Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

them, when his Majesty, contemplating me with a very polite, anonymous invitathe honour and glory in which he found tion to the Cockpit yesterday evening, will this empire at the death of his royal grand- here receive my thanks for his kind intenfather, assured the Commons, that “ the tions, and accept of my excuse for nonrights of all his subjects were as dear to attendance. I, indeed, never go to the him as any prerogative of the crown." Cockpit at Whitehall, nor to any other For this assurance, he should undoubtedly cockpit; and when, upon an enquiry, I have been among the first to vote an ad- understood that none resorted to that dress of thanks. He was not among cockpit, but such as were determined, at them, when his Majesty declared that it all events, to follow the standard of the was “ his determined purpose to counte- present men in power, I took for granted nance and encourage the practice of true 1 (and have not been much deceived) that religion and virtue;" that sensible of the speech and address there settled, would « our trade and commerce being the great be fit only for a cockpit, in the original source of national wealth, they should be meaning of the word ; that sort of theatre, the fixed object of his never-failing care so disgraceful to the humanity of Engand attention;" and when recounting the lishmen; a rendezvous for ruffians and rapid and important victories which had black-legs, to disport with the lives of inattended the British arms in every quarter nocence, generosity, and valour. The of the globe against a formidable foreign cockpit was the place in which he should enemy, the minister of that day did so far have judged the ministers to have learnt, justice to the benevolent feelings of his that the most effectual way to put an end royal master, as to state those conquests to the war, was by the tomahawks, and transcendantly glorious, “because effected cannibal fury of the Quebec Indians. The almost without any effusion of Christian worthy baronet who seconded the motion blood.” This was surely a speech from for an Address, presumes, that “ every the throne, that merited the unanimous man will admit the supreme sovereignty thanks of a British House of Commons. of this country to be vested in the legislaSir, since I have been in parliament, I have ture ;" but it seems the supreme sove. heard no speeches from the throne, but reignty is now transferred in fact to the such as have tended to deprive a great Cockpit, and we farcically meet here for no part of his Majesty's faithful subjects of better purpose than to confirm and registheir dearest rights, and unalienable liber- ter the acts of that more august assembly. ties; to bring one half of his people un- The best criterion, I imagine, from conditionally prostrate at the feet of the whence we can judge of the real sense of other half; such measures only as have parliament on the first day of the present “ unconstitutionally and dangerously ad session, is from considering what the sense vanced the regal prerogative;" proposi- of parliament was, respecting this horrible tions and sentiments “ subversive of true war, at the close of the session last year, religion and virtue," and utterly destruc- when you, Sir, with proper dignity and tive of the trade and commerce of this firmness, having touched upon the very country. And, to complete all, the mi. profuse sums which had been allowed by nisters who compose these speeches, and the Commons to the crown, for maintaindefile with them the royal lips, having, by ing the American war, observed, they had diabolical machinations, kindled a most been thus liberal, hoping that means would impious and horrid civil war, and from be found to stop the ravages of war, and time to time thrown store of combustibles the destruction of his Majesty's subjects, into the flames, recount the failure and without which there was but too much disgrace of the British arms instead of reason to fear, that consequences would conquest, and triumph in the effusion of ensue ruinous to the prosperity, perhaps native blood, and the massacre of thou. fatal to the safety of these kingdoms. sands of his Majesty's subjects, as equally Have such means been attempted, or grateful to parliament, with the most he- thought of by ministers? Why, then, are roic victories heretofore obtained over we assured in the Speech, that every opFrance and Spain. Such men, such prin- portunity will be watched to make peace ? ciples, and such practices, shall never be And why does the minister in the blue treated of by me without the strongest ribbon now tell us, that every man in the terms of execration. The gentleman nation wishes for peace? But, says the therefore, whoever he be, for I presume hon. member, who so ingeniously secondhe is not out of hearing, who favoureded the Address, however we may lightly touch on the original cause of the war, I find entrusted to convey the sentiments of that is not now the subject in point, “ we one or more of the revolted provinces ; have come to a decision; the dye is cast." and to assure his Majesty, that his faithful Here we are again brought back to that Commons, willing to go all justifiable favourite passage of the Rubicon, and the lengths to prevent a further effusion of jacta est alea; of a truth there is some blood, and to avert the dreadful calamities justice in the comparison, between our which accumulate on this divided empire, ministers crossing the Atlantic, and Cæsar are earnestly disposed, as a ground-work of crossing the river Rubicon from Gaul; for conciliation and amity, to co-operate with though these ministers, considered as the other branches of the legislature of statesmen, or as commanders, are no more Great Britain, in pledging the national like Cæsar, than I to Hercules, yet did faith, in the most explicit and sacred manhe, like them, take up the battle against ner, that no taxes nor contributions whatthe constitution of his country; and hav. ever, should henceforward, at any time, ing rashly made the first decisive step, be attempted to be levied on the colonies he saw no possibility of receding, without of North America, without the assent or the loss of his credit and his offices, pero concurrence of the immediate representahaps the forfeiture of his life; for his of- tives of the said colonies respectively." fences had been scarce less criminal than Mr. Luttrell asked if any country genthose of Cataline. What Cicero remark- tleman would now contend for taxation; ed of the march of Cæsar towards the ca- if so, he should only say such country pital of Italy, may also be well applied to gentleman was fitter for St. Luke's than our ministers: “ He came well provided for St. Stephen's. He did firmly bewith every thing,” says that celebrated | lieve, if taxation were once given up, and orator, “ excepting a good cause.” But that great minister, who early in the late before I dismiss this transaction of the war saved this country from utter ruin, Rubicon, which is so favourite a trait of invited again into office, with a lenient history with the leaders and over-rulers of disposition, to heal those wounds our civil administration, I would conjure them to distractions had made on either side the deduce from thence one wholesome lesson, Atlantic, and with talents and a spirit which is this: when Cæsar crossed the equal to so difficult a contest, if irremedia. Rubicon, he yet proposed to the senate, bly and unhappily necessary to continue to withdraw his army on certain very it, this nation might yet be saved. We humble conditions; and the matter being should then ascertain, whether the Ameagitated in the senate, Marcellus the con- | ricans, to a man, fight for nothing short sul, and the Patrician faction in general, of independence; and whether, as the held it unbecoming the dignity of the hon. seconder so positively insisted, “ the commonwealth, " to treat with rebels, only road to peace is through the havoc having arms in their hands ;” so they pre- and carnage of war ;" for his part, clear he served their etiquette, and in the course of was, such a change of men and measures a very few days, paid for it with the total would divide the continental Congress and loss of their power, and the annihilation army into factions, and so far answer a of the liberties of their country.

wise purpose; but, at all events, he fairly Mr. Luttrell then observed, that he owned, he thought any terms of reconcilia much approved of the Amendment, but ation more eligible than an exterminating wished it to have gone somewhat farther, i war; for he observed, that subjects, thus as the minister now positively declared, he subjugated, could only be treated in one would give up taxation, if such concession of the three following ways; you must were likely to effectuate a peace. With better their condition, which he presumed great deference to better judgment, he nobody could suppose these ministers, should therefore presume that, after con- with their scalping savages and German gratulations on the birth of a princess, he assassins, to have at all in their contemplashould wish to add, “humbly beseeching tion: if you refuse to better their condihis Majesty, that it be an instruction to tion, would you rule them by a military the commissioners in America to treat of force? If you attempt it, you assuredly preliminaries of peace, or a suspension of effectuate the third piece of policy, which hostilities, as expediency may require, is extermination; for, believe me, the with any convention, congress, or other American settlers will rather emigrate, collective body, or with any person or by whole provinces, far as New Mexico or persons which said commissioners shall | California, or even to those ice-bound islands lately discovered near the south, the patience of the English nation, under pole, than submit to military power; and the worst of the Stuart kings. The woryour best hope will be, to begin to colo. thy baronet who supposed the navy of nize that vast and fertile continent quite Great Britain, in our home ports, to be at anew, and for more auspicious ends, with present more formidable than the comyour Hessian and Brunswick birelings, bined naval force of France and Spain, who escape the conflict, and their fruitful had been grossly misinformed; but he trulls. Mr. Luttrell asked, if what the should reserve a discussion of that imporearl of Chatham had foreseen last season tant business to a future day. had not actually come to pass ? He told The House then divided on the Amend. you that the fair promises of the vernal ment: season would surely end in autumnal dis.

Tellers. appointments. Mr. Luttrell then com

Yeas SMr. Fox . . . . pared the conduct and catastrophe of ge

2

Mr. Byng ... neral Burgoyne, at the head of the northern

80 army in America, with that of Charles the Noes | Mr. Charles Townshend 1912 Bold, duke of Burgundy, when he issued

Mr. Robinson - - - Son the most severe proclamations against the So it passed in the negative. After brave Switzers in the canton of Berne, / which the original Address was agreed to. looking upon them as already conquered ; he carried with him chains to lead them Nov. 21. Lord Hyde brought up the captive at the feet of his cavalry, and he Report of the Address.' On the motion, gave them notice, that he would cause to that it be read a second time, be erected the most stately monuments to Mr. Turner declared, that he could not his martial fame, in the very heart of their agree with administration in their ideas of country. Sir, he fulfilled his promise: a pursuing the present war. That he had, monument they erected for him in the during the recess, taken the sense of his form of a charnel-house, filled with the constituents, at one of their most general skulls and skeletons of the invading army, meetings at York, where he candidly asked which was totally overthrown through the them, whether it was their opinion that intrepidity of the Swiss peasants near the the war should be prosecuted? If it was, town of Morat, and the victors furnished they had only to inform him so, and he his monument with this emphatic inscrip. would ever be ready to receive their intion : “ Carolus Burgundiæ dux inclitus structions. However, their opinion was, hoc sui monumentum reliquit,” &c. Mr. that peace should be concluded at all Luttrell said it was probably but in vain events. He wished he had a piece of to hold up such bloody scenes, in terro-Latin to express his sentiments more fully; rem, before the hardened authors and con- but, as it was, he begged leave to put a ductors of this unnatural quarrel; Mr. negative on the question. Speaker might as well put an hungry Mr. H. W. Hartley objected to the leech on the richest vein of his body, and question on the same principles, and incounsel with it not to draw blood, as to treated administration to seize the only talk with these contractors, pay-masters, moment they inight ever have of stopping treasurers, commissaries, and a long list of the calamities of this civil war. et ceteras, who traffic thus lucratively with Earl Nugent said, that the contest now the calamities of their country, to relin- was, not whether America should be dequish their hold, and confess their ambi- pendent on the British parliament, but tion and their rapacity satisfied. The mi- whether Great Britain or America should nority therefore, of which he should cer- be independent ? Both could not be so, tainly be one, had only to lament, that a for such would be the power of that vast sovereign, so moral and pious as ours now continent across the Atlantic, that was her on the throne, so humane and so gene- independence established, this island must rous, so capable of governing a free peo- expect to be made a dependent province. ple with honour, prosperity and renown, General Conway took a wide range should already have sacrificed one half of through the whole system of American his dominions, and desperately hazard the politics ; said he had been uniform in his loss of the other, to cherish and aggran- opposition to the measures that occasioned dize a more immoral and profligate, a more the war, and should remain so in opposing tyrannical and sanguinary, and in short, a those measures which led to a continuance more weak set of ministers, than ever tried of it. As to the minister's idea of the Americans laying down their arms in order, ment, till he came to the matter of treaty to be treated with, it was the height of with the rebels while in arms, to bring them folly : for as a soldier himself, and bred to back to dependence: when he begged arms, suppose he was investing a town, the them to consider the case of Oliver Cromgates of which he found shut, and the walls well, and ask themselves, if he had been manned, would not the proposition of informed that matters were accommodated « open the gates, and let me in, and then between the prince and parliament, whel'll treat with you,” be received with the ther he would have gone back to depenutmost astonishment and contempt? It dence? Certainly not. After paying Mr. was exactly the same, considered nationally. Fox a compliment on the exercise of his After condemning the use of the Indians, talents, when he avoided personalities, be he concluded by declaring, before God and concluded by giving his hearty concur. that assembly, that though the Americans rence to the question. might be culpable, yet, in his opinion, we Mr. Fox defended himself, and insisted were far more so.

upon it, that so long as the freedom of deThe Attorney General admitted there bate remained, his arraigning the public was something like an argument in the conduct of a minister could never be general's investiture of a town; but would deemed personal; that he had attacked it not be equally ridiculous on the part of the only man responsible, the secretary of the forces without, to receive a similar state for American affairs, though he atproposal from those within the citadel ? As tempted to screen himself, by saying, he to the use of the Indians, painful as such was only one of the ministers who advised a service must be to every mind, necessity the measure, for in the conduct of the last loudly demanded it; for in a contest of glorious war, who was responsible but lord this nature, such is the nature of man, that Chatham ? Would the duke of New. every step is taken to annoy his enemy; castle, Mr. Legge, or the chancellor, have but so far from this being the only bar. been called to an account for the consebarity of the present war, he had heard an quence of mismanagement or ill-successes? hon, member boast of that enthusiasm of No! none but Mr. Pitt, the then secretary the rebels in Canada, who swore alle- of state for the southero department. He giance to the King, and then turned upon thanked the gentleman who spoke last, for a detached party of col. St. Leger's, and the compliment he intended hiin, and, in cut them to pieces. The measure, he said, return, assured him he had more wit than was advised by a noble lord (G. Germain) Lucian or Swift, in bringing those oppoin the King's closet, and was approved of sites into the same point of view, which by the rest of administration, as an effectual Mr. Addison calls the test of wit. He means of subduing the rebels.

| ridiculed his historical proof of Cromwell, Sir George Savile dissented from the in inferring he would not have done a thing, question, from the same motives that had because he had not done it. After this he hitherto occasioned him to vote against replied to some of the Attorney General's government on the American war: he arguments,clearing some mistakes respecte said that the idea of convincing the Ame- / ing his account of the enthusiasm of the ricans of their errors by their swords at treacherous rebels in Canada, and then their throats, put him in mind of a passage sat down after dissenting from the question. in Shakespeare, where lady Macbeth says, The Solicitor General declared the ob“ I will with wine and wassel so convince, &c."

655 ject of the war was peace, and every man

C. | in Britain, he was sensible, wished for that. That his mind was fully made up upon the It was not the aim of administration to progrand point in dispute, and though on the cure it, by the unconditional submission of arrival of the late joyful news he had seen America. Their aim was, primarily to Washington shot, and hanged in effigy in oblige them to lay down their arms, and the country where he had been, which then to treat of condition. Not a hun. made him believe the present measures | dredth part of America was in arms. To had their advocates also out of doors, yet he | those armed, however, it was necessary to would express his detestation of them, and talk with arms. The honour of Britain rewished, but for the honour of his friends, quired that they should submit without that his protest could stand single and condition. He inveighed against the bit. alone upon the Journals of the House. terness of the invective that marked the

Mr. Adam spoke next, upon the old modern oratory of the House, and wished ground in general, in defence of govern- they would learn the art of glossing it over

with meekness and ingenuity, and make it at least more palatable.

Mr. Burke expressed no surprise that a gentleman, so conversant with the art of meek evasion and gentle simulation, should wish to introduce such new fashioned rhetoric; and yet he remembered the time when a gentleman, of nearly his appearance, dealt in as bare-faced invective, as language could compose, and that too against a noble lord, now his best and closest friend. He praised the gentleman's humanity for first cutting the throats of the Americans, and then wishing to truck up a conditional peace; and paid particular regard to an argument he had used, “ that he knew the Americans had as far back as 1762 aimed at independence, as a Mr. Morris had told him so.” Then, with manly emphasis, he asked, if that was known; if the ministry were apprized of that ; then they were guilty of baseness, deceit, and cruelty, in sending a few loose troops, avowedly to quell a puny riot.

The House then divided on the question, That the Address be read a second time:

[blocks in formation]

The King’s Answer to the Commons’ Address.] To the said Address his Majesty returned the following Answer:

“ Gentlemen ;

“I return you my hearty thanks for this dutiful Address.—The affectionate part you take in the happy recovery of the Queen, and the increase of my family, is highly acceptable to me.— The steady and zealous support of my faithful Commons, will, I trust in God, enable me to put an end to this unhappy rebellion. Whatever strength you shall place in my hands, shall be em...” only for the good of my people, and the welfare of my kingdoms; and be assured, that I wish for success in this great national cause for no other purpose but that it may enable me to restore peace and happiness to all my subjects.”

Debate in the Commons on the Navy Estimates.] Nov. 26. In the Committee of Supply,

Mr. Buller moved, that 60,000 men be employed for the sea service, for the year 1778, including 11,829 marines. The number of ships of war to be employed was 263. In the Mediterranean two 4th rates, two 6th rates, two sloops, and 1,200 seaInen- o

The Attorney General here said, it would be very improper to let our enemies know our particular weakness or strength; that if a rupture should happen, it would disclose our whole plan of military enterprize; and would instruct our enemies, if they entertained any hostile intentions, to assail us in the weakest part. So many vessels, of so many guns and so many men, stationed here; and so many more there; what was that, but plainly pointing out the very secrets which are of most importance, and constitute the very soul of military enterprize 2

§. Barré complained that the House should be called upon to vote a supply so great, without official information, respecting the present strength of the navy. He thought parliament had a right to know, as well what they were voting for, as that they were voting. The gentleman was proceeding to satisfy the House; but was stopped just as he had informed the committee that we had 263 ships and vessels of war. The learned gentleman was partly right, if he dreaded any information coming out which might be injurious to the nation; not but he was justified in having the question answered in the very terms the hon, gentleman in office seemed ready and willing to do. He was authorised to say, such a procedure was contrary to the usage of parliament; and trusted, however compliant the House was upon every matter relative to the American war, it would never endure such a refusal, without properly animadverting upon it. He observed, that the very same gentleman, who was now interrupted in his detail, had uniformly heretofore given it, whenever desired; and he remembered that king William, with a magnanimity that does his memory honour, in one of his speeches to that House, speaking of a naval expedition to the coast of France, which miscarried, so far from concealing his intentions, promised that he would make a similar attempt the very next year.

The Attorney General said there might be policy in that; that he did not wish to hold back any information, consistent with the safety of the motion. He acknowledged his own ignorance of such affairs,

« ElőzőTovább »