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certain it is, that government taxed the son of the Congress; therefore their vir. Americans without their consent, at a tues or their vices I neither praise nor centime when there was no desperate plea of sure; for I contend that the arbitrary necessity which threatened the safety of maxims adopted, and obstinately persisted this kingdom ; let it be remembered that in by government, was the sole origin of we were then highly respected abroad, the civil war, and to this day prevents the rich in commerce and prosperity at home, re-establishment of peace. I am very far with every advantage of profound peace. from attributing so general a revolt to the
The exercise of unlimited taxation may ingenious abilities of a few very private mark this for a house of American dele- gentlemen. Restore upon a solid basis gates, by American pensions, but that the faith of this nation towards the inhabi. people can only continue to elect their tants of that great continent; give up such own legal representatives, to record a lost measures as are only consistent with narconstitution." Nor could I conceive that row minds, court-juntos, and despotic our liberties were not endangered, when principles ; desist from persecutions which so desperate an attempt was formed, to had lighted up a spirit of resentment suffibreak the spirit of a people like ourselves, cient to warm the hearts of three millions who would not tamely submit to be treated of subjects, the Congress would then soon as inferior subjects, in point of constitu- sink into their original station of private tional representatives, and the blessings of citizens. limited monarchy. It is a maxim stated I judge the ministers to be dangerous by a noble and distinguished political servants to the state, not only by their rewriter (lord Bolingbroke) that * what- peated arbitrary declarations, but by strong ever be the fate of particular persons, facts which have arisen out of their own houses, or families, the liberty of the sub conduct, and which they dare the subject ject should be immortal.” But we have to counteract. The war is theirs, and the seen three millions of subjects condemned peace is to be theirs. We have charters unheard, and the faith of their nation to defend our liberties, and so once had broke, in order to support the powerful the Americans; and there is more to be faction of a few great families placed near apprehended from such ministers, when in the throne; themselves exclaiming in both prosperity, than adversity. Therefore it Houses of Parliament, to have recourse to is our duty to look to the use that will be arms, to justify such proceedings, as they made of the boasted victories, before we were conscious must be condemned, by are in love with the sound of them. I every possible idea of civil right, which look upon legions of conquerors, and constitutes us a free people.
legions of tax-gatherers, in a very different The Americans driven and necessitated light, the former they wisely hold up for to resist such arbitrary power, might well our admiration, but the latter suits their forget the respect which we are pleased views, their principles, and determinato suppose was due to the mother country; tions. To be separated for ever from when instead of considering their ad- | America, endangers our liberties and the dresses to the crown, you proceeded to de. happiness of every individual in this kingstroy their trade, laid waste their country, dom, much less than giving to the crown and totally abdicated that government, the rights and free privileges of subjects, there surely remained little reason to jus- who must become more numerous than tify such conduct, whether the Americans ourselves. I therefore contend, that the should declare themselves independent or attempts of government to claim a right of only unsubdued. I have always thought oppressing the subject, situated however it expedient for government to treat with distant from the capital, or varnished over the Congress, because it is easier to ex. with any pretence whatsoever, ought to be plain differences to a dozen of people, than opposed for the good of the whole empire. to three millions. Considering them as For there can be no natural divisions, no messengers from a vast body of subjects, I slavish distinctions constituted amongst think they should be treated with, listened us, without its ending in destroying the to, and answered; neither could the em freedom of the whole. The same motives ploying of them as peace-makers, upon which might induce a king to side with us constitutional principles, be establishing to enslave and oppress the Americans, their authority to rule over their fellow- may find a king to watch their growing subjects; or possibly confine the injuries strength, and then side with that people done to all Americans, merely to the per- to reduce us to an ignominious level with
themselves. Had the friends of liberty been fewer in numbers and strength, than those bred up in Popery and Tory principles, during the reign of James the 2nd, that monarch had been absolute. It was an injured so firmly bound together that shewed strength sufficient to drive that tyrant from the throne, and secured to us those rights of mankind which adds dignity to human nature; under which the whole empire flourished; and till we are a divided people all kings will look upon our liberties with jealousy, but not with contempt. The shadow of a pretence was at last thrown out, that terms of peace had been offered (by lord Howe's proclamation) upon constitutional principles, but when the motion made by a noble lord (J. o to ascertain the fact, was taken into parliamentary consideration, the mask of state hypocrisy was thrown off, and the Tory features of government’s instruction to the commissioners fully exposed. The pretended delicacy of treating with the Congress, was o an imposition upon men's understanding; for there are no proper persons to treat with, when you have nothing to offer And surely if bribing a few, and condemning the rest to vassalage, upon pain of death, can be construed constitutional terms of peace, they were extracted from the Hessian, not the English laws. I own, Sir, I feel for the Americans; if our boasted force of arms can drive them to look up to those ministers for mercy and redress, who have plundered and betrayed them, and whose first proof of integrity consists in declaring, they will not bind themselves to do one act of justice towards that country. ... Such, fairly stated, is implied . unconditional submission; terms not only unworthy theinjured Americans to listen to, but such as ought to strike every Englishman with indignation; to hear a language held for our gracious sovereign, more becoming some conquering tyrant and usurper, than the father of his people, and the sworn assertor of the laws. o must observe, that the new titles and favours bestowed on the supporters of this war, are not marks to discern the well-wishers towards America; neither can much clemency and protection be expected from those members who have been most expert at teaching us that pleasantry is preferable to humanity; that loyalty consists in risking the loss of half an empire, by acts of violence and oppression; or have distinguished themselves by
jesting over scenes, which from their horrors and injustice, even the savage Indian may have shed a tear upon. Such men and such measures I have opposed, and trust that I have stated sufficient grounds of justification, for the strongest opposition to a war, which evidently appears to have for its principal object, arbitrary power, supported by private avarice, and ambition; not public spirit, I may add not loyalty; for though the language of tyranny may flatter the passions of a monarch, and gain some earldoms and some contracts, yet, Sir, the loyal language of a Briton to his sovereign ought to consist in the welfare and affections of his subjects, which cannot be separated from his views, without making life a burthen to himself as well as to them. I shall always wish to address myself with proper respect towards every member here; conscious that were the same individuals assembled in any other house, than a house of parliament, no man would take his station amongst them with more humility than I would; but in this public cause, when the unjust massacre of thousands of fellow subjects, whose lives ought to have been held as sacred as our own, calls aloud for redress; and when the result of our unrelenting councils may be graven on the tombs of thousands more, it is a time to speak a plain and determined language; therefore if I should deviate a little from etiquette, I flatter myself the importance of the object will plead my excuse; that object is peace and commerce with America, which cannot be obtained by unconditional submission, nor by these detestable repeated acts of violence, hatred and oppression, but rather by dropping the point of the bloody sword, until America shall refuse the olive branch, placed on a constitutional code of laws, such as is neither unworthy the Americans to live under, nor of Great Britain to offer. Mr. Serjeant Adair condemned the principle of the Bill, and congratulated the learned gentleman who moved the clause, on having caused the difference of opinion among the crown lawyers to be made manifest, the mask to be drawn aside, and the intentions of the framers of the Bill to be exposed in all their naked deformity. Mr. T. Townshend said, it was no wonder that gentlemen should be staggered when the crown lawyers were known to have differed so materially in opinion. Men not bred to the profession of the law,
ought to consider seriously what they were about to do; when the very learned gentleman (Mr. Morton) who came with the best dispositions to support the measure, stopped short, and refused to go the length that other gentlemen, perhaps not less learned, but more sanguine, were willing to do. In such a diversity of opinion, he hoped the House would again consider the very unprecedented powers meant to be lodged in the hands of the crown; and if they should think the principle of the Bill necessary to be supported, that they would agree to the clause offered by his learned friend, at least to the amendment proposed by the hon, gentleman on the Treasury bench. Mr. Vyner, when he considered the great importance of the question, could not content himself with giving a silent vote; he should, therefore, declare his entire approbation of the clause offered by Mr. Dunning. He was yet to learn on what plausible ground administration could refuse the clause, much less the amendment. Lord North rose to exculpate administration from having an intention of introducing any unconstitutional precedents, or of desiring any powers to be entrusted either to the crown or them, which could be employed to oppressive or bad puroses. He assured the House, that he ad received no account of any foreign state having assisted America with arms, or any kind of naval or military stores. He believed the contrary to be the case, and must have heard if they had. Probably enough, the French and Dutch merchants, as objects of commercial profit, may have supplied the colonies, of: guilty of this species of prohibited commerce; but he imagined, he might say with certainty, that no traffic of this kind had been carried on under the sanction of either of the powers mentioned, or indeed by any other. He observed, that great objections had been made to the powers now intended to be delegated. He was sorry that such a jealousy should be entertained at any side of the House. He was certain that they fell considerably short of those granted on similar occasions; at all events, he imagined that the clause, as offered to be amended by his hon. friend near him, would completely remove every solid ground of objection, Mr. Adam coincided intirely in opinion with the Attorney General, that the clause was not wanting, and that even without it,
the Bill did not go far enough; that the present critical state of affairs rendered it necessary, that the most ample powers should be vested in the crown, in order to crush the unnatural and unprovoked rebellion now raging in America. He contended, that the powers now sought, should have been applied for much earlier, and affirmed, if they had, that the war we were now unhappily waging, with our own subjects, would have been long since extinguished. Indecisive measures, indecisively executed, were the leading characteristics of the present administration, at least, of some, who had influence enough, to counteract such as were firm and decisive; and he could not help observing and lamenting, that a greater curse could not befal a country, than fluctuating and divided councils. Divided as we were in cabinet and parliament, it was natural to expect that we must feel the fatal effects of such divisions, in the field, and every intermediate step that led to it. General Conway said, that administration had not only gone far enough, but beyond far enough; they had not only been decisive, but he feared much too decisive. It was impossible for them to be more obstinate and unrelenting than they had already proved themselves to be; or to resort to harsher means than they had all along steadily pursued. The whole train of measures, from the commencement, was a succession of acts, all seeming to tend to one favourite object, that of driving America to despair; and from acts committed under the force of that despair, to gradually compel them from dutiful remonstrance to factious resolves, from these to the cruel necessity of taking up arms to defend their natural, chartered, and constitutional rights, and at length, in the height of political rage and desperation, to throw off and dissolve all bands of legal government, by leaving them no other alternative but rank slavery or independency. Those means of recovering America having hitherto proved unsuccessful, he was astonished that we still continued to adhere to them. He affirmed, that we were no nearer making a conquest of America, than we were twelve months ago; and that, probably, if we persisted another year, in the same system of politics, France, when she found this country sufficiently exhausted, both in men and money, would take an occasion to break with us, and we should probably, in such an event, find ourselves engaged in a war
with the united powers of France, Spain, ment drawn from it, furnished so many Naples, Sardinia, and the emperor, with stronger motives for agreeing with the out a single ally strong enough to coun- Bill, and rejecting both the clause and terbalance such a junction of all the great amendment: he had told the House (and powers of the southern part of Europe. who could doubt so good an authority ?) He could not sit down without observing, that two of the members of the Congress that after all that ministers had promised, were at Paris, and that they were received nothing had yet been performed, in respect in a public character, in ihe light of enof the terms we were willing to grant to voys, or ministers, armed with full powers the colonies : how, then, was it possible from an independent state, treating upon to effect that favourite measure, of di- | preliminaries for a permanent and solemn viding and commanding? America must communication, and guarantee of their unconditionally submit, or agree to terms; respective interests. He did not see any no terms having been offered on our part ; necessity for either the clause on amend. the alternative was evidently, simple despo. | ment, yet he should not be against, nay he tism or simple conquest. It was, there had no objection to it, if its friends had fore, absurd to talk of dividing the Con- been contented with carrying it early in gress, or separating the people from the the day; but as the gentlemen who moved Congress, because by the present conduct and supported it, had been indulged with of administration, they did not permit a an acquiescence on the part of administrasecond party to subsist in America. His tion, and still continued to debate the prinopinion was not founded in a mere spirit ciple of the Bill, he should now most cerof opposition, nor in any other improper tainly vote against it. motives. He was sure it was pure; he Mr. Fox said, he admired the candour was certain it was uniform ; and he had and condescension of his learned friend, great reason to dread, that the final event in granting the favour of permitting the of the present unnatural war, would prove clause to make part of the Bill, if the that his fears and predictions were too | terms in which the favour had been asked well-founded.
had been accompanied with that degree of Mr. Adam rose to explain the words gratitude and submission the granting so far enough.' He did not mean to use high a boon deserved; if the debate bad that phrase in the loose, undefined manner, not been prolonged to this late hour, when it had been construed by the hon. general. it might be supposed the learned gentleHe meant substantially to say, that the man's presence might be more useful, and measures now pursuing by government more eagerly sought. Yet, upon consiwould have been more efficacious, in all deration, nice as the learned gentleman's probability, had they been taken up | feelings were, eager as he was to get out earlier ; and when they were taken up, of the crowd, careless as he was of his duty had they been carried into execution with in that House, and indifferent as he seemed more spirit and alacrity. No man was to the consequences of the Bill; in either farther from approving of sanguinary mea- or any event, he imagined his resentments sures than he was; and he always thought against conquered America, his native that the surest means in such cases, of pre- hatred of rebellion, bis zeal for governventing the effusion of blood, and all the ment, and his personal loyalty to the fadire calamities of a civil war, was by mily on the throne, might have been in adopting vigorous measures in time, and some degree gratified, without pushing executing them seasonably.
| this Bill to the extent he seemed to desire. Mr. Dunning was glad to learn, that it might allay the learned gentleman's administration had in some measure de- / thirst for public chastisement, and exemserted the Bill; he hoped they would de-plary punishment, when he could satisfy sert the amendment too. However, di- himself with the pleasing reflection that vided as they were, if they should insist on seven rebels were shoved into a room at both this night, it would produce a phæ- New York, and there burnt to death; of nomenon in politics—a divided ministry if that was not sufficient, another gentlecarrying a question on which scarcely two man, still, if possible, more zealous and of them were agreed, and which almost loyal, (Mr. Adam) might feast himself every individual of them had virtually de- with contemplating the glorious deed daily serted.
and hourly achieved in our southern coloThe Solicitor General said, the informa- nies and back settlements, where the sation given by Mr. Fox, and every argu- vages came down in great numbers (if the accounts received by administration them- the clause, and terror, dismay and defeat selves from that country were to be de- to all its supporters. He said, he must pended on) and massacred the innocent seriously congratulate the House, and the settlers in cold blood; and the slaves were nation at large, on the preservation of the meritoriously employed in the murder of constitutional freedom of this country, their unprepared, unsuspicious masters, from the stab that had been predetermined, through the encouragement of an admi- and covertly aimed at its inmost vitals, by nistration which had been this day so un- the Bill as it stood before the clause was justly arraigned, as sluggish and inert, as agreed to;, for if it had passed in that form, wanting spirit and alacrity, in the glorious he could with confidence affirm, that no work of blood and carnage; of planning Englishman, as long as it remained in force, nothing but tame, indecisive measures, and God knew how long that might be, still more tamely and indecisively exe- would have had the shadow of liberty left, cuted.
| or could be a minute secure against the The question was put on Mr. Dunning's most cruel attacks of public oppression, or motion, as amended by Mr. Cornwall, and private malice and revenge. He then aragreed to without a division.
gued against the principle of the Bill, and Mr. Fox wished the House much joy, said it was a dangerous and unnecessary and felicitated the nation in general on the Bill, even in its amended state; that still escape they had from, at least, a state of any man, who for pleasure or business haptemporary tyrannic dominion, which per- pened to be out of the realm, lay at the haps, all in good time, was meant to be ren- mercy of ministers, of his private enemies, dered perpetual. He congratulated the or of public informers. On the whole, his minority in particular, on their success this fears being at an end respecting the clause, day; who, he said, had corrected this very he was now at liberty to express his sentireprehensible Bill; though a minority, ments freely; and under that sanction he they had accomplished this alteration; the totally disapproved of the principle of the ministers were not only convinced, but Bill and of the clause; he looked upon the ashamed, and had accepted of the altera- Bill as a dangerous precedent; and learn. tion. It was no compliment to their / ing the true disposition and design of adfriends the majority, for they were ready ministration, from their conduct throughto pass the Bill as it was brought in. It out, he should give it a most hearty newas the minority, he repeated, who, though gative. a minority, had corrected this Bill, which The Solicitor General denied the interthe noble lord had brought in crude and pretation that had been put on his words indigested, imperfect and erroneous. The by the hon. gentleman. He gave him noble lord was obliged to his friends the credit for his wit, his humour, and flow minority, for digesting, altering, and cor- of imagery and expression ; but very little recting his Bill, not to his friends the ma- for his arguments or facts. What he had jority, who were ready to swallow it with said imported no more than this, that the all its original crudities, cruelties and er- learned gentleman who moved the clause rors. He then enlarged in a humorous, seemed to be contented, at least tolerably ironical strain, on the power of the learned satisfied, with the amendment moved by Solictor General, who threatened to damn his hon. friend; that the explanation given, the clause totally, and blow it out of the was seemingly the proper object of deHouse, if he was longer teased with the bate ; yet, after the explanation so given noise and nonsense of his opponents, and and approved of by the learned gentleman detained from his social enjoyments half or who moved the clause, gentlemen conti. a quarter of an hour beyond his time; and nued to debate upon other matters totally painted his own fears very humorously, lest foreign to the question before the House, some of the over-zealous friends of the and continued to urge arguments against clause should rise, and provoke the learned the Bill. As this seemed to be the pregentleman to carry his threats into execu- vailing opinion of those who opposed the tion. He was two or three times rising to Bill, and that for his part it was his opi. speak, he said, bút happily repressed his nion, as well as that of most of his friends, feelings, as he watched the countenance of that no such clause, mended or unamendthe learned gentleman, and imagined he ed, was necessary; he thought and he could perceive a glow of honest zeal, and believed very justly, that as the hon, gen. determined resentment overspread it, which tleman and his friends disliked and op: denoted the most inevitable destruction to posed the whole Bill, the question might [VOL. XIX. ]