Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

approach to the maturity of settlement, as the concomitant condition on the other and population, and all the arts of life; and side, a compact of trade to be observed thereby are become capable of that glorious by the Americans, similar to that which inheritance of perfect freedom, which their subsisted between the two countries before parent state has in former times rescued the rupture. Upon the admission of these out of the hands of tyrants, with a view to combined propositions, I would propose to assert it for the common good and use of proceed upon them as fundamentals, in the mankind, and particularly to transmit it negociation of a perpetual fæderal alli. entire to their own descendants. As no ance in all its distributive parts. country can arrive at its full perfection, Sir, I should once more ask your pardon while it is confined in the powers of a free for having given you and the House so legislation respecting the concerns of its much trouble. I am very sensible of their own internal policy; and as the transition goodness and indulgence. The result of of colonies from the controul of a distant pa- every argument that I have ever offered rent state, to the absolute possession, in full to the House upon American subjects has right, of all their legislative powers, must been, by some cast or other, to seek the inevitably (at a certain period of connec- practicable means of restoring peace. It tion between the parent state and its colo- is, and ever will be the sole object of all nies,) disturb, or at least for a time suspend, my anxiety and labours in the public cause. the harmony of affection and mutual cor- I will now read to the House the several respondence of interests; and as the course motions which I have to offer, as they stand of the present disputes between Great in order. 1. “ That it is the opinion of Britain and her colonies, has led to that this House, that the farther prosecution of dangerous point of contention, which being the American war must be attended with originally inherent in the relation of parent an enormous expence. 2. That the exstate and colony, now shews itself so se- pences of another campaign in the year rious in its aspect, as perhaps to threaten, 1778, added to the expences already in. if not amicably adjusted, the ruin of one curred in the American war, may probably or both countries; your Commons there. | amount to a sum not less than between 30 fore think it wise and prudent, to follow the and 40 millions sterling, which must create apparently natural and unavoidable course an alarming increase of the principal and of things; and to bestow upon the colonies interest of the national debt; and must rean entire freedom of their legislative powers quire many additional heavy and burdenwithin themselves; hoping thereby to lay a some taxes, land-taxes, as well as other foundation, for a perpetual and indissoluble taxes, upon the British subjects to defray. bond of affection and alliance, in every re- 3. That the farther prosecution of the spect as beneficial to both countries, as the American war must be destructive of the connection which has hitherto subsisted be- navigation, commerce, riches and resources tween them, in the mutual relation of parent of this country, as well as of the lives of state and colony; and with this additional his Majesty's subjects; and that it will hope of permanence, that, according to all leave us in an exhausted state, with our human prudence, such connections, in which land and sea forces at the distance of 3,000 there is no latent principle of future dis- miles, open to the insults or attack of any cord, may be trusted and relied upon, for secret or insidious enemy to this country. the còrdial restoration of peace, and for all 4. That it is unbecoming the wisdom and the blessings of reconciliation between this prudence of parliament, to proceed any country, and the offspring of its own liber- farther in the support of this fruitless, exty, formed in the perfect resemblance of pensive and destructive war; more espeits own constitution, and transplanted into cially without any specific terms of accomthe new world of America. Your faithful | modation declared." Commons therefore humbly beseech your Lord North objected to the motions, beMajesty, to order an immediate suspension cause they were out of time, and improper. of hostilities in America, for the sake of He never heard such motions made in a preventing any farther effusion of blood ; | House; they were proper for a committee, and to concur with your parliament upon As to the first, he said, no one could obthe ground-work of the foregoing principles ject to it. He himself confessed, that it and considerations, in laying a foundation must be attended with enormous expence, for reconcilement and perpetual peace be- but that it was impossible for the House, in tween this country and America.

his opinion, to decide on the next, before To this proposition, Sir, I would annex, the day of general discussion, when they had every fact before them, and could be Mr. Burke said, he thought it ought able to determine with propriety.

to be the end of every plan of peace, to Mr. Burke rose, and here a sort of bye get the colonies as much subordinate as we battle commenced between him and lord can keep them with their consent. But Lisburne, on a passage in the last Gazette, at the same time, he disapproved of thus where general Vaughan says, he went to laying down lines and measures, in matters Esopus, “ because it was a nursery for which must be determined as future events every villain in the country, and when he would permit us to act. arrived there, they fired from the windows Mr. Fox said, as so much had been said at his men, which brought him to the ne- | about offering terms, and nothing as to the cessity of reducing the place to ashes." | nature of those terms, he thought this Mr. Burke said, this passage was obscure, would be a proper opportunity, as there and that he saw no sufficient reason for would be no other before the House adburning the town. Lord Lisburne, in pri- journed, to give his opinion what the terms vate, conferred with him upon it; when he ought to be; that he thought we ought to told the noble lord, he saw no good reason give America perfect security on the subthat general Vaughan had for going to Eso-ject of taxation and her charters; that this pus at all. The contest continued until would be the proper preliminary of a trea

Sir George Savile said, he wished to ty, for that however the people whose bring back the attention of the House to spirits were warmest in America might the question, and assured the Treasury- | look upon independence, yet there were bench, he would also pay them in good others who looked back to their old contime a very proper attention. After nections with this country, and that this which, he insinuated something of impeach- | measure would at least divide America. I ments, adding, that though the people of would treat with them, said he, on the England were sometimes apt to be mild, | very topic whether they should be indethey were at other times as apt to be in great pendent or not; but my wish is, that Ameheat. He agreed with his hon. friend, rica may remain dependent upon this whose calculations and labours he highly | country. I am no friend to the indepencomplimented, but he was not for treating dence of America; nevertheless, if no bet. with America as an independent state. ter terms can be had, I would treat with

Governor Johnstone said, he would take them as allies. They might be good and occasion from the draught of the Address, useful allies, nor do I fear the consequence which Mr. Hartley opened in his speech to of their independence. the House, to give to the House his opinion Sir-W. Gordon recommended coercive of the ground on which any peace with the measures ; and hoped no treaty whatever colonies should be made. He compared would be commenced, until America had the rights and constitution of which the laid aside her claim of independence. colonies were by law in possession, to a Mr. Hartley's motions were all nega. copyhold right, held from the original pos- tived without a division. sessor, who had the freehold, but a copy." hold of defined and unimpeachable rights, Debate in the Lords on the Bill for sussubject, however, to the condition of the pending the Habeas Corpus Act.] Dec. tenure. By so much as this sort of rights 8. On the order of the day for the second (however it became so ) was inferior to a reading of the Bill for suspending the Hafreehold, by so much more were we beas Corpus Act, bound to guard and maintain these rights The Duke of Richmond expressed his of theirs under our protection. If we in concern that the discussion of a subject of vaded them, we thereby gave them a right this importance should have happened in to enquire, by what original right we as- so thin a House. He said it was a business sumed, that the tenure and their rights of the highest concern to the nation ; a buand possession were of this inferior nature. siness in which the liberties of the subWe gave them a right to resist and to rebel. | ject were nearly interested. From the He could not, therefore, adopt the ideas of vague indeterminate mode of expression Mr. Hartley, at least in the form in which used in the Act, its force extended to all orthey were contained in the draught of the ders, and to all kinds, guilty and innocent. Address, as it put the colonies on the A paltry justice might, only because he ground of independence. He always thought he had grounds of suspicion, dethought the letting the colonies loose, to prive a subject of his dearest rights, impribe a dangerous measure.

son him, load him with irons, and all with

out a possibility of redress to the unfortunate sufferer. The Habeas Corpus being extinct, there was no power of justifying himself, and there he must lie till the term specified in the Act arrive; that is, till the conclusion of the impending war. He himself stood within its lash, and was at this time at the mercy of any little dealing magistrate; he had been last year on the high seas on a party of pleasure, and was therefore obnoxious to the letter of the Act. He illustrated the disadvantages consequent on such an Act, with the history of one Mr. Platt, a merchant of Georgia. This young man, while he was in that capacity, i. been concerned in the unloading a vessel, that contained, among other things, horses sent from England: he interested himself in this business, only from an inclination to serve the owner; and yet going soon after on his mercantile occasions to Jamaica, and having in the course of a jovial evening offended some one of the company, he was next day apprehended as a person within the cognizance of this Act. He was secured as a rebel, sent to England, and carried before sir John Fielding, who recommitted him, without suffering him to be confronted with his accusers. All he asks is to be brought to trial; this justice has been denied; and it is now near two years since this, o: innocent person has been subject to the disgrace and inconvenience of a common prison. His Grace said he would appeal only to the feelings of gentlemen in administration, and hoped they would interest themselves for a É. determination concerning this unhappy man. The Lord Chancellor said, if ever there was an Act that deserved the appellation of humanity, it was this; it regarded America in every respect, not as a rebel country, but as a country at war. It was certainly necessary that some punishment should be inflicted on persons taken in the act of enmity against us; but what ought it to be 2 since it was plainly not expedient that they should be ão. and not political, from the apprehensions of retaliation, to put them to immediate death. What was the alternative? In his opinion the only just medium had been adopted; that of preserving them until the conclusion of the war, so that they might retain the power of punishing without doing it at a time when the consequences might fall upon such of our subjects as were now in a similar situation in America. The Duke of Richmond said, the noble I VOL. XIX.]

Tord had not attended to the distinction which it was his intention to inculcate. He acquiesced in the propriety of detention, when exercised on men absolutely found in arms, but that persons only suspected should be liable to the same severity, was the ground of his objection. The Earl of Sandwich observed, that as to the point in question, he believed he and the noble lord nearly coincided; namely, that all persons properly suspected of rebellion, should be subject to the terms of the Act. He said he had a very different account of this Mr. Platt. He was told that he was a committee man at Georgia, and an active instrument of rebellion; that he contributed in seizing, by force, the military stores that were contained in his Majesty's ship Philippi; that the commander of that vessel came over to London, when he was first brought to England, to authenticate his guilt; and that it was from motives of pure delicacy, that the judges had thought proper to defer his trial. The Earl of Suffolk said, that in the beginning of this unhappy war, it was the current opinion of the three legislative powers of this realm, that an extraordinary privilege should be lodged in the executive part, in the King ; that if it was the opinion of the House, that the present emergency is less dangerous than it was a year ago, they would doubtless revoke this as an useless Act; if not, a similar necessity would certainly justify the continuation. It was called a dangerous Act; let the event prove that; few had fallen under its cognizance; few had been punished in consequence of it; apprehensions, therefore, from it were groundless. The Duke of Richmond replied, that lenity in the execution was the strongest argunment against the continuation; for that tyranny became more acceptable by being gently exercised; so that when a prince of more despotic temper had the rule, he would plead prescription, and justify arbitrary measures, even with the sanction of his parliament, and the consent of his peole. The Duke of Manchester read a petition he had received from Mr. Platt; the account given there nearly coincided with that given by the duke of Richmond; his grace corroborated the duke's arguments, and added, that he appealed in this instance, not only to the humanity, but the justice of administration.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Debate in the Commons on Mr. Wilkes's , Scarcely a hint of a wish for peace has been Motion for the Repenl of the American made by any member of administration. I Declaratory Act.] Dec. 10. Mr. Wilkes will not, however, Sir, be dispirited. rose and said :

Some late events, unknown to the House I chose, Sir, from motives of policy at that time, may induce the most violent to delay the motion, which I mean now to s to listen to those healing measures, which, submit to the House, till the establish- in the insolence of our imagined triumphs, ments both of the navy and army for the we rejected with disdain. The preliminary ensuing year were completed. After such of peace, which I shali take the liberty of prodigious preparations for war, after every submitting to the House, strikes at the single article which the ministers have root of the evil, the confessed cause and asked, has been granted, we are armed at origin of the American war. I mean, Sir, every point for the vigorous prosecution of the right of taxation, which is enacted in hostilities, we may, with more appearance the Declaratory Act, the repeal of which of dignity, hold out propositions for peace. I shall presently move. I believe, Sir, This House, Sir, has voted 60,000 seamen, according to the forms of the House, I must including near 12,000 marines, above first desire the clerk to read that Act. It 20,000 effective landmen, commission and is the 6th of the King, ch. 12. [The non-commission officers included, for | Clerk reads. 7 guards, garrisons, and the forces to be kept ! To make laws to bind the colonies and up in Great Britain, Jersey, and Guernsey. 'people of America in all cases whatsoever!" We have besides in our pay five battalions | I believe, Sir, this is the shortest compenof Hanoverians, actually in garrison, to the dium of slavery ever given. It is the eternal reproach of England, at Gibraltar / broadest basis of tyranny. In all cases and Minorca ; the various troops of Hesse | whatsoever! therefore in taxation. Three Cassel, Hanau, Waldeck, Brandebourg- | millions of freemen to be taxed at the arAnspach, and Anhalt-Zerbst, amounting bitrary will and pleasure of this House, to above 69,000 of those mercenaries ; in without a single person to represent them, all, a land army of more than 69,000 men. | or to control the expenditure of their moThis House has not yet been assembled ney! If the Americans could tamely subthree weeks, and we have already voted mit to this, they would deserve to be slaves. away of the people's money no less a sum They ought to be more contemned than the than 8,613,0041. I believe this is only Cappadocians of infamous memory, who rethe sixteenth day since the opening of fused the liberty which was offered them the session. Every day of the present ses- | by the Romans. If we can take a part of sion has therefore, on an average, cost their property without their consent, we the people above 500,0001. What a re- can take the whole. It is impossible to lief to their fears, Sir, will be the adjourn- draw the line. This House might vote ment, which ministers have just men- away the whole property of America with: tioned, of near six weeks? How inuch out the consent of one man on that vast it will augment the festivity of the season ? continent. The very supposition is not Yet I fear, Sir, it will prove only a tempo- only repugnant to every idea of the com. rary relief; and that ministers retreat for mon rights of mankind, but “ it is against a short time, to return with redoubled the franchises of the land for freemen to force and fury, to lay fresh burdens and be taxed but by their consent in parlia. additional impositions on this exhausted ment,” as lord Coke declares. We know nation.

by the law of England, that the Protestant Amidst all these amazing preparations | subjects of our colonies in America are for war, scarcely a thought of, or a sigh for, intitled to all the liberties, privileges, and peace, seems to obtrude upon, or escape, ) immunities, of the natural-born subjects any one of our ministers. What single of this kingdom. The next step to taxa. step has been taken by administration to |tion naturally follows. Ministers might put an end to this ruinous war, and to pre-apply an American revenue to the ad. vent the farther effusion of human blood ? vancement of their own profligate plans, A noble marquis (of Granby) on this side | perhaps to the same base purposes as the the House, who is the worthy heir of the taxes levied among us, to the augmentation patriotic virtues of an illustrious father, of an enormous civil list, to increase the proposed on the first day of this session an overgrown influence of the crown, and immediate cessation of arms; but the pro- corrupt the representatives of the people, position was rejected by a great majority. Even without any taxation we have experienced that the whole produce of Ame- | America, now met in Congress at Philarican industry centered in Great Britain. delphia, setting forth the causes and necesI do not intend, Sir, to go into a disquisia sity of their taking up arms,” July 6, 1775, tion of the stale question of taxation and it is said, “ we for ten years incessantly representation, nor the wretched nonsense and ineffectually besieged the throne as of a virtual representation here of three supplicants; we reasoned, we remonmillions of subjects on the other side the strated with parliament, in the most mild Atlantic. I remember once before to have and decent language. Parliament have fully argued those questions. I shall now undertaken to give and grant our money confine myself to the repeal of the De-without our consent, though we have ever claratory Act, and the other Acts injurious exercised an exclusive right to dispose of to the freedom of America. Without this our own property, &c. &c. &c. But why repeal we cannot, I am satisfied, have should we enumerate our injuries in de peace, nor I believe would the Americans tail? By one statute it is declared, that treat with you on any other terms. They / parliament can of right make laws to bind proceeded, at the beginning, with wonder- us in all cases whatsoever. What is to deful temper and coolness; but at last they fend us against so enormous, so unlimited summed up all their injuries as comprised a power? Not a single man of those who in the Declaratory Act, which they repro- assume it, is chosen by us, or is subject to bated with spirit. While this Act remains our control or influence; but on the conin the Statute Book, you never can think trary, they are all of them exempt from of any negociation with the Congress. the operation of such laws, and an AmeThe first Congress, which met in 1774, rican revenue, if not diverted from the acted with prudence and calm dignity, ostensible purposes for which it is raised, with moderation and magnanimity. They would actually lighten their own burdens did not directly attack the Declaratory in proportion as they increase ours.” This Act. They knew it had passed in an ad- one statute, the Declaratory Act, is the ministration composed of men who had fountain, from which not only waters of declared themselves friends to American bitterness, but' rivers of blood, have freedom, and had actually repealed the flowed. Stamp Act. They considered it as a I ought, Sir, in justice to the Congress, brutum fulmen on the part of this country. to take notice, that even after this they They, in dutiful terms, solicited the repeal presented a most humble and dutiful petiof the Boston Port Bill, the. Massa- | tion to the King. From the ill-judged chuset's Charter Bill, and that monster reply of the American secretary, “ that no of despotism and popery, the Quebec answer would be given," I suppose every Act; but they passed over in silence the idea of obtaining a redress of their numeDeclaratory Act. Yet, Sir, although rous grievances vanished. Yet in this very no express mention was made of that Act, Declaration they say, " we shall lay down they put in the strongest protest against our arms, when hostilities shall cease on the claim, or exercise, of any such powers the part of the aggressors, and all danger in their very first resolution. It is of Oct. of their being renewed shall be removed, . 14, 1774. “ The inhabitants of the English and not before." I will venture, Sir, to colonies in North America, by the immu- do this much injured body of men justice table laws of nature, the principles of the on another subject against the false and English constitution, and the several char- malevolent assertions of the noble lord ters or compacts, have the following rights. ! (G. Germain) at the head of the AmeResolved, nem con, that they are entitled / rican department. His lordship declared to life, liberty, and property, and they to us in the most explicit terms, “ that the have never ceded to any sovereign power Congress had endeavoured to engage the whatever a right to dispose of either with- Indian savages in their service, and would out their consent."

1 have employed them in the war.” It is In the year following, the second Con- well known in what manner they must gress, finding all their endeavours here for always be employed, not in the use of the a redress of their grievances ineffectual, sword and bayonet, of which they are ige thought it necessary to hold out a kind of norant, but of the scalping knife and tomaultimatum to this country, and to speak the hawk, in which they are expert. The plain, full, manly language of injured free-Congress, Sir, in the true heroic spirit of men. In a “ Declaration by the repre- bravery, which mercy always accompanies, sentatives of the united colonies of North reprobated the idea of torture and cruelty,

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »