and whatever may be the idle comcond in command on shore, and second ments of the day, I trust that with the to one who needs no other praise than that respectable part of the public, if the term he was the favourite (lord Amherst) and opposition is to imply blame, it will be the friend, and the confidential executor applicable only to the rejection of this moof the arduous plan of the great statesman tion. If the king's ministers take the lead, I alluded to.- Let these men be assisted and exercise their persuasion for that purwith national spirit, and England is not to pose, I hold them to be opposers of nationbe subdued, while a river or a hill remains; 1 al spirit, opposers of public virtue, opposers without such spirit, another battle of Has- of the most efficacious means to save their tings may make another Conquest.
country. Sir, I scorn to take up this lanSir, I repeat that the best hope of ge- guage upon so pitiful a motive as personal nerating and diffusing this genuine strength resentment. Government, whoever are of the mind, to which arms and treasure the ministers to conduct it, shall have my are but inadequate substitutes, depends voice when my conscience directs it. That upon the presence of parliament, “ to I think myself a persecuted man, I avow ; provide (according to the words of the that I am a marked victim to bear the sins motion) for every important event at the that do not belong to me, I apprehend; earliest notice,”—Tostrengthen the crown, but this is not the first time I have stood not by adulatory addresses, but by such the frowns of power for parliamentary occasional sanctions, as would give fresh conduct; and whatever further vengeance and extra-energy to its power, pending may be in store for me, I hope I shall the emergency that might require it: to endure it as becomes me. I am aware that support public credit, in union with the in far better times officers have been stript city of London, not only by common end of their preferments for resisting the posgagements of faith, but by acts of quick sessors of that bench.—They cannot take and encouraging efficacy towards indivi- from me an humble competence; they duals, who might nobly risk their all in cannot deprive me of a qualification to sit the cause : but above all, in full numbers here; they cannot strip me, I trust they and by general continuance, to exhibit cannot, of the confidence of my consti. themselves to the world a true represent. | tuents to seat me here; they cannot strip ative of a determined people attacked in me I am sure they cannot-of principle their vitals ;-to prove that they are not and spirit to do my duty here. I never to be seduced from their duty by the al. was more excited by these motives, and I lurements of pleasure or personal interest, never can be more, than upon the present but have fortitude to await the approach occasion to give my vote in support of the of the enemy, as the Gauls were awaited motion. by the senators in Rome; and, if need 1 Mr. Rigby ridiculed the extraordinary were, to receive death in these seats, to mode, as he called it, of reasoning adopted give example and fire to their surviving by the last speaker, that every man who countrymen. Sir, a parliament, thus in opposed the present motion, or his partispired, (the occasion, I believe in my con- cular opinions, was an enemy to public science, would give the inspiration) would virtue. He begged leave to differ from spread immediate and extensive venera- the hon. gentleman, for he always undertion and influence.-Faction, in this great stood that free debate and liberty of free city, if faction there is, would be no more ; judgment, was the very essence of that majorities and minorities here would be House. The only argument used by the lost in unanimity for the public safety ;- hon. gentleman who made the motion, for the King's name, thus supported, would preferring an adjournment to a prorogabe in truth a tower of strength; and the tion was, that parliament might be sitting, daring attempts of the enemy would only and ready to assist with their counsels, tend to the present glory and future sta- when an account might be supposed to bility of the state.
arrive from our American commissioners. Sir, these are my sincere sentiments ; | If this was all the hon. gentleman meant to and for this free delivery of them, I doubt take by his motion, it was in fact already not that I shall read in the morning papers of complied with ; there was a law in being, to-morrow that I have thrown myself into by which the crown was enabled to call the the arms of opposition. I am conscious I parliament, in case of actual invasion or never did so true a service to the king and rebellion. It was acknowledged, and had.
not yet been contradicted, that a rebellion | When that event took place, if the ho. was existing ; consequently, though terms nourable gentleman should be honourably of conciliation, or actual refusal on the acquitted, then it might become a proper part of America should be received ; and subject of parliamentary enquiry. Till, that in consequence of such intelligence, therefore, the arrival of all the parties the convening of parliament should be concerned, and the discharge of the hon. come requisite, his Majesty would have it gentleman from his present engagement, in his power to call it together within the should take place, and in consequence of time stated, which, he believed, on all that he should be acquitted, the measures hands, would be confessed to be sufficiently which were committed to his charge could early to provide almost against every pos- never become a inatter of state, or be agi. sible exigency. The adjournment was stated in that House, only matter of form. The Speaker, it was 1 Mr. T. Townshend condemned the mode true, and the officers of the House, would of proceeding recommended by the last be obliged to attend at certain stated pe- speaker, as destitute of spirit. He disapriods; but he was certain it would be only proved of all examination into private chato meet, in order to adjourn; for he would racters. He was severe on what he called not be able to procure a regular atten- the illiberality of the hon. gentleman to dance, or indeed any attendance. He the unfortunate general, who was labourthen proceeded to personalities against the ing for the dearest thing a soldier can pos. hon. gentleman who spoke last. He said / sess, his reputation. he was a prisoner, and had no right as such Mr. Solicitor General Wedderburn said, to speak, much less to vote in that House. the motion was unnecessary, as, be law, He expressed a wish to be tried. The during the American rebellion, the King hon. gentleman knew, when he desired a could call the parliament in 14 days, nottrial, that he could not be tried; he was withstanding a prorogation; which creates upon parole; he was, as a prisoner under a new session, in which even recent Acts that parole, not at liberty to do any one may be repealed. He then took occasion act in his personal capacity. Suppose, for to propound doubts relative to general instance, the hon. gentleman should be Burgoyne's capacity to vote in parlia. tried and found guilty, who could punishment; and he argued them, at length, him? No one certainly. A prisoner is with visible preparation and much learnalways bound to his first engagement, and ing. He referred, very particularly, to amenable to the stipulations of those who the story of Regulus; and, to make the have prescribed the terms. To talk, there. cases parallel, stated the general as a comfore, of trial, without the power to punish, mon prisoner of war (the Convention of was a farce; the power to try, implied the Saratoga being now broken); that, conpower to punish; or such a power meant | sequently, he was not sui juris, but the nothing. Take the matter in another point present property of another power. He of view: the affair of Saratoga had been insisted, with still less expression of doubt, already enquired into and decided upon, that the general, under his present obli. He denied both those assertions. What- gations, was incapacitated from exercising ever steps had been already taken in the any civil office, and incapable of bearing business, implied neither condemnation arms in this country. nor acquittal. He wished to be under. General Burgoyne, in reply, stated the stood, that there was a fault somewhere ; / mistake upon which the learned gentleand he would never allow, though there man's argument was in a great measure was a ntajority of nearly four to one, 144 founded, namely, that the Convention was to 44, that what the House determined on broken, and that the general was under that occasion, was either an acquittal or the usual restrictions of a prisoner of war. condemnation of those who planned, or The Convention was declared by the Conthose who executed; he was satisfied it gress not intended to be broken, on their was not. A British army was lost, the part, though the execution of it was sus. blame must rest somewhere; the present pended. The general, therefore insisted, was not a proper time to enquire, because that he was under no other obligation, all the parties could not be present, and than that specified in the Convention, because at no time was that House com- not to serve in America;" and that of petent to such an enquiry. It must be his parole, “ to return at the demand of sent to a military tribunal, where the hon. the Congress, and due notice given :" that gentleman would be tried by his peers. in this country he was free to exercise his
rights as a citizen and a soldier; that, should the enemy land, though the present disfavour might preclude him from the command which his rank, and some experience, might entitle him to, he trusted the King would not refuse his request to take a musket in defence of his country. He proceeded to argue, that even upon the supposition that the learned gentleman's position had been true in its full extent, and that he had been, directly, a prisoner of war under parole, he should not have been incapacitated from acting in parliament; and in answer to the precedents brought from remote ages, he produced one of a present member (lord F. Cavendish), who, when a prisoner in France, after the action of St. Cas, and upon his parole in England, sat and voted in parliament. That noble lord, upon quitting France, had asked, whether any restraint in that respect was meant? as he should certainly vote for every measure that could distress the enemy. He was told, that they should as soon think of restraining him from getting a child, lest, when it came to maturity, it should do them mischief—The general proceeded to observe, that the cases, in point of explanation, were precisely the same; for that before he left the army, it had been intimated to him, that there were persons in Boston, who doubted whether he should not be restrained by parole from taking any part in parliament, at least, when America was concerned; that he came to an explanation with those entrusted with the sentiments and powers of the Congress; and declared, that if such restraint was intended, he would remain and die in that country, rather than return home. The idea was abolished; nay, more, it was expressed, that the friends of the Congress conceived rather advantage than injury from the general's presence in parliament; that they wished for peace upon proper terms; that they were persuaded, the general, as a man of humanity, wished the same; that they believed he had honour to speak truth, and that truth would conduce to that desirable end. Sir H. Hoghton thought the business should be suspended until the difficult respecting the general should be settled. The Speaker said, it was not a matter of doubt. The learned gentleman had argued upon a supposition, that the hon. general had not received so extensive a permission as he standing in his place had affirmed he possessed. As this assertion IVOL. XIX.]
could not be disputed, there could not be a doubt of the hon. general's right to his Seat. After this explanation, the Solicitor General acknowledged that no doubts remained as to the general’s rights; and the House were unanimous in the same opinion. Mr. For confessed he saw the greatest reason in the world for adopting the measure of the address, and not one against it. Remembering how fatal the last long recess had been, he could not conceive how any man, in the least interested in the welfare of his country, could think of trusting again to the management of the ministry. At the very instant, when the House were about to think of a conciliatory plan, it was adjourned for more than six weeks [the Christmas recess] and in that fatal time, what was the conduct of the ministry? Though they knew that they were about to yield up every thing they had before denied, and by the intimation of which, in due time, they might have prevented the effects that had ensued, yet they never made the least intimation, but gave time for France to conclude a treaty, by which every hope of bringing America back to dependency was lost for ever. They filled up that space in levying armies, without the knowledge or controul of parliament, and for that reason truly we were to trust them again, as fully and ipo as we should do a majority of parliament. Ready on all occasions as that majority was to obey the will of the minister—inattentive and negligent as some, and dependent as most of them were, yet still he preferred their votes and measures to those of the administration. An hon. entleman had said, that they were carrying on war at this very time, to the best of their understandings, against France and Spain. Looking back to their conduct, he found equal reason for being displeased with their understandings here too. What stroke had they struck? or what active enterprize had they executed 2 They had moved an address to the throne, and they had recalled their ambassador: this was the extent of what their understandings had produced. In more than two months they had been able to execute these mighty objects, and their understandings assuredly deserved credit for the happiness of the contrivance, as well as for the accomplishment of these two things. It was said, by a learned gentleman, that his Majesty had it in his power to convene parliament
in 14 days; but so he had after an ad
journment; and it was better to trust to adjournment, in this case, which would certainly convene us, than to a prorogation, which might not do so. “Aye, but,” said the learned gentleman, “by a prorogation we shall have a new session, and then we may repeal the Acts of the present.” Then, said Mr. Fox, it may be fairly concluded, that we are to repeal the Acts of the present session. That learned gentleman is the key to the cabinet; he knows the secrets of state, and he says we must, in the next session, probably repeal every thing we have done in the present; he knows that the propositions of peace will not be accepted; he is not sanguine enough, to flatter himself that they will; he knows that the plan is inadequate ; the concessions, however humiliating, not sufficient; we have brought ourselves so low, that kneeling before them, with concession in our hands, cannot procure us the peace we pant for, and we must repeal them before we succeed. I agree with the learned gentleman, that the plan we have proposed is inadequate; but if in the present session we cannot repeal, we may vary; and as we do not mean to restrain the Americans in any degree, the variation that may be necessary will be in our power. The situation of his hon. friend was an incentive towards continuing the session, of the most powerful nature. The hon. general was unfortunate—singularly unfortunate; and it was the business of the House, to enquire into the causes of his misfortune, and charge them on the true author, whoever he might be. It was to his hon. friend a matter of consolation, though he knew him too well to suspect that he preferred private consolation to the good of his country; yet, he said, it might console him to think, that he was not the only unfortunate man who had served the present administration. It was the fortune of every man who had served them to be unfortunate. Every officer in America was an instance of the fact. General Gage had not reaped any laurels in their service, nor had Admiral Graves any reason to rejoice at his success, Sir William Howe had not escaped the misfortunes that had overtaken their servants; though crowned with repeated conquests, he had lost by his success. Lord Howe's character could not be much hurt by their insinuations, rancorous as they had been ; but he had gained no additional honour from his exvloits in their service. The manner in
which the other gallant officer, sir Guy Carleton, had been treated, needed no comment; it was upon record, and would stand an example in future, for the instruction of all those who might be hazardous enough to attempt to serve their country under the auspices of men who were obliged to cover their ignorance and inability, and screen themselves from ignominy and contempt, by throwing blame upon the men who were unwise enough to act as they were instructed. The concealment of intelligence delivered to them, under any form, was criminal to the highest degree, when the character of a soldier de. pended upon the disclosure. He knew not how to speak of their conduct and preserve his temper. He wondered how the people could hear of it and withhold their resentment. He could not avoid adverting to a circumstance, which he confessed was new to him. It was a subject of praise to a noble lord, whose ingenuity he seldom had cause to applaud; just, however, to merit in every instance, he could not be blind to it in this; where invention was so rare, it was politic to cherish the first appearance of it. A timely attention might promote its growth, as good husbandry, and careful cultivation, made even a barren soil fruitful. The noble lord in the blue ribbon had" most ingeniously created a new species of oratory, and that of so divine and specific a nature, that it would serve every occasion, and refute every argument. When we attempt, said Mr. Fox, to charge to that noble lord’s negligence or inability, the loss of America, and thereby the destruction of national grandeur, national interest, and national credit, he replies, in his newly-invented language, “Well, you may say this, and say that; but I do say again and again, I did not
lose America.” This reply is irrefutable. What can be urged against it? We must
alter our accusation, and, instead of throw
ing it on the noble lord, condemn general
Washington, as the only cause of our hav
ing lost America. His superior abilities
had frustrated every effort; we did all
that men could do, but he, like the arm of Heaven, overthrew our strength, and made
us yield to his superiority. Arguing in
like manner, we ought to say, it was not
owing to the head or the heart of king James, that he lost the crown of Great
Britain, but the wickedness of the times.
He did all that man could do, but his ene
mies were the more powerful, and he was
forced to submit. In the same manner, if
the fleet that sailed six weeks ago from the port of Toulon, had attacked and taken the most valuable territory of the empire, destroyed our fleet, and made captive the army in America, we must not condemn the ministry as the cause of our misfor. tunes; they could not avoid it ; they did all that men could do, but the winds of Heaven were against them, and the winds of Heaven were alone the destroyers we ought to condemn. It has been repeatedly urged by the noble lord, that it is not possible for administration to defend all our extended empire from the encroachments of the enemy. True: but is there any one part of the empire at this moment defended, except Portsmouth Have the ministry put their own defensive plan in execution ? Ridiculous and inadequate in our situation as a defensive plan is, have they even begun upon that Nature has assisted them most materially in this task. The Gut of Gibraltar is a kind of general protection for our Mediterranean dominions; a fleet stationed there, prevents those of our enemies from sailing—and yet, so blind and indifferent have ministers been, that no fleet is stationed there for that purpose. We cannot, as the noble lord says, number ships with France and Spain. This superiority is multiplied by our acquiescence. It is not the greater number of ships that a state actually possesses, but the number employed in action that constitutes superiority. If France has twelve line of battle ships at sea, while we have forty-two in port, she is superior. Instead of defending, let us attack. One great stroke of policy must now be attempted, as one great, sudden, unexpected stroke can alone, in our present situation, save us. Such a one as that which determined the fate of the last war, and such a one as might now be effected. Need I say that the capture of the Spanish flota would be an issue to the conflict. To effect such an object, the hands of government must
be strengthened, great, prodigious sup
plies must be granted, the nerves of war must be strained to their extent, and, for that purpose, this House must and ought to continue to sit. Money will be wanted in the course of the summer, and it will be necessary for the House of Commons to find it somewhere. Deplorable as our situation is, it is nevertheless not desperate, for Great Britain cannot despair, provided her ministers are as able to plan as she is to execute. Lord North answered particularly to
almost every argument of the opposite party. General Burgoyne had not reason to say he was a persecuted man. That assertion he could not sit and hear, without, at the same time, feeling the injustice of it. It had been the care of administration to cherish his merit; they saw it in its growth, and reward kept pace with its progress. If to be raised above his elder officers in the service, was persecution, he did not wonder, considering how much he had been persecuted, that he wished for more. He did not at all interfere with his political opinions. He might throw himself into the arms of opposition, without thereby recommending himself a bit the more. He did not look for merit to any particular part of the House: general Burgoyne had a superior claim to most others, wherever he sat. He begged the hon. fo who spoke before him, not to evel his satire at the majorities of the Houses of Parliament. They were respectable, unbiassed, and confident in their conduct; he paid the utmost deference to them, but, in the present case, he truly thought that parliament might trust as safely to the ministry. It was their interest to convene them, in case of advice from the commissioners: in case of invasion; in case of emergencies that might require further supplies. It was their interest, and parliament might trust them at least so far with as much confidence as they would majorities. The hon. gentleman had said, we were not yet in a deserate situation; the assertion did him onour. It was a proof of his superior understanding: it was true. The hon. gentleman had echoed an assertion he had often used : “That he had not been the cause of losing America." He confessed he had frequently said so, and he was ready to submit his conduct to parliamentary enquiry. It might be, as the hon. gentleman had said, a new language, and it might be used for the purpose of preventing harsh censures. Was it so much owing to his inability, negligence, or design, as to the inflammatory conduct of some men, that we had lost America? He had never touched on that point, and he wished to be silent on it. He had, on a former day, given his opinion on *. riety of intercepting the Spanish flota. t would not be honourable, and therefore it would not be politic. He agreed with the hon. gentleman that great supplies must be granted, and the utmost }. made, even this summer. He hoped they