and defeats. I am astonished how any minister dare advise his Majesty to hold such a language to your lordships. I would be glad to see the minister that dare avow it in his place. What is the import of this extraordinary application ? What

but you can address; you can lull the fears and anxieties of the moment into an ignorance of the danger that should produce them. But, my lords, the time demands the language of truth:---we must not now apply the flattering unction of servile compliance, or blind com. plaisauce. In a just and necessary war, to maintain the rights or honour of my country, I would strip the shirt from my back to support it. But in such a war as this, unjust in its principle, impracticable in its means, and ruinous in its consequences, I would not contribute a single effort, nor a single shilling. I do not call for vengeance on the heads of those who have been guilty; I only recommend to them to make their retreat: let them walk off; and let them make haste, or they may be assured that speedy and condign punishment will overtake them. My lords, I have submitted to you, with the freedom and truth which I think my duty, my sentiments on your present awful situation. I have laid before you, the ruin of your power, the disgrace of your reputation, the pollution of your discipline, the contamination of your morals, the complication of calamities, foreign and domestic, that overwhelm your sinking country. Your dearest interests, your own liberties, the constitution itself, totters to the foundation. All this disgraceful danger, this multitude of misery, is the monstrous offspring of this unnatural war. We have been deceived and deluded too long : let us now stop short: this is the crisis--may be the only crisis, of time and situation, to give us a possibility of escape from the fatal effects of our delusions. But if in an obstinate and infatuated perseverance in folly we slavishly echo the peremptory words this day presented to us, nothing can save this devoted country from complete and final ruin. We madly rush into multiplied miseries and “confusion worse confounded.” Is it possible, can it be believed, that ministers are yet blind to this impending destruction ?—I did hope, that instead of this false and empty vanity, this over-weening pride, engendering high conceits, and presumptuous imaginations—that ministers would have humbled themselves in their errors, would have contessed and retracted them, and by an active, though a late repentance, have endeavoured to redeem them. But, my lords, since they had neither sagacity to foresee, nor justice nor humanity to shun, these oppressive calamities: since, not even severe experience can inake them feel, nor the imminent ruin of their country awaken them from their stupefacion, the guardian care of parliament must interpose. I shall, therefore, my lords, pro

but an unlimited confidence in those who have hitherto misguided, deceived, and misled you? It is, I maintain, unlimited; it desires you to grant, not what you may be satisfied is necessary, but what his Majesty's ministers may chuse to think so :

pose to you an Amendment to the Address to his Majesty, to be inserted immediately after the two first paragraphs of congratulation on the birth of a princess: to recommend an immediate cessation of hostilities, and the commencement of a treaty to restore peace and liberty to America, strength and happiness to England, security and permanent prosperity to both countries. This, my lords, is yet in our power; and let not the wisdom and justice of your lordships neglect the happy, and perhaps the only opportunity. By the establishment of recoverable law, founded on mutual rights, and ascertained by treaty, these glorious enjoyments may be firmly perpetuated. And let me repeat to your lordships, that the strong bias of America, at least of the wise and sounder parts of it, naturally inclines, to this happy and constitutional re-connection with you. Notwithstanding the temporary intrigues with France, we may still be assured of their ancient and confirmed partiality to us. America and France cannot be congenial; there is something decisive and confirmed in the honest American, that will not assimilate to the futility and levity of Frenchmen. ... My lords, to encourage and confirm that innate inclination to this country, founded on every principle of affection, as well as consideration of interest—to restore that favourable disposition into a permanent and powerful reunion with this country—to revive the mutual strength of the empire ;-again, to awe the House of Bourbon, instead of meanly truckling, as our present calamities compel us, to every insult of French caprice, and Spanish punctilio—to re-establish our commerce—to re-assert our rights and our honour—to confirm our interests, and renew our glories for ever (a consummation most devoutly to be endeavoured! and which, I trust, may yet arise from reconciliation with America)—I have the honour of submitting to you the following Amendment; which I move to be inserted after the two first paragraphs of the Address.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

troops, fleets, treaties, and subsidies, not to tell the King, that his affairs are in a

yet revealed. Should your lordships agree to the present address, you will stand pledged to all this; you cannot retreat; it binds you to the consequences, be they what they may. - My lords, whoever gave this pernicious counsel to the King, ought to be made answerable to this House, and to the nation at large, for the consequences. The precedent is dangerous and unconstitutional.

them avowed in this House, or in this country: principles equally unconstitutional, inhuman, and unchristian' - My lords, I did not intend to have encroached again upon your attention; but I cannot repress uny indignation—l feel myself impelled by every duty. My lords, we are called upon as members of this House, as men, as Christian men, to protest against such notions standing near the throne, polluting the ear of majesty. “That God and nature put into our hands.” I know not what ideas that lord may entertain of God and nature; but I know that such abominable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and humanity. What! to attribute the sacred sanction of God and nature to the massacres of the Indian scalping-knife —to the cannibal savage torturing, murdering, roasting, and eating; literally, my lords, eating the mangled victims of his barbarous battles! Such horrible notions shock every precept of religion, divine or natural, and every generous feeling of humanity. And, my lords, they shock every sentiment of honour; they shock me as a lover of honourable war, and a detester of murderous barbarity. These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation. I call upon that right reverend bench, those holy ministers of the gospel, and pious pastors of our church; I conjure them to join in the holy work, and windicate the religion of their God: I appeal to the wisdom and the law of this learned bench, to defend and support the justice of their country: I call upon the bishops, to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their lawn;–upon the learned judges, to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution: I call upon the honour of your lordships, to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your own: 1 call upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character: 1, invoke the genius of the oustitution. From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble lord” frowns with indignation at the disgrace

* Lord Effingham.—Lord Effingham Howord was Lord High Admiral of England against the Spanish Armada; the destruction of which * represented in the tapestry.


Who, I say, has had the temerity |

prosperous condition ? and who, of course, is the author of those assurances, which are this day given you, in order to mislead fou?

My lords, what is the present state of this nation ? It is big with difficulty and danger; it is full of the most destructive circumstances: I say, my lords, it is truly perilous. What are these little islands, Great Britain and Ireland 2 What is your defence 2 Nothing. What is the condition of your formidable and inveterate enemies, the two leading branches of the House of Bourbon 2 They have a formidable navy; I say, my lords, their intentions are hostile. I know it. Their coasts are lined with troops, from the furthermost part of the coast of Spain up to Dunkirk. What have you to oppose them 2 Not 5,000 men

of his country. In vain he led your victorious fleets against the boasted Armada of Spain; in vain he defended and established the honour, the liberties, the religion, the I’rotestant religion, of this country, against the arbitrary cruelties of Popery and the Inquisition, if these more than popish cruelties and inquisitorial practices are let loose emong us; to turn forth into our settlements, among our ancient connexions, friends, and relations, the merciless cannibal, thirsting for the blood of man, woman, and child' to send forth the infidel savage—against whom f against your Protestant brethren; to lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name, with these horrible hell-hounds of savage war!—hell-hounds, I say, of savage war. Spain armed herself with blood-hounds to extirpate the wretched natives of America; and we improve on the inhuman example even of Spanish cruelty; we turn loose these savage hell-hounds against our brethren and countrymen in America, of the same language, laws, liberties, and religion; endeared to us by every tye that should sanctify humanity. My lords, this awful subject, so important to our honour, our constitution, and our religion, demands the most solemn and effectual enquiry. And I again call upon your lordships, and the united powers of the state, to examine it thoroughly and decisively, and to stamp upon it an indelible stigma of the public abliorrence. And I again implore those holy prelates of our religion, to do away these iniquities from among us. Let them perform a lustration; let them purify this House, and this country, from this sin. My lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say more; but my feelings and indignation were too strong to have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed, nor reposed my head on my pillow, without giving this vent to my eternal abhorrence of such preposterous and enormous principles.

L 2 B )

in this island; nor more in Ireland; nor -“ The pride, pomp, and circumstance of above 20 ships of the line, manned and fit glorious war, that make ambition virtue." for service. My lords, without peace, No, my lords, if success is ever to at. without an immediate restoration of tran- tend the British arms, Britain must recur quillity, this nation is ruined. What has to her former means of conquest. America been the conduct of your ministers? How will never submit to be slaughtered by fohave they endeavoured to conciliate the reign mercenaries. If any thing is to be affection and obedience of their American effected, it must be by British levies, and brethren? They have gone to Germany; British valour. In such a cause, should . they have sought the alliance and assist the raising of British troops become ne. ance of every pitiful, beggarly, insignifi- cessary, I should cheerfully co-operate. I cant, paltry German prince, to cut the would, my lords, sell my shirt off my back throats of their loyal, brave, and injured to assist in proper measures, properly and brethren in America. They have entered wisely conducted; but I would not part into mercenary treaties with those human with a single shilling to the present minisbutchers, for the purchase and sale of ters. Their plans are founded in destruchuman blood. But, my lords, this is not tion and disgrace. It is, my lords, a all; they have entered into other treaties. ruinous and destructive war; it is full of They have let the savages of America danger; it teems with disgrace, and must loose upon their innocent, unoffending end in ruin. Our coasts are daily insulted; brethren ; loose upon the weak, the aged, our seas are torn with American privateers; and defenceless; on old men, women, and we are destitute of protection; and we children; on the very babes upon the have lost the port of Lisbon, the only safe breast, to be cut, mangled, sacrificed, resort of our feels, ships of war, and merbroiled, roasted, nay, to be literally eat. / chant-men, Should France and Spain These, my lords, are the allies Great Bri- / throw off the mask, and declare against tain now has ; carnage, desolation, and us; should we continue to prosecute the destruction, wherever her arms are carried, same destructive system we have been now is her newly adopted mode of making war. for the three last years unhappily and Our ministers have made alliances at the madly engaged in, that truly alarming German shambles; and with the barbarians event cannot be far distant. Those powers of America, with the merciless torturers of will most inevitably profit of our want of their species; where they will next apply, wisdom, if we do not immediately prevent I cannot tell; for my part, I should not be it. The moment is critical, our situation surprised if their next league was with the is perilous, and we should trust as little as king of the gypsies, having already scoured possible to events, which, according to all Germany and America, to seek the as- every probable appearance, are more likesistance of cannibals and butchers. The ly to make against, than for us. arms of this country are disgraced, even My lords, the House of Bourbon is in victory as well as defeat. Is this con- ready to break with us; they abet the sistent, my lords, with any part of our for- cause of our subjects. Now is the time, mer conduct? Was it by means like these my lords, in which only we shall have it in we arrived at that pinnacle of fame and our power to treat with America. France grandeur, which, while it established our and Spain have done a great deal; but reputation in every quarter of the globe, they have declined to do all that America gave the fullest testimony of our justice, has desired. America is in an ill humour; mercy, and national integrity. Was it by it may now be detached from its connecthe tomahawk and scalping-knife, that tions with those powers, if reasonable British valour and humanity became in a terms of aceommodation are held out to manner proverbial; and the honours of them; if not, the opportunity will be lost; war, and the eclat of conquest, became an opportunity, I will venture to say, we but matters of secondary praise, when shall never again have. But your lordcompared to those of national humanity ships will ask, supposing we were willing and national honour? Was it by setting to treat, is America equally well inclined? loose the savages of America, to embrue To this I shall generally answer, that I their hands in the blood of our enemies, think the political connection and supethat the duties of the soldier, the citizen, riority of this country with and over Ameand the man, came to be united ? Is this rica is indissoluble and indisputable. I honourable warfare, my lords ? Does it think this empire to be entire, but the pecorrespond with the language of the poet culiar rights, privileges, and immunities of

its several constituent parts, to be sacred and inviolable; I was consequently against any express parliamentary avowal of that right, because I thought it impolitic and unnecessary; [His lordship alluded to the Declaratory law.] but as to America, and its views of independency, I must own, I always looked upon that country to be as much a part of Great Britain, to every purpose but that of taxation, as Devonshire, Surrey, or Middlesex. When I say this, I would be perfectly and clearly understood, to reserve the colonies their municipal rights; the preservation of their charters; and above all, the right of taxing themselves; for without this last right, I can never be brought to believe that America will return to its former state; or if it should, that the colonies would have, in truth, any thing they could justly call their own. I would have your lordships consider what this unlimited claim of taxation goes to, that a venal herd, at 3,000 miles distance, assume to themselves the power of disposing of the fortunes and estates of a people, whose temper, abilities, and dispositions, whose wants, grievances, or material interests, they are totally ignorant of. There are many men of property in America; and of landed property too. Mr. Washington, who now commands what is called this night the rebel forces, is worth 5,000l. a year; there are many others, men of considerable fortunes, sense, and understanding. Can it be believed, is it natural to expect, that such men of native weight, abilities, and consequence, will ever acknowledge a right of taxation, which would subject their property to the arbitrary controul and disposition of persons with whom they are totally unacquainted and unconnected 2 The idea is absurd. The Americans are a wise, industrious, and prudent people. They possess too much good sense, and too much spirit, ever to submit to hold their properties on so precarious and disgraceful a tenure. They see us, besides, immersed in luxury, dissipation, venality, and corruption; they perceive, that if even they were willing to contribute, to what purposes their contributions would be applied; to nothing but the extinction of public and private virtue there, as has already been the case here. The idea of taxation, my lords, I think, therefore, both unjust and impracticable; but the great bond of union, the only tax we should or ought to expect from them, that derived from their trade, must be secured. I will never con

sent to the American claims of sovereignty. If there be any in this House who contend for it, I disclaim all connections with them. I shall be ever for securing the constitutional dependency of the colonies on this country; and it is principally with that view Imake the present motion, which is solely directed to that point. An opening now presents itself. I would wish your lordships to embrace it. ... I mean to propose a cessation of hostilities, as the first step towards so desirable a work. If your lordships should approve of it, I mean to follow it with a proposition for appointing a committee to consider of such immediate measures as may empower the crown to send commissioners, vested with certain powers, to treat on specific terms; and if America should prove deaf to all reasonable overtures on our part, in which, as the basis of the whole, the preservation of the Act of Navigation should be one; then it will remain with your lordships to consider of the properest measures to compel them to a performance of that duty, which they would, by so unnatural a conduct, most unjustly withhold. I think I might safely o; myself that such an offer would not fail to succeed. I know that faction reigns in some part of America, and that, probably, some who compose that faction look for independency, and nothing else. I know, too, that the middle colonies are more temperate, and that they, and those to the southward, if they had the security now mentioned, would gladly return to their former state. Many other objections may be raised against such a plan. It may be said, who shall offer, and where will be the security on either hand for a faithful performance, should the troops be withdrawn, or the levies disbanded? To this I answer, not by any declarations of right here, or assertions of it there, but barely by operative acts here, consented to, acknowledged and ratified by the several assemblies in America. These are my ideas, founded, I believe, on a thorough knowledge of the people of that country. I know that the war you are carrying on there is a ruinous one, and totally impracticable. I know, if you should determine to prosecute it, you must raise home levies; for I am persuaded that the colonies will never consent to treat with you, nor submit, while there is a single foreign troop in your service. His lordship then moved an Amendment to the said Address, by leaving out from the end of the second paragraph to the

end of the motion, and instead thereof inserting the following words; “And that this House does most humbly advise and supplicate his Majesty to be pleased to cause the most speedy and effectual measures to be taken for restoring peace in America; and that no time may be lost in proposing an immediate cessation of hostilities there, in order to the opening of a treaty for the final settlement of the tranquillity of those invaluable provinces, by a removal of the unhappy causes of this ruinous civil war, and by a just and adequate security against the return of the like calamities in times to come. And this House desire to offer the most dutiful assurances to his Majesty, that they will, in due time, cheerfully co-operate with the magnanimity and tender goodness of his Majesty for the preservation of his people, by such explicit and most solemn declarations and provisions of fundamental and irrevocable laws, as may be judged necessary for ascertaining and fixing for ever, the respective rights of Great Britain and her colonies.” The Earl of Sandwich. I am persuaded of the great talents of the noble earl, who has now presented you with so alarming a state of our public affairs. His powers of oratory are universally acknowledged, and that with great justice. This nation owes him very signal obligations, as a senator and a statesman; but, with all possible deference for the noble lord’s abilities and opiniens, I freely confess, that I cannot agree with his lordship in a single argument he has urged in support of his amendment. Oratory is one thing, my lords, and truth, reason, and conviction another. When the matter the noble earl has urged this night is separated from the manner and oratoric powers which has accompanied it, it will be found to contain nothing that can induce your lordships to dissent from the address now moved. It is, in my apprehension, though urged with all possible plausibility, totally destitute of any thing which bears the resemblance of argument. The noble lord has, I presume, been much misinformed : otherwise he would never have asserted what I know myself to be unsupported by fact. I do not impute to his lordship any intentional design to mislead; but speaking of matters within my own knowledge, I hope his lordship will excuse me for dissenting from him, and endeavouring to set the House right on facts, which, if not contradicted, might be presumed to be true. I should

not have, indeed, troubled your lordships, if I had not looked upon myself specially called upon to explain what must have come under my own cognizance, in my official situation, as presiding at the naval department. It is rather a disagreeable task. There may be many strangers and foreigners present; and what passes here this night, in discharge of my duty, as an official man, may be wafted by the next post to the continent; but the noble lord's assertions call for explanations. Lest therefore, it should get out into the world, that the noble earl’s confident assertions, respecting our navy, are just, I shall crave your lordships’ indulgence, for entering a little more than usual into detail. I do not, my lords, mean to controvert his lordship's facts on mere memory, I speak from authorities not to be contradicted. The noble earl asserts, that the whole of our naval home-defence does not amount to 20 ships of the line, fit for the sea. [Contradicted.] I mean, that we

had not 20 ships of the line manned for

actual service. I tell the noble earl, that he has been misinformed; and that he should not again credit those who have in this instance so grossly deceived him. I have the list now before me; and I will venture to assure him, that we have double that number. We have now 42 ships of the line in commission, in Great Britain; 35 of which are completely manned, and ready for sea at a moment’s warning. These 35 ships, when their complements are full, require 20,890 men, seamen and marines included. Of this number, 18,240 are actually shipped, and the remainder are ready as soon as called for. The deficiency is composed of 2,035 marines and 600 seamen, who are now at the several ports. The marines are on shore, on purpose to improve them in discipline, and the use of arms; two-thirds of them being nearly composed of recruits; the 600 seamen are distributed aboard the other seven ships, whose complements are not yet formed. Those seven ships will require 4,000 seamen and marines, in the proportion of 700 marines to 3,300 seamen. Of the seamen, there are 900 already on board those seven ships; so that of the 42 ships of the line in commission, all sound, provided, and well found, there are 2,400 seamen and 700 marines wanting. The former can be procured at a very short notice, by the means of a press, or on an emergency, recalling the protections now out, and other justifiable means; and o

« ElőzőTovább »