the consequence of American independence must be the loss of Newfoundland, and all our sugar islands; for by their alliance with France and Spain, their united fleets in that part of the world would be much too powerful for any force we could keep there. He voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act; because he was of opinion, that we had a right to tax America; and he was satisfied that the country gentlemen were so thoroughly convinced of the supremacy of parliament over the colonies, that they would never have consented to a repeal of the Stamp Act, if it had not been accompanied with the Declaratory Act. He did not hesitate to affirm, that the rebellion in America was fomented, nourished, and supported by the inflammatory speeches, and other means, used by the incendiaries in that House; but he trusted the nation, notwithstanding all the disasters which had happened, was still equal to the chastisement of all its foreign and domestic foes. Mr. T. Townshend insisted upon knowing why so immense a sum was necessary, and he hoped some gentlemen in office would explain it in a clear and distinct manner. He likewise observed, that we had taken the most effectual method to drive the Americans into the arms of France and Spain, by the prohibitory, and other cruel and oppressive laws we had passed. They were now no less formidable at sea than land. Their navv had thrown the capital of our sister kingdom into the utmost confusion. Liverpool was threatened; Glasgow in danger; and the very channel of St. George saw their ships ride with impunity, nay triumph, along Our COasts. Mr. Burke rose, and after expressing his surprize at the enormity of the charge, told the House he was the representative of one of the first counties, and most poulous, commercial town, except London, in the kingdom. He believed his constituents so one tenth part of the supplies granted by this House; he therefore thought it his duty to search into the reasons of the supply called for; and, as this appeared so enormous and unreasonable, so unprecedented and unaccountable, he would have the most particular information—he would be acquainted with every item—he would know every reason for the grant—he should consider himself a thief, without interest, if he permitted his constituents' pockets to be picked without being told for what or wherefore. I want,

[ocr errors]

said he, to hear why such quantities of ordnance, and such numbers of men, were wanted. Some person in the cabinet must —shall inform me. I will not leave this seat, nor depart from this House, till I am satisfied. I think I shall be excused by my country, if I speak again and again on the subject—if I trangress the point of order, and urge suit by many repetitions. I shall think myself within the best point of order, if I adhere to the interest of my constituents, and not suffer their pockets to be picked for moonshine. I promise you, Mr. Speaker, I will not go to supper, nor regard order, till I am satisfied. What! the enormous sum of 683,000l. for ordnance, 140,000l. more than was voted for the year 1759, when we were at war with France and Spain, and had armies in America, in the West Indies, and over all Europe, and immense fleets full of cannon over all the world, in every sea, and in every climatel Is it not strange and unaccountable Ought we not to inquire into this new proof of ministerialism? In 1759, we employed 250,000 men. This year we have 89,000, and yet a greater sum by 140,000l. is wanted to supply the ordnance Common sense revolts at the idea—laughs at the absurdity. He then went into a long disquisition, and in progressive order enumerated the many measures of government that had induced him to be consistent in abominating the war: and concluded with calling again for information. Mr. Langlois said, one great reason of the advance was, that the train were acting in a hostile country in every sense of the word, so that every equipment was prepared and forwarded from hence at a greater expence than usual. Mr. Burke was obliged to the hon. gentleman for his explanation. America was an hostile country; and our troops met the most absolute hostility ever known; but that was no reason. He wanted to be informed particularly, why such equipments were necessary, and why so many men were there? Sir Charles Frederick said, that sending the artillery companies in three different bodies, to serve under as many generals in different places, had been attended with double the expence of what would have been necessary, had they served in one corps: that the .. troops in British pay in the last war, found themselves in ammunition, and that was the reason why the estimate in 1759 was not more than

doable what it appears to have been, as landed and commercial interests of this that was an estimate only for ordnance country, afford any arguments to withhold stores for the British troops.

your hand, now is the time to attend to Lord North said, that though we had them. 250,000 men in pay in 1759, yet the ord. To give you in one view the amount of nance estimate was made only for the the American war hitherto, with the suBritish forces, which were only a very peradded expences of only one more camsmall part of that number. That the sub-paign, will make a stupendous total. Such sidies paid to the German princes included a total, as if the House had been apprized the ammunition, stores, &c. and were pro of it but two years ago, I think the most vided for apart and independent of the bigotted advocate for the war would have ordnance estimate: that he had not ex. hesitated. But it was a master-piece of pected such a motion would have been craft in the administration, to lead us on made, or he would have examined the es- insensibly, concealing from the public the timates of 1759; that he would take the fatal consequences, till we were plunged first opportunity to do it, and imagined in too far to retreat. The House must upon inquiry he should be found to be well remember at the opening of the first right in his opinion. There were a thou- session of this parliament, which was the sand other circumstances, which consti- beginning of the war, that a 3s. land-tax tuted the difference; but the chief was, was voted before Christmas, to take off the the including in the one, and the excluding alarms of the landed gentlemen. Your : from the other, the expence of the German seamen were reduced to 16,000 men, artillery. We paid for them at both which is the lowest establishment for properiods; but in 1759, the charge, though found peace. The minister amused the in effect essentially the same, was placed public in that session with paying off a to a separate account. He would, how million of the national debt. All this was ever, compare the estimates, which would done to lead you insensibly on, by false enable him to give a more particular and pretences, till it was too late to retreat. full explanation on a future day.

| Unfortunately, the minister obtained his Mr. Burke was happy, that he had set end : the deception was universally encou. the premier to study; and should de- raged. Those who would have advertised pend upon his honour, for a satisfactory you of these deceptions, and of your dananswer,

gers, were browbeaten and discounteThe Resolutions were then agreed to. nanced; even a patient hearing was de

nied to them. In this particular depart. Debate in the Commons on Mr. Hart. ment of the revenue, I have made it my ley's Motion relative to the Enormous Ex business every year, to lay a true and acpences of the American War.] Dec. 5. Mr. curate state before you, in opposition to David Hartley said :

those premeditated and treacherous fallaSir; the great importance of the sub-cies which have been imposed upon the ject, upon which I shall offer some opi. House by the authority of the administranions to the House this day, will, I hope, tion. I should think myself unworthy of plead my apology, for the trouble which iany farther confidence of this House, if I am going to give them. I wish to call their had been the author of all those fallacies, most serious attention to the extravagant which have brought this country to the and boundless expences of the American brink of ruin. But, Sir, I have never war, which after all is an impracticable deceived you, nor have I offered any idle project, as well as unjust, and universally tales or visionary calculations to the House. destructive. I take this early part of the Your Journals will bear me testimony. session to state the expences of the war, | The superior authority of the minister's if it should continue another campaign, opinion in this House overbore mine. that you may be apprized in time. What Upon his authority they gave a negative is called the budget day is usually at the to those estimates and calculations, which, end of the session; when all measures of however, in the result have proved true. the year are decided upon; it is then too That they have proved true, this House late to consider of the expences; measures and the nation now know to their cost. I that are predetermined must be supported, once more offer myself, in humble defercost what they will. But if the enormous ence to their wisdom, but claiming some expence of this fatal war, and all the confidence in their opinion. I say to you, rainous consequences which await the now; Trust no longer those false prophets,

who have so constantly misled and de- / any other probable total is nearer to the ceived you. Your hasty confidence in presumptive proofs, I shall be open to conthese deceivers has already cost you twenty viction, and ready to alter the terms of the millions, and perhaps 20,000 lives. Stop second motion, according to the result of here, and consider a little the business the debate. If the account be overwhich you are involved in. If the warning rated, or under-rated, I can rectify acwlıich you have had from a cruel and decordingly; but let us at least know, what is structive experience, will not make you the probable estimate that we must reckon wiser, I know not what will; but hence-upon. Call it near 30 millions, or more forward, at least, that blindness and cruel. | than 30, or between 30 and 40; I believe ty must be wilful, which can proceed to this last phrase will be nearer than any sacrifice thousands upon thousands of the other. I have always submitted my lives of your fellow subjects; and of those thoughts fairly and openly to the House, unfortunate men, who would still have and to the comments of the noble lord at been our fellow subjects, had it not been the head of the Treasury: the estimates for the dark and. ruinous counsels and which I formerly laid before you, have conduct of our ministers. Why will you never been found fallacious or extravagant. add another twenty millions to all the waste | Surely, Sir, I ask nothing unreasonable; of public money, which has already been I only ask that you will think before you so profusely lavished ?

act. I have prepared estimates of the ex- ' I am aware of an objection which the pences, which probably may be incurred, noble lord may make, not to the matter, if you proceed to another campaign ; but to the time. It may be said, that this which if the House is so disposed, I will discussion more properly belongs to the lay before them. According to my com- committee upon the state of the nation, putation, the total of the American war, as which is appointed to sit after the holisupposed to continue only for one more days. To which I can only reply, that I campaign, in 1778, will amount to between am solicitous to throw out to the House, 30 and 40 millions. The documents upon the state of the concomitant expences of which I form this opinion, are now lying the war, in the earliest part of the session, upon your table. I have collected out hand in hand with your vote for the land from the papers of the House, the ex- tax, that the landed gentlemen may be pences of the navy, army, and ordnance, I apprized what they are preparing for them. during the late war, and in the present war, selves. If they do not interpose, to stop both upon the ordinary estimates, and the the farther progress of this destructive extraordinary and contingent expences. I war, 4s. in the pound will be entailed upon have endeavoured to select such circum- | them for ever: and I will venture to prostances as are similar to the present; and phesy to them, that 45. in the pound will to adapt others, with such suitable allow. not be all that they will have to pay. In ances, as may assist us in the inquiry. the consideration of an infinite multitude My first motion is conceived in very general of matters, which will come before the comterms, viz. That it is the opinion of this mittee upon the state of the nation, the House, that the farther prosecution of the landed interest may not have that preAmerican war must be attended with an eminent consideration that I wish. I look enormous expence. The term 'enormous' upon the landed gentlemen as the watchis the favourite word of the noble lord at men and guardians of the state, therefore I the head of the Treasury; therefore, Sir, would have a word with them in the fore. I think I may depend upon him, for second most place, and before the storm rages, ing this preliminary motion of mine. My which is coming on apace, to confound second motion, is the specific point upon | land, funds, manufactures, and commerce which the debate will turn, viz. Whether in one common ruin. the total expence of the American war may | The ruin is universal, and without probably, by the end of the next campaign, bounds; your naval power will be ex-' amount to between 30 and 40 millions. hausted, and the very sources of it destroyMy reason for putting the preliminary ed; your armies are baffled and disgraced ; motion as I have done, is this ; that in one entire army is swallowed up, and perthe debate upon the first motion, the haps another may soon be in a condition not specific matter of the second motion will much better. I pretend not to any sagabe discussed; and if upon that discus- city above other persons, but I have endeasion it should appear to the House, that l voured to get the best information of the

temper and powers of America, from the home, we should meditate nothing against wisest and most informed persons, and from you. A little time so given for cooling on those who are at all times friends to recon- both sides, might have excellent effects. ciliation and peace, and who have been But you will goad and provoke us; you very sincerely well-affected towards this despise us too much; and you are insensicountry. I told you, three years ago, that ble of the Italian adage, That there is no America would turn out an army of little enemy. I am persuaded the body 50,000 men, which you then laughed at, of the British people are our friends ; but and would not believe. I have told you they are changeable, and by your lying that they were united, and that you could gazettes may soon be made our enemies. not touch a hair of the head of America: Our respect for them will proportionably you have found it true. The men that diminish; and I see clearly we are on you send thither are devoted to certain the high-road towards perpetual enmity, destruction. Ibunt, et redibunt nunquam. hatred, and detestation. A separation will The whole conduct of the ministers of this, of course be inevitable. It is a million of country has been folly and impotent rage. pities so fair a plan as we have been enIf they cannot conquer, they will destroy.gaged in, for increasing strength and emEvery salutary warning has been despised; 1 pire with public felicity, should be destroyprudent plans and counsels, as well as per- ed by the mangling hands of blundering nicious ones, have been laid before you. It ministers. It will not be destroyed. God cannot be doubted but that Dr. Franklin will protect and prosper it. You will only was well acquainted with the true state and exclude yourselves from any share in it. temper of his own country, and of his own We hear more troops and ships are coming countrymen. He has given full warning out. We know you may do us a great to this country, both in public and in pri deal of mischief; but we are determined vate, of the ruinous consequences of the to bear it; patiently as long as we can; measures which have been adopted. The but if you flatter yourselves with beating prudence of his advice, and prophetic us into submission, you know neither the warnings to this country, stand upon re- people nor the country. The Congress is cord; he gave them publicly at your bar still sitting, and will wait the result of their in the year 1766; he gave a most material | last petition.” helping hand towards the restoration of And what was the result of this last pepeace in that happy year; if his advice had | tition? His Majesty was advised by his been followed in the subsequent measures, ministers, fatally for the honour, interest, we should not now be dipped in blood. I will and justice of this country, to say, that with permission, read to the House a letter no answer should be given. What then which I received from him in 1775, at a time was there left for the Americans, but to when we were all fellow-subjects together, take up arms in their own defence, when and before that fatal Prohibitory Act, by their petitions were rejected unheard, and which you cast your colonies out from your the whole force of this country, and all the protection. I did read it to you in my mercenary forces of Europe, were sent to place, within a few days after I received it; invade them? but you were then confident of having I have often said in this House, and I America under your feet, and despised must repeat it, that I shall never call these every proposition recommending peace men rebels, nor their cause rebellion, but and lenient measures. The letter is as a justifiable resistance. You cannot look follows:

into your own Bill of Rights, but you will “ Philadelphia, October 3, 1775. see a formal recognition of the right of re“I wish as earnestly as you can do for sistance in the subject. When the liberties peace, and should rejoice exceedingly to and privileges of a British subject are inco-operate with you for that end; but vaded, and his petitions rejected, every every ship from Great Britain brings some such subject has a right to the use of arms intelligence of new measures that tend in his own defence. So says the Act more to exasperate ; and it seems to me, which is declaratory of the rights of the that until you have found, by dear expe- British constitution, and the corner-stone rience, the reducing us by force impracti- of all the liberties which we enjoy in this cable, you will think of nothing fair or | country.' As, in my opinion, upon these reasonable. We have, as yet, only re constitutional principles, the resistance in solved, on defensive measures. If you the beginning of these troubles was justiwould recall your forces, and stay at fiable on the part of the Americans, who were then our fellow-subjects ; I must now, | would not offer any conditional terms of subupon the same principles, consider our per- mission to your colonies. You gave them no severance as the continuation of an unjust alternative, but independence, or uncondiwar on our part against them. And what tional submission. They are now in posseshave you got by this war? You have sion of independence, and you cannot wrest gained nothing, but you have lost thirteen it from them. Sir, you know my sentiments provinces. It is to those ministers, who upon this matter of independence; I have have systematically invaded their rights, laid them before the House upon former and rejected all their petitions, that you occasions. I confess, that I do not see the are indebted for this loss; they have sum- horrors attending the legislative indepen. med up all their pernicious measures in dence of your colonies, that many persons this last fatal act, of advising the King to do. If I could flatter myself, that the reject unheard the united petition of all House would consent patiently to hear the American colonies. That man has such a proposition debated, I think their much to answer for to this country, who terrors would vanish; and after all, you advised that fatal measure; and I hope cannot help yourselves. There is no wisthe time will come, when this House will dom in declaring a thing inadmissible, that address the King to know who did advise certainly must and will come to pass. If it. It was done just upon the eve of the the House would lend a favourable ear to accession to office, of the noble lord who is such a proposition, I should conceive a now at the head of the American depart- ray of hope, that things might still end ment. I do not charge it upon him, be- well. cause I have no specific grounds for such! I have in my hand a proposition, which a charge ; but thus much I am free to say, I read to the House last year, drawn up in that the spirit of such a measure is more the shape of a proposed address to the conformable to the system which has been | King. Perhaps a cooler reflection, and followed since his accession to office, than the course of events which have lately hapto the system which prevailed before, and pened, and the present state of your affairs, which was set aside to make way for him. may induce the House to lend a tolerating Of another fact, however, we are well as- ear. I will, with their permission (as they sured, and of the author and adviser. seem not unwilling to hearken at least) Since the noble lord at the head of the repeat such parts of that proposed address, American department came into office, his | as contain the arguments for the legislaMajesty has been advised not to lay the tive independence of America. If I were least scrap of information before the permitted, I would recommend to the House. Before that time we had some House to lay sentiments before the King information from the correspondence of to the following effect. That all good gothe plantation-office laid before us. That (vernment is established for the safety and information was partial indeed, and gar- content of the people, as expressed by the bled; but now the minister holds up his general voice and common consent of the head in a haughtier stile; he does not members of any community; and that condescend to take the least notice of whatever superintending power or controul parliament, or to give us the least scrap a parent state may be intitled to, in the in. of information. We know that he is re- fancy of any colony, as for the common sponsible, and that by secreting all infor- good of any such colony in its infancy, yet mation, he takes a great risk of re- that the ultimate end of all colonization is, sponsibility upon himself: but what is the and ought to be, to establish kindred and consideration of a private person to the derivative communities into perfect sociegreat interests of the whole state at ties, in the fullness of population, settlelarge? If he shall ever be found to have ment, prosperity and power. These prinsecreted information from parliament, ciples are not only founded in the nature of which might have guided the counsels of mankind, but are peculiarly applicable to this House to other measures, the re- our own colonists, who carried out with sponsibility of a private man can be no them, into their foreign settlements, the adequate recompence to his country, for seeds of the British constitution, which we having led them blindfold to ruin. fatter ourselves to be the happiest and

What, then, is there left for us to do in most free in the world. These colonies, this disastrous state of things ? Indeed, Sir, under the auspicious and friendly eye of I can hardly see one ray of hope. You the parent state, have at length out-grown would not hearken to adyice in time. You the imbecilities of their infant state, and

« ElőzőTovább »