« ElőzőTovább »
move every ground of complaint, and to exertions were necessary, this day could afford them the amplest security for their not be a fit time to determine upon the privileges in future. Sir, I can perceive | force that was necessary to carry on the no method so conducive to this end, as that war. When we found by experience that proposed by the hon. mover: the argu- | 55,000 men and 100 ships of war were inments which he has just advanced must adequate, were we now to affect an impoconvince every candid mind of the inexpe-| tent parade, of carrying on the war with a diency and oppressive nature of the laws diminution of 10,000 of the bravest and in dispute. I wave all questions of your best disciplined of our troops, commanded authority and right. Peace ought now to by a general, as accomplished in his own be our object, and it is a sufficient reason profession, as admired in the senate, and for an immediate repeal, that those obnoxi- / beloved and revered in private life, and ous Acts are an insurmountable bar to re- who had done all that courage, abilities, conciliation, and have lost you the hearts and diligence could do, to bring the camof three millions of subjects. While they paign to a better issue? No part of our continue in force, you have to combat all distresses could be imputed to him. As America in union against you.
to the effects of the Stamp Act, he himself Sir, from my connections in America, (in conjunction with sir G. Savile) had I have had an opportunity of collecting conducted the enquiry that led to the rethe sentiments of men of all orders and peal. He appealed to that hon. gentleparties, and have reason to believe, that man and others, whether, if that measure independency is not yet the great object had been persisted in, America would then of the majority of the people; but a root- have resisted ? She certainly would ; she ed and unconquerable aversion to those was prepared, armed, and determined. impolitic Acts prevail in every mind. Can | The repeal procured the blessed effect of there, then, remain a doubt which to pre | peace, and in that happy state we might fer? To carry on a war, which has hi- have continued long, if the government of therto promised you no success, with the this country would have refrained from principles and spirit of the people invin- | their idle speculations and definitions of cibly opposed to you; or to appease their supremacy, which had brought on this fatal jealousies, and cultivate a return of their war; supreme power can neither be defriendship? I earnestly wish to impose fined nor limited, nor extended by arguthis important distinction on the minds of ment and by assertions; it consists not in all who hear me. If your arms are unsuc- speculation, but in action; events alone cessful, disgrace and ruin are inevitable ; require the exercise of it. No man can but a generous though ineffectual atten- deny in theory the supreme, unlimited tion to the complaints of an injured peo- power of the British legislature; but the ple, is ever honourable. You have made execution of that power is a trust delegat. a full trial of the one, and fatally expe- ed by the people, and to be guided by prinrienced its futility. Make, then, an expe- ciples of liberty and justice, not only for the riment of the other, while it yet remains people at large, but with regard to the rights in your power. Sacrifice to peace : not of every individual intrusted to our care. ; the blood and treasure of this kingdom ; Mr. Adam made some severe reflecnot the lives and happiness of our fellow- tions on sir William, for deserting his subjects in America ; but a train of acts principles, and his friends the ministers, in and measures, which have been barren the hour of their dismay. and inefficacious, or productive only of Sir W. Meredith replied, that instead of misery and disgrace.
deserting his principles, he adhered to The Attorney General threw the whole them; that he had opposed the Declarablame of the war upon those ministers who tory Act, though brought in by the minisrepealed the Stamp Act: if the great mi- ter under whom he held an honourable nister had continued at the helm, who and agreeable employment: that he had planned that Act, his firmness and wisdom never voted for any one measure that tendwould have insured obedience without ed to create or to support this war: that bloodshed; but as the Americans had de- at the beginning of this unhappy business nied the supremacy of this legislature, and he desired to resign : that he did not quit had recourse to arms, arms could alone the ministers in their hour of dismay, but decide it now, and the most vigorous exer- in their moment of triumph, on the notifitions were necessary.
cation of the last successful accounts from Sir W. Meredith replied, that whatever America.
The House then divided on Mr. Wilkes's driven this country into its present distressmotion :
ful situation. Ministers are not able Tellers.
longer to face their adversaries in parliaVras $ Mr. Temple Luttrell - $10 ment. They fly from public observation Mr. Cruger - •
and enquiry, and brood over their apŞSir Grey Cooper -
proaching disgrace in a kind of political NOES Mr. John St. John - S despair: they tremble for consequences, So it passed in the negative.
they have neither the ability to provide
| against, nor the fortitude to meet. Debate in the Commons on the Motion Sir George Savile said, that for his part, of Adjournment.] Lord Beauchamp then he should be ashamed to face his constimoved, “ That this House will, at its ris- tuents, if he had given a vote for neglecting, adjourp till the 20th of January." Hising his and their interests at so momenreasons for the adjournment were princi- | tous a period, when the very existence perpally these: the supplies were voted, the haps of the empire was at stake. usual business before the Christmas recess. Mr. Coventry contended there was no gone through, and however some people instance of such a proceeding, in the remight enhance the misfortune of the Ca- cords of parliament. He did not wish to nada expedition, he saw no business of embarrass administration, but most cermoment that called for the attention of stainly, if some very cogent reason was not parliament; and his great reason for wish- | advanced in support of the motion, he ing to have it adjourned was this, that as a should give it his hearty negative. general enquiry was appointed, time ought Mr. Henry Dundas supported the moto be given for the men in administration tion on the ground, that it would be to prepare.
highly improper, to enter at this particuEarl Nugent supported the motion, and lar time, into any enquiry relative to the asked what should we do here, when pro conduct of the King's servants; because, bably it would not be one day in ten, that such an inquiry would involve in it, that of members sufficient to constitute a House, our officers and commanders abroad, in would attend; and it would not be insist their absence, and while their duty reed, he presumed, that matters on which the quired their attendance in another place; dearest interests, nay the very existence of while in fact, they were engaged in the the nation depended, were proper to be very service for which they were to be cendiscussed in a thin House: nay, the fact sured. If such an enquiry should at any was, that parliament had nothing to deli- future time appear necessary, it should be berate upon, till accounts of importance a previous condition, that the officers should be first received from America, whose conduct was involved in that of mi
Mr. T. Townshend said that an adjourn- nisters, should be present, not only to inment of six weeks, in so critical a situa form parliament, but if circumstances calltion of affairs, would be a very improper (ed for it, to answer for, and justify themand hazardous measure, and which minis- selves. Nothing like this could take place, ters ought to venture on with caution. He within the short period assigned to the thought the adjournment ought to be as short as possible, even from day to day. Mr. Burke moved, that the motion be It was, indeed, matter of astonishment, amended by leaving out the 20th of Jathat any one who had the honour of his nuary, and inserting instead thereof the Majesty's confidence, dared advise such a words “ this day se'nnight.” He spoke measure. He hoped the necessity of strongly against the language held this day keeping the members in town would ap- | by the friends of the minister; his lordship pear so urgent at the present crisis, that was determined, he perceived, to keep his even the minister's most steady friends place at all events; whether treaty or war would desert him on the present occasion: should be the determination of that House, he owned, that this motion, daring and ab the noble lord was prepared. But let the surd as it appeared, in such a season of na- noble lord be ever so pliant, how was he tional calamity, was nevertheless not un- sure that America would treat with him, or accompanied with a circumstance which any of his colleagues in office? He susought to give pleasure to every real friend pected, though America were ever so of his country; it portended the falling of willing to treat, and the noble lord and his the curtain, the exit of those weak, obsti- friends ever so willing to sacrifice what nate, and improvident ministers, who have they called the right and supreme power
of this country, no negociation could possibly succeed in their hands. The colonies had been so often deceived, abused, and trifled with, that he was certain they would never listen to any proposals of eace, conveyed through such a channel. e insisted, that now was the proper time for enquiring, when one army was annihilated, another besieged, and our natural and avowed enemy, the French, negociating a treaty with our colonies, perhaps not negociating but even o tl treaty by which America will be irrecoverably lost to this country. If this was the true state of our critical situation, which he verily believed it was: surely it was a proper time for inquiry, not for an adjournment of six weeks. He was remarkably severe upon lord North, and after repeating his former assertion, dwelt upon his lordship's expression, that he meant to make propositions of peace, and appealed to the good sense, experience and observation of the House, whether it was within the most distant views of probability to expect that he whose incapacity, obstinacy, or inattention, had been the cause of every measure, no matter whether it was accommodation or coercion, was the proper |. to propose any future measure eading either way. e plea he contended was monstrous, the expectation in the highest degree improbable and absurd . Lord North replied, that he never meant, by what he said, to negociate away the rights of this country. He appealed to the House if his words were not, that he thought we might have such a force in America as would be sufficient to enable us to offer terms to our rebellious subjects, consistently with our dignity, and with the sovereign and controlling rights of this country. He said, that every argument offered against the motion, went to prove nothing. The campaign was already terminated. France did not molest us; nor did he believe either France or Spain had the least intention to molest us; but whether they had or had not, we were prepared. All the public business that was usually done in the o part of the session was completed. For his part, therefore, he could not perceive the most distant motive for objecting to the motion, nor had He heard a single ground for the amendment. If upon a full enquiry after the recess, measures of a consequential nature should become necessary, the committee for an inquiry into the state of the nation,
fixed for the 2d of February, would be the
proper place and time, to deliberate on them. His lordship gave a particular explanation, to what had fallen from Mr. Burke, relative to a supposed intention in him, of negociating away the rights of this country, in order to keep his place. What he meant was, that he hoped the campaign had produced events, which would enable us to enforce a conciliation with the colonies, on true constitutional grounds. That he never thought of making any propositions, till the fate of the present campaign were known, nor then neither, if it should happen during the recess; but after the holidays, when the whole of the past military operations, and the intended measures, could come together properly before the House, he would then move the House to consider of what concessions might be proper to be made the basis of a treaty, and he trusted yet, that their endeavours would prove effectual, in bringing about a permanent peace and union between both countries.
Mr. For controverted almost every thing offered by the noble lord. He insisted that the House of Bourbon were hostile; that they only waited for a favourable opportunity to break with us; and that favourable opportunity would present itself the very instant the first bad news arrived from America. He entered into several explanations, and seemed, from motives of generous pity, to direct his galling attacks against the great financier, sooner than press too closely on the American minister. He reprobated the plea of the noble lord’s offering himself to be a negotiator; being, he said, well convinced, that the Americans would never listen to any treaty coming from his lordship. He was obnoxious to them, and if he persisted to retain his present station, as minister, it would most certainly prevent every accommodation, which came recommended to them, by a man whom they suspected, detested, and despised.
The question being put upon lord Beauchamp's motion, the House divided:
Mr. Robinson - - - -
So it was resolved in the affirmative; and the House adjourned to the 20th of January, 1778.
Debate in the Lords on the Motion of Adjournment.] Dec. 11. The Earl of
Oxford moved, " That this House do ad- | increase. It was necessary, my lords, to journ to the 20th of January 1778.” premise this; now for the fact. In one of
The Earl of Abingdon. I am just come the prisons, a prisoner was inoculated for up from the country, as I supposed, to do, the small-pox; and after the eruption with the rest of your lordships, our busi- | appeared, the patient was put into a cell ness in parliament; but I find that we are with five Americans, who had never had already met here to day, in order to be the disorder. They expressed their fears ; sent about our business into the country, and I do suppose, they were therefore calla as if the business of parliament was noted cowards ;' but this your lordships may our business, and that we were called up be assured of, that neither fears nor tears, only to do the business of ministers. Sup- nor prayers, were able to remove the sick plies are voted, and, at this tremendous from the well. My lords, if this be abetconjuncture of events, there is, it seems, ted, and does not meet with condign puno further need of the great constitutional | nishment, all government here is at an council of the nation. But, my lords, be end, and civil society no more; for, my fore I go, I will leave one word behind lords, what is civil society, but a public me; it is an important word, and its sub- combination for private protection? ject matter is of a very pressing nature. My present motion, therefore, my lords,
My lords, when a noble duke, whose is, “ That an humble Address be presentmanly and spirited conduct against this ed to his Majesty, requesting that he will war of slavery will ever have the testimony be pleased to direct, that all orders and inof my warmest applause, made his motion structions which have been given by the the other day for an enquiry into the state officers, whose business it is, to the several of the nation, his grace said, he desired his gaolers, or keepers of other houses of con. motion might be understood as a general finement from time to time, since the commotion, open to every enquiry, and not mencement of hostilities, and the bringing simply confined to any propositions of his of American prisoners into this country, own; it is therefore, my lords, under the down to the 1st of the present month of shelter of this noble duke's motion, that I December, respecting the custody and have now a motion of my own to make, in treatment of the said prisoners, may be laid addition to those that have been already re- before this House ; and that the returns ceived. My lords, humanity has ever been which have been made to office from the the characteristic of Englishmen; but, my said prison, of their number and deaths, lords, whether corruption has, with our together with the accounts of each article morals, changed our very feelings, or whe- of expence, attending their confinement, ther it be owing to that exotic influence may likewise be produced.” which has so long directed our councils, My lords, I have made this motion, not or not, it is not for me to determine; but, only from feelings of humanity, but from my lords, instead of humanity, our national motives of policy. Your lordships will recharacter is now stamped with inhuma- member, that there is such a thing as the nity; and what is worse, we have the law of retaliation. Whilst you are making damning proofs before our eyes. My lords, prisoners of the Americans by fifties and I am informed, and my information is to | hundreds, they are making prisoners of be depended upon, that the American pri- you by whole armies. The fate of general soners in this country (men who are made Burgoyne is known; and if general Howe prisoners in the glorious cause of liberty, does not again slift his position, his fate and are nick named rebels, only to sanco | will be the same. My lords, I will only tify the rebellion of ministers against the add, that I hope this motion will be freedom of this country) are treated with agreed to, and that it will be proa savage barbarity. My lords, I have ductive of good : but, my lords, as it will heard some of their complaints, and they be some time before it can have its effect, have gone to my heart. I will give you I must signify to your lordships, that it is one of them in instance.
my intention, in the mean while, to proMy lords, we all know, or the reverend | mote, as much as lies in me, a subscripbench of bishops will tell us so, that there tion for the relief of these unfortunate are certain religious objections against ino- prisoners, in hopes of procuring the conculating for the small-pox. These objec- tribution of every noble lord of this House; tions the Americans for the most part for, my lords, the majority lords, who have; and in proportion to the credulity have benefited by the American war, can of the objection, do the fears of the disease afford it. Those who have not (the (VOL. XIX. ]
1 [ 2 Q]
bishops) will remember, that charity / Lord Dudley disclaimed the application covereth a multitude of sins; and as to the of the word jockeyship, and declared that minority lords, they will be all led to it he had no other view in speaking to order, from principle. Thus, my lords, I shall | but for the preservation of those forms not despair of there being collected, at necessary for the dispatch of business, least as much money for those honest and the regularity of parliamentary proWhigs, as was procured for those Tory ceedings. priests, who, for attempting to undermine The Earl of Suffolk, having read the inthe liberties of America, were driven out tended motion, informed the House, that of that country, and are, perhaps for the he had not the least objection to it, and if, same purposes, now pensioned in this for the sake of getting on with the busi
Lord Dudley observed, that according ness of the day, their lordships would adto established form, the House having be- mit of a small irregularity, and the noble fore them the motion for adjournment, earl would be satisfied, he would pledge they could not in regularity either hear himself to lay before the House, on the read or debate upon any other motion, day appointed for an enquiry into the till that was got rid of, either by being state of the nation, the papers sought by withdrawn, or being carried; if the latter, the present motion. the noble earl's motion must necessarily The Earl of Chatham acknowledged, drop till the meeting after the holidays. that he was not very intimately acquainted
This brought on a short altercation with with the particular forms of the House; respect to parliamentary forms ; during yet he could not but see, that they were which
I like to violate all the rules of parlia. The Earl of Abingdon complained of mentary form, if they admitted a mijockeyship, declaring that he was upon his nister's promise to be a full compliance legs as soon as the noble earl who moved with the orders of that House. With rethe adjournment, and that therefore if his gard to the noble earl's motion, he said motion could not be attended to on ac- they had certainly entangled themselves a count of the noble earl's having been read little, respecting the mode of receiving it; first, or because the noble earl might not nevertheless, were the offer made by the be willing to withdraw his motion, which noble earl in office accepted, it would inwould have as full an effect if moved sub. deed overturn all order substantially, and sequent to his, he should conclude that an would create a precedent, which might, unfair advantage had been taken of his in at some future period, prove exceedingly experience in points of order.
dangerous, and produce much worse conThe Duke of Richmond remarked, that sequences than could be involved in the nothing was more certain than that two fate of the question either way. If minismotions could not be before the House at ters were to substitute vague, parole pro. one and the same time. The motion of mises for parliamentary documents, there adjournment was made first, and must, if would be an end of the constitutional the noble earl persisted in keeping to it, controul of that House ; ministers would be the only motion debated; but he be no longer responsible ; they would be begged their lordships to consider, that the lat liberty at all times to excuse themhonour of the House was at stake, their selves, by saying, that they promised what character for decency and candour was was not in their power, or what they ought involved in the present embarrassment. not to have promised. On these grounds, The noble earl's motion went to a very to steer clear of the difficulties on either important object, an object of too serious hand, his lordship advised, that the mo. a nature to be thus swept away by a mo- tion of adjournment should be withdrawn; tion for adjournment. Was that the case, that his noble friend's motion should be bis grace said, the noble earl might well received, which, when disposed of, would complain of jockeyship; it was certainly leave the noble earl at liberty to repeat taking an advantage which it was beneath the original motion of adjournment. the dignity of their lordships to suffer to The Earl of Suffolk denied, that he had be taken. If the motion of the noble any such intention as that imputed to him earl was disagreeable and improper, the by the noble earl. He only offered to fair line of conduct would be, to withdraw pledge his word to produce the papers the motion for adjournment, and either called for, merely to get rid of the dilemto debate the noble earl's motion, and ma which the claims of the two noble carry it by a majority, or to move the pre- lords seemed to have brought the House vious question upon it,