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beasts or savages, but like common ene-| be inflicted on them; but he could not in mies, for whom we no longer retained justice, in honour, in humanity, but conany trace of affection, which their unna. | demn a system, which must equally involve tural alliance had absolutely effaced, but the innocent and guilty in destruction. . which had subsisted longer than it could! Mr. Hans Stanley could not bear with have prudently been expected, after the temper the affront that was going to be many unprecedented provocations they put upon his profession, when soldiers had given us to take off the ties of affec were to be converted into butchers, assastion at a much more early period. War sins, and incendiaries : he liked open now they should have in its full vigour; honest war, but could not bear to sheathe not such an one as they had been all along his sword in the bowels of age or inno accustomed to, and which had been so cence: he would not tarnish the lustre of tempered with peace, that it scarcely de the British name by acts of barbarity, nor served the name of war. This lie con- give his sanction to the measures of the ceived to be the meaning of the words in most infamous administration that ever the proclamation : he hoped it would have disgraced a free country. He then paid the desired effect on the rebels; he flat- some very high compliments to the army tered himself that it was a happy omen to in America, in which he had had the ho. see the friends of America so alarmed at nour to serve three years, and to the geit; and their terrors he would deem the neral who lately commanded it. As a forerunners of that general consternation representative of a great trading county, in America, which would make the de which lay exposed to the ravages of an luded colonists open their eyes before it enemy, where, if an enemy should land should be too late, and return to their al with only 500 men, the most dreadful delegiance to the mother country. And as vastation might be committed with imthis warning did not convey to his mind punity, he would but ill discharge the trust the shadow of an idea, that wanton reposed in him, if he did not, with all his slaughter and desolation were to mark the power, oppose a system which would be a footsteps of our army, he could not but plain invitation to France and America to give his negative to the motion.
burn our towns, destroy our manufactures, Mr. Powys said, when he supported the and butcher in cold blood our helpless and motion, he deemed himself the friend of inoffensive women and children. humanity; he wished to prevent war being Mr. James Grenville was against the armed with new terrors. Bravery and proclamation, becaase he could deduce humanity had ever been the inseparable from it, that it pronounced the approaches attendants on a British army; they were of a new scene of hostilities, such as ought now going to be banished from it ; cruelty not to be exhibited by any civilized paand barbarity were to replace them. The tion. Such a war might well be approved American war had been called the war of by an Onondegon, a Chicksaw, or Ché. parliament. Had parliament ever autho- rokee savage, but would imprint indelible rised a war that militated against huma- disgrace on a people who piqued themnity? Did parliament ever hold out as selves on their humanity. It was not instruments of reconciliation, the toma- į against America, but against France that hawk and scalping knife? Did parliament we should shew our resentment; the spoils ever tell the Americans that they were to of the French should make us some walk over the bodies of their innocent amends for the loss of three millions of wives and children, and the smoking subjects, thirteen provinces, and the island ashes of their cities, to make their peace of Dominica. He condemned that pitiful with our commissioners? Why, then, at- policy dictated by despair, of burning tempt to give the sanction of parliament what it was not in our power to retain. to measures which it had never dictated, Sir William Howe could not approve of which it had never approved; nay, which measures that in any wise savoured of were a libel upon parliament? It were cruelty; several reflections had been impossible to expect peace from such thrown on his character in his absence; measures; ministers by their conduct had and perhaps it was because he had shewn murdered peace. If the Congress could too much mildness in the prosecution of be picked up, man by man, and put to the the war. He did not know to whom he most exemplary punishment, they should ought to ascribe the attacks on his repu. all fall unpitied by him, because they tation; if they had not originated from, or really deserved every severity that could been encouraged by ministers, at least [VOL. XIX. ]
they had not been contradicted by them. He thought it not improper then, when he was on his legs, to say a few words about his resignation of the command in America. He declared that it had been in consequence of a total disregard to his opinions, and to his recommendations of meritorious officers. The war had not been left to his management; and yet when he applied for instructions, he frequently could not get them. The noble lord at the head of the Treasury had indeed supported him; but the noble secretary for the American department had not used him well;—had often left him without instructions, to shift for himself at the opening of a campaign, without sending information how to act. He expressed a desire to see a parliamentary enquiry take place, when, on a clear investigation of the whole business, the House, and the nation at large, might be enabled to form a just opinion; and to pronounce which was to blame, himself or the American secretary. He concluded with saying, that whatever orders were sent to America for the conduct of the war, he was sure they never could be executed to the satisfaction and advantage of this country, while they went through the hands of that noble lord. Lord G. Germain was surprised at so unexpected an attack upon him: if he had foreseen the charge brought against him, he would have come prepared; but as it was, he would defend himself as well as his memory would permit him. He declared that he had never dropped an expression prejudicial to the hon. gentleman's character out of the House; that he had never done so in the House, every gentleman there could bear witness: he had never suffered 24 hours to elapse after the receipt of dispatches from the hon. gentleman, without carrying them to the King; and he never once omitted to second, with all his influence, every project, every recommendation sent by the general. He could only remember three instances, when his recommendations were not immediately complied with: the first was, when he had recommended as gallant an officer as any in the service, lieut. col. Harcourt, to the rank of colonel; the King had expressed himself in as warm and flattering terms of the young officer’s merits as any prince Joid do; but delayed his royal favour for three days, because a promotion of colonels was going forward, which was purposely brought
down to col. Harcourt, that he might be included in it; and, as a proof of his particular esteem, the King immediately after appointed him one of his aides de camp. The second instance was that of a major White, who was sent over with a plan for dismounting 500 dragoons, forming them into a battalion, and sending them over to America: this plan was not approved, for two reasons; 1. because, in the then state of the nation, all the cavalry at home was necessary for our own defence. 2. Because it might create jealousy and discontent in the army to see a battalion serving on foot, with higher pay than any other corps in the army. The third instance of a capt. Emmerie, who produced a plan that was seemingly so romantic and imprudent, that for his part he did not imagine the general was serious in his reconomendation: this captain was a man of no property, and yet the first thing that was to be done for him, to enable him to raise 1 or 2,000 German Chasseurs, was to give him 1,000l. after the receipt of which he was to go over to Germany and establish his quarters in the electorate of Hanover. One thing very curious there was in his plan, that his Chasseurs were to have among them a body of horse, which were to be stallions brought from Poland to mend the breed at New York; this appeared so extravagant that it was imagined that sir William had given way to the solicitation of the planner, only to get rid of his im
ortunities. The general might perhaps
ave had some cause of complaint about the promotion of officers at the War Of. fice; but for that he was excusable, as it was quite out of his department. Without regard to the leave the general had solicited to return home, he had laid his request before the King; and had by order returned for answer, that it gave his Majesty concern that he should think of resigning his command ; that he would, however, take his request into consideration. The campaign had not at that time been closed, and the King had not thought proper to appoint a successor to the general before the close of it; he then sent him leave to return home, provided sir H. Clinton were still in America to take the command; but that if sir Henry should not be in America on the arrival of the leave, (for sir Henry had likewise solicited permission to return), that the general was to wait until a successor should be ap
pointed: this was the plain truth; and
from the Aattering expressions of royal | be treated as Frenchmen. This, and this concern at his return, the world might only, was to be understood from the pro, judge whether or not the King had been clamation ; wanton cruelty could not be prepossessed with any insinuation to the patronized by the King, or by any Briton ; prejudice of the general. His lordship no British minister would dare to send then declared upon his honour, that he orders for committing wanton barbarity had ever seconded the demands, remon- to a British army; and no British army strances, and plans of the hon. gentleman, ever would, or ought, in any case, to obey .and that he had gone so far as to urge a them. He would not allow that the burncompliance with them more than once, ing of a warehouse converted into a battwice, or even three times. As to the tery, or of houses or towns that were become conduct of the war, if it had not been as repositories of military stores, or places successful as might have been wished, it of arms, could be called cruelty. Such was not only doing him an injustice in acts had been always practised by every making him the cause of our miscarriages, civilized nation in Europe; and every thing but even making him of much more con- that could be attempted with a prospect of sequence than he really was, by attribut- success, that could distress an enemy, and ing to him the sole management of the disable him from injuring the opposite war: he was but the humble servant of party, had been always held justifiable by the crown ; if he had not the greatest abi- | the laws of war. He had not heard of an lities to recommend him, at least he had address to his Majesty, expressive of disthis much to say as an excuse, that he had pleasure at the orders given to sir George always acted since he had been in office, į Rodney to bombard Havre-de-Grace, and to the very best of his judgment. If the similar orders to several other officers ; no hon. general had not immediate instruc- more than he had heard it reprobated to tions when he called for them, it was be- fire upon a ship, merely because some in- , cause many things depended upon unfore- nocent person might perish through it. seen circumstances; and as it was impos- | Even at home, did not the laws of Eng. sible to send letters every day beyond the land allow us to destroy our own country Atlantic, the general must necessarily, in all around us, to prevent the enemy to many respects, be left to his own discre- find provision or forage? By how much tion. He had not a wish to prevent any a stronger reason ought we to destroy the enquiry that might rescue the reputation country of our open, declared, and avowed of any gentleman from obloquy; and he enemy? Upon the whole, as the proclatrusted, that, if a parliamentary enquiry mation breathed nothing inconsistent with should take place, he was so prepared to the general principles of war, and as nomeet it, that his honour and character thing was intended to be done which could should come off in triumph. Returning, clash with the idea we had of war, he then, to the motion, he appealed to Heaven thought the address improper, and would to witness, that in his life he had never therefore oppose the motion. been more surprized than when he heard Lord Howe felt for the noble lord being the construction that had been put upon taken unprepared ; it was fit, he said, that the proclamation. He disclaimed, and he should have timely notice of an attack reprobated as detestable, every species of upon him; and he should be glad that an war that militated against humanity, and enquiry should take place on himself, his those laws of civilization that had smooth- brother, and the noble lord, that all ed the rugged face of war; but he main three might have a fair opportunity of vintained, that no man could fairly deduce, dicating their characters. from the words of the proclamation, that General Burgoyne said, he intended to any thing more was intended to be done vote for the Address, but wished to screen than to treat America no longer as a child, himself from the imputation of inconsis. that was to be reclaimed by gentle cor- tency; he was an enemy to every species rection, but as an enemy, that was to be of cruelty, to any thing uubecoming a solforced into peace by dint of arms, and by dier. If he had published any thing, when fair, honest, open war. America, by at the head of his army, that had inspired leaguing with France, should no longer be gentlemen with an idea that he intended treated as a British country, but as a part to urge a cruel war, his meaning had not of the dominions belonging to the French been properly understood ; for his proclacrown; the Americans, by their alliance, mation was calculated only to assure the were become French, and should in future inhabitants, that desolation should be kept
far from them, and their property be secured to them. He would say this much, however, that tomahawks and scalpingknives had been restrained by him, and every aid, every encouragement in pecuniary and other ways given the Indians for bringing in prisoners unhurt: that his inflexibility in that respect, his resolution even in punishing when he could, and not any other cause, as had been set forth in a long French letter addressed to him in a news-paper, by M. St. Luc de la Corne, had caused the desertion of the Indians. He justified, by precedent in the last war, and by the opinion of general count de la Lippe, the burning of houses, towns, or villages, lest they should be filled by enemies, who might thence annoy us. He wished ardently for an enquiry, and hoped the House would agree to the motion. | Sir Grey Cooper said, he could not sufficiently express his astonishment that gentlemen should torture words, and give them a construction that could not be warranted by the tenor of the proclamation: he recapitulated the whole of it, and inferred, from its tendency, that nothing cruel could have been intended by the part particularly alluded to ; the Americans were no longer to be treated as Americans, but as Frenchmen: that was all that was meant. He then read quotations from Puffendorff and Grotius, to prove that burning of towns that were nurseries of soldiers, or arsenals, or magazines of military stores, was perfectly consistent with the principles of civilized war. Mr. Burke instanced the letter of the marshal de Belleisle to M. de Contades, in the last war, which was intercepted by the English. It was held in so disgraceful a light, that it was published in the London Gazette, to prove to all the world, that the French, driven to extremities, were forced to renew the barbarities of war, and to desolate the country that they could not subdue ; and so strongly did this publication work on the French court, that in a proclamation they disavowed all knowledge of it: in so infamous a light did the barbarities of war appear to all Europe. He thought the most exceptionable words were, “that they had hitherto refrained from the extremes of war and the desolation of the country.” It was necessary, in order to decide on this point, to look back to the conduct of the war; had not almost every advantage been taken that the right of war among civilized nations could authorise? Thus, if
| END OF WOL, XIX.
the war was to be changed—if the lenity, the humanity, the toleration which had been hitherto observed, was to be foregone, and we had forbore nothing that the rights of war could authorise, then the plan now to be prosecuted was different from lenity and toleration, and was different from the laws of war. The laws of war were the laws of limitation, for war was constantly to be limited by necessity, and its calamities and ravages bound in by that plea alone. But the extremes of war, and the desolation of a country, went beyond all limitations; and as no necessity could warrant them, no argument could excuse them. To prove, by an example, the difference between the limitations of war, and the extremes of war, he stated, that it would be right and pardonable, because it would be necessary to burn any fort, garrison, or town, that would give strength to the enemy, and enable them to annoy you: it would be proper to burn any house from which the enemy fired upon you; but it would not be lawful, right, or pardonable, to burn any town, or house, that might, in process of time, give strength to the ene
my, but which could not now shelter them. “ The extremes of war and the desolation of a coun
try,” were sweet sounding mutes and to, but their meaning was terrible; they meant the killing of man, woman, and child, burning their houses, and ravaging their lands, annihilating humanity from the face of the earth, or rendering it so wretched that death would be preferable. And against whom was this dreadful menace pronounced? Not against the virulent and the guilty, but against those who, conscious of rectitude, had acted to the best of their ability in a good cause, and stood up to fight for freedom and their country. Lewis 14 of France, he said, ravaged and laid waste the Palatinate; and the great duke of Marlborough, in retaliation, ravaged Bavaria: it was held pardonable and fair to revenge the barbarity on the ally, rather than on the criminal herself, because there she was most vulnerable. Would not our enemies do the same 2 And would not every power be intimidated from allying with a nation who had thrown away every shadow of principle, and renewed the savage horrors of ignorant and uncivilized war 2 Lord North denied, in the most direct terms, that ministers had any intention of giving the least encouragement to the introduction of any new species of war in
America. He was much obliged to sir W. Howe for his favourable opinion of him; but begged leave to differ from him, in supposing that it was the fault of ministers that he was not better supported. He was certain they had done every thing in their power to co-operate with him ; and if the business had failed through any neglect, which he was inclined to believe it had not, he was fully convinced that ministers would be found to have done all that could be reasonably expected from them. Mr. Attorney General Wedderburn said, that the proclamation was as sober, conscientious, and humane a piece of good writing as ever he saw : he explained away the intention of the “extremes of war,' and asserted, that nothing could be done but what was necessary to self-preservation, which he avowed was a sufficient plea for all the horrors of war. Mr. Rous reprobated the proclamation, as containing the bloody principles of those by whom it was dictated. Scotch lawyers and Scotch statesmen, he said, had of late come into this country, and poisoned the fountain head of government. It was a melancholy truth, that their influence pervaded every department, and their principles had cankered the constitution. He was for the motion. Governor Johnstone approved of the proclamation throughout, and condemned the American Congress in the strongest terms. He thought no quarter ought to be shewn to them; and if the infernals could be let loose against them, he should approve of the measure. He said, the proclamation certainly did mean a war of desolation; it meant nothing else; it could mean nothing else; and if he had been on the spot when it was issued, he would have signed it. He declared he was of no arty. As to the commissioners, they had it not in their power to accept of either of the alternatives proposed by the Congress. They could not allow the independence of America, and they had not power to withdraw the army. They could indeed order a cessation of arms; but the Congress were not satisfied with that. Sir George Yonge said, it was well known the governor had disagreed with the Congress; how it happened, was needless to enquire; but if any man capable of harbouring such a thought, should conceive the idea of urging on this country to a thirst of blood against
America, though to the disgrace and ruin of this country, thereby gratifying his resentment, under colour of the public service, no arguments could be better suited to such a purpose than those of the governor. That this seemed strange from a commissioner sent out to make peace; that it must be a matter of concern to every one, to know why that peace, which every one had wished for last year, had slipt through our hands. That the Congress had agreed to treat on two conditions, one of which was left to our own choice, and one of which left the independence of America out, as a preliminary, if the force was withdrawn: that it was to be hoped, when the commissioners returned, all the proceedings would be laid before us. That the Manifesto breathed nothing but the indiscriminate exercise of the extremes of war; that those were sometimes practised, but always fatally to those who used them. That he had seen the Palatinate in 1763; that even then, marks were visible of the desolation made by the French in the preceding century. #. they had then defended it on the ground of the rights of war, of covering their frontiers, and of self-preservation; yet mankind revolted against the cruelty, and it was notorious that the blood which was then spilt, cemented the union of that combination and alliance, which in about ten years after shook the French monarchy to its foundations. That the case would be the same now; that, besides this, retaliation would follow; though, that out of the question, it was a disgrace to humanity, and to Great Britain, wantonly to shed blood even with impunity. That he had for some time thought we were a people devoted to destruction: that it now grew more certain, and we seemed resolved to deserve it: that the first capital symptom was, a total want of wisdom in our rulers; the last and finishing one was, a total want of humanity in the people. That we were now arrived, as to both these, to the utmost pitch we could reach; and it was scarcely a prophecy to foretel that we could not, and should not, and indeed we did not deserve to escape the consequences. The House divided: Tellers.