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persuaded he should not have answered | far as to divest themselves of all former opi. the great expectations which had brought nions, of all favourite ideas, and of all préthem there, stated the motion he was going | judices which may have been contracted to make, and the grounds of it, in the fol- in the course of past debate, and take lowing, but much more correct, elegant and them up anew as they are the result of the energetic manner:
present enquiry, and the fair deductions Sir; it is my intention to enter this day from the information now conveyed to the only into the minor part of the business, House. I would wish gentlemen to forget which I hope will undergo the considera- their animosities, and consider themselves tion of this committee-a committee, Sir, neither as friends nor' enemies to America, appointed for the important purpose of nor that country either with love or hatred, considering the present alarming State of but regard it with a calm and dispassionate the Nation. I must, however, beg not to mind, as a part, and a very considerable be considered as the mover in this mo- part, of the British empire. mentous concern; the nation calls for this Sir, the method I have chalked out to enquiry, and I am only one instrument in myself, as the most likely way to bring the bringing it about. What I have to men to a right understanding of the prebeg of the House, is not to mix this day's sent state of the nation, and to point out business with any thing that has passed | what conduct it is our interest in future to before, but to go plainly and directly to pursue, is to state facts as they appear the business, to consider what is the ac- from the papers on the table; first, with tual state of the country, and how Great respect to the army, that in the years 1774, Britain can be saved from the critical situ- 1775, 1776, and 1777, there' was such an ation in which she now stands. And in army, consisting of so many thousand men, considering the subject, I would wish gen- and that such and such operations were tlemen would agree with me at least so performed; I shall, secondly, state the im.
possibility of increasing that army; and,
from our enemies, he saw no reason to indulge the ladies so far as to make them acquainted | amongst wbom were some friends he had inwith the arcana of the stale, ás be did not troduced, insisted, that “ all strangers” should think them more capable of kepping secrets withdraw. This produced a violent ferment thao the meu; upon which, they were like- for a long time; the ladies sbewing great rewise ordered to leave the House. The duchess luctance to comply with the order of the House; of Devonshire, lady Norton, and nearly sixty | 80 that, by their perseverance, business was other ladies, were obliged to obey the man interrupted for nearly two bours. But, at date.” London Chronicle.
length, they too were compelled to submit.
Since that time, ladies, many of the bighest " When a inember in his place takes notice rank, bave made several powerful efforts to be to the Speaker of strangers beiog in the House again admitted. But Mr. Corowall, and Mr. or gallery, it is the Speaker's duty immediately Addington, hare as constantly declined to perto order the Serjeant to execute tbe orders of mit them to come in. Sodeed, was this privi. the House, and to clear the House of all but lege allowed to any one individual, however members; and this, without permitting any bigh her rank, or respectable her character debate or question to be moved upon the exe- and manners, the galleries must be soon opened cution of the order. It very seldom happens to all women, who, froin curiosity, amusement, that this can be done without a violent struggle or any other motive, wish to hear the debates. from some quarter of the House, that strangers And this to the exclusion of many young men, may remain. Members often move for the and of merebants and others, whose commerorder to be read, endeavour to explain it, and cial interests render their attendance necessary debate upon it, and the House as often runs to them, and of real use and importance to the into great heats upon this subject; but in a public.” Hatsell's Precedents, vol. 2, p. 172. short time the confusion subsides, and the dis. pute ends by clearing the House ; for if any) During a debate on the 1st of June 1675 one member insists upon it, the Speaker must (see vol. 4, p. 732), some ladies were in the enforce the order, and the House must be gallery, peeping over the gentlemen's shoulders. cleared.
The Speaker spying them, called out, . What " The most remarkable instance of this, that borough do those ladies serve for?' to which has occurred in my memory, was at a time, Mr. William Coventry replied, “They serve wben the whole gallery and the seats under for the Speaker's chamber!' Sir Thomas Lit. the front gallery, were filled with ladies; cap- tleton said, The Speaker might mistake them tain Jobostone of the navy (commouly called för gentlemen with fine sleeves, dressed like: Governor Johnstone) being angry, that the ladies.' Says the Speaker, I am sure I 'suv House was cleared of all the * Men'Strangers," petticoats.' (VOL. XIX. ]
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thirdly, the enormous expence that is already incurred. The resources in men and money thus failing us, the conclusion naturally is, that there must be some sort of negociation, and in this part of the business I cannot too much lament, that my motion for papers relating to what has already passed on this subject was rejected. This would have enabled the House to judge of the impediments that have hitherto prevented such negociations from taking place, and to provide some adequate remedy. After having stated these facts, and drawn this conclusion, which, I think, may fairly be deduced from them, I shall go retrospectively, and shew that the war has been mismanaged, even on the principles of those who undertook it. It will be, then, a proper time to look back, and see to what our want of success has been owing, as I believe I may lay it down as an incontrovertible axiom, that, when a country falls, within the short space of a few years, from the very highest pinnacle of glory to which any country, either in ancient or modern times, ever arrived, there must have been some radical error in the government of it: though at the same time I will allow, that if it should turn out that there is a radical error, it is not of itself a proof of the criminality of ministers. I am inclined to think, that there has been a radical error in carrying on the war at all, and likewise that there have been errors equally great in the conduct of it. Sir, I shall not now enter into any more of the proceedings relative to America, than are necessary to shew the immediate steps which have brought us into our present situation. Without discussing the various questions which have been for many years agitated in parliament, I shall take up the measures relative to America in the year 1774, when the riots at Boston first called for the attention of this House; papers were indeed called for and granted, but there were some things that tended that year to shut the eyes of ministers to the true state of that country, and the true interest of this—which was to prevent, rather than stimulate and increase the general discontents in the colonies; every body must allow, that the agreement with the East India Company was a most unfortunate one, and the immediate source of all the troubles that have since followed; every body knows what happened. Here began a capital mistake of the ministry; they mistook a single province for a whole
continent; they mistook the single province of Massachuset's Bay for the American empire. Virginia, a colony no less jealous of its rights, nor less warm in its assertion of them, was entirely forgotten: it was not thought possible that any other colony should unite with the Massachuset's ; now, whoever fights against ten men, and thinks he is contending only with one, will meet with more difficulties than if he was aware of the force brought against him; for I believe I may lay it down as an undoubted maxim in politics, that ever
attempt to crush an insurrection . means inadequate to the end, foments instead of suppressing it. The case here was, you took a great object for a small one, you took thirteen provinces for one; and not only that, you imagined the other twelve were with you, when the very act you was then doing made those twelve equally hostile; for another misfortune at this time was the taking a violent step against the town of Boston. If America was not before sufficiently united in a determined resistance to the claims of this country, this made all America combined; they were all from that moment united with the town of Boston, which might have been before the object of the jealousy of the rest. Another mistake was the altering the government of the province of Massachuset’s Bay, whereas the acts of all the other colonies, as well as this, plainly shewed it was not the form of government in that province, which occasioned the commotions there, because other province, which depended more on the crown, and which have the appellation of royal governments, were not less early or less vigorous in their opposition and resistance. Now, Sir, if the form of this government was not itself the cause of the troubles in that country, then the alarm given by the alteration of that government was certainly a most capital mistake; because it gave the whole continent reason to think and to fear, that they had no security in the permanency of their government, but that it was liable to be altered or subverted at our pleasure on any cause of complaint, whether real or supposed; their natural jealousies were awakened; by the same reasoning, the governments of
of that assistance which they were now lending to that unfortunate town. But, Sir, there was another circumstance which tended to mislead the House, and for which the ministers and not the House were entirely to blame, and that was the partial manner in which they laid papers before the House; they laid the accounts of facts, but no opinions of people upon the spot as to the extent of the resistance, the temper of the people, or any other circumstance concerning it. Now, Sir, if men are endued with passions, if they are not mere machines, knowing facts is knowing nothing, without knowing the springs and motives from whence such actions proceeded. Suppose, for instance, a person in a distant country had no other way of judging of the temper of this House, and of the motives of their conduct, but from the printed votes of this House,
the reasons why such a line of conduct was approved, and why such a one was rejected 2 Sir, it would be ridiculous in the extreme to suppose it. Now, Sir, I will venture to affirm, that this House was not in the year 1774 informed of the spirit of epposition there was in America, and of their prejudices against taxation. If they had, I should hope they would have thought it wise, if not just, to have applied such remedies as might have healed rather than irritated the distemper. But, instead of any thing of this sort, other bills were immediately passed shewing that all was of a hostile nature, and that nothing was to be expected from this .. but coercion and punishment, particularly the Act, as it is called, for the more impartial Administration of Justice; I mean the Act for sending over persons to be tried here in England. This gave the idea of a great and effective army, and as a provision for the consequences of much bloodshed and slaughter. And, after all, what an army was sent As that Act excited their terror as well as indignation at our injustice, so the army that was sent excited their derision, without at all lessening their resentment. It taught them to contemn the power of this country, as much as they abhorred its injustice. But, as if all this was not sufficient to irritate and provoke, the Quebec Act was E. the contents of which every body nows. The principal purpose of this Act was to form a great interest in Canada, to • be a perpetual check upon the southern provinces, and to keep them in awe; it
divided, or at least of there being different could such a man form any judgment of
was considered in this light in America, and was held up by the violent party in that country, as a specimen of the form of government that might be introduced and established in every part of that continent. Hardly any man after this would say a word in favour of the British legislature; every remaining friend to government, as he was called, that is, every man less violent than the most violent, had nothing to say in favour of the good intentions of the mother country. After this Act passed, it put an unanswerable argument in the mouths of all parties, that the intentions of Great Britain were windictive in the extreme. The makers of the Quebec Act, whoever they were, thus became the friends to the violent party in America. If they had not thus seasonably interposed, there was a chance of America’s being
degrees of resistance in its colonies. This made them all not only more firml
united, but equally zealous and i. equally determined to go all lengths rather than submit. Now, Sir, the passing of that Act at that time had the same effect that, for instance, the repeal of the Test Act would have had in king Wil. liam's time; for however great a friend I
am to universal toleration, I should cer
tainly have been against it at that time, because it would have disobliged one party, more than it would have served another; it would have joined a great body of Tories to the enemies of the Revolution, who were already sufficiently numerous. From the moment, Sir, this Quebec Act passed, there was only one party in America; it stopt the mouths of the moderate party, if any such were still left.
Another extraordinary idea, Sir, was at this time taken up, namely, that the coercive Acts passed in that session would execute themselves; the only argument in
favour of the minister on this head is, that
they thought the army there sufficiently strong to enforce the execution of these Acts. This is another instance in which the parliament confided absolutely in ministers, as I allow must sometimes be the case; it may not be fit on all occasions for parliament to know, while an important business is in execution, every step and every particular: there must be a certain degree of confidence reposed in ministers, that confidence was reposed here, and ministry are therefore answerable if it should appear that they have abused it. Sir, in 1775, ministers began to be afraid,
that more ill consequences might follow; they then found, for the first time, that the cause of Boston was the cause of America; they therefore passed more laws, and sent out a capital reinforcement with three able generals. The Americans, on the other hand, became still more united; the name of a party was, however, still kept up, and, notwithstanding all the violent measures of this country, and the armies that were sent out for the purpose of supporting the friends of government, the Tories, as they were called, and punishing the Whigs, yet the Tories suffered more than the Whigs, their friends more than their enemies. But, as if all this was not enough to exasperate and to prove they had no resource 1 it but in self-defence, we rejected, before the end of the session of 1775, the Petition from New-York, drawn up in the most af. fectionate and respectful terms that could be, considering the state of the contest: this was the last effort of the moderate party, your own friends, who were told, on the news going back to America: “You see what dependence is to be put in Great Britain: how will she treat us, when she has thus treated you?” Sir, a few weeks before the arrival of the reinforcement, the civil war began. Then followed the battle of 15unker’s-Hill. This ought at least to have been a lesson to the ministry, that America was unanimous and determined to put every thing at stake. Sir, there is one circumstance I omitted to mention in
its place, and that is the conciliatory pro
position of the noble lord (North); I need not go into this now; it has been often considered, and without saying any thing more about it at this time, I will only sav what every body must allow, that this House was left to judge of the quantum, which was one of the very principal objections urged by the Americans, that they did not kuow how far this claim of ours might extend ; it was, in fact, not only asserting the right, but establishing it in F. Now, Sir, I beg leave to stop ere for a moment, and ask this question, Does any man seriously think it better to give up America altogether, unless we can exercise the right of taxation in the uncontrouled and unlimited manner in which we claim it 2 Mr. Fox them ran over the various operations of the army in America, after the arrival of the troops from their being cooped up in Boston, to their being obliged ultimately to leave it, &c. He then des
cribed the conduct of America. What, said he, was the language of America at this time 2 They send a petition to this country, couched in the most respectful terms, disclaiming every idea of independence, which had been, in the course of the preceding session, objected to their conduct, and desiring no concession that would be in the least dishonourable to the mother country, but supplicating his Majesty that he would be pleased to point out some mode. How was this petition received, and what was the answer All that was said, was, To this petition no answer will be given. But the ministry gave out, that the petition was all a farce, the Americans want independence. If this had been really the case, which I in my conscience do not believe, what occasion was there for saying so? Why not have tried the experiment, and by this means have shewed to all the world the unreasonableness of your enemies and your own moderation ? Suppose for instance, you had been treating with Lewis 14, who, every body allows, aimed at universal monarchy; suppose you had been treating with him about a petty town in Flanders, would you have told him; “Ay, it is impossible to treat with you, you aim at universal monarchy, you never mean to give up this town, for you will not be contented till you get them all.” But, Sir, least of all should this have been objected by those who say the government have a great party in America; that the friends to British government are still numerous and powerful there; for these arguments militate against each other. If independence was a so. pretension in America, why should America have unnecessarily disclaimed it? Yes, but it is said, it was meant to deceive America—why, then, if it was necessary to deceive America, she did not mean independence, otherwise it would have been deceiving her into the belief of a thing, which she did not approve. But, if America was averse to independence, was it not worth while to try pacific measures 2 Instead, however, Sir, of any thing of this sort, a change of administration at this time took place, which plainly shewed there was no chance left but in war; and now, for the first time, Sir, I allow itreal vigorous measures were adopted; the whole force of this country was to be exerted, every nerve was to be strained. The first event however, of this campaign —I mentioned it before-was general
081] relative to the State of the Army. A. D. 1778.
[682 Howe's being driven out of Boston; and pedition itself is of such a dye that it denow, Sir, only to shew the versatility of serves a separate consideration. It should some people, and, as an instance how ready be reserved to itself. men who caused all these calamities, are to Sir, after having passed resolutions conadapt themseves to the unfortunate con- cerning the various facts and events during sequences of their own conduct, as soon as the period I have been describing, the the news came over of general Howe's House will naturally form an opinion conevacuating Boston, they congratulated cerning their future conduct, and I shall each other on the event, they were glad of then ask whether any man can imagine it it, it was a lucky step, though, by the bye, possible to go on with an offensive war? there is still the greatest reason to believe, If it should appear, that all means are in. it was matter of necessity, not of choice. adequate to the conquering them, and that Fifty-five thousand men had been voted; the having gone on so far has shaken the sir William Howe's army was completely credit of the nation, more than it was reinforced. Every body knows what shaken at the end of a six year's war with passed. He makes himself master of France, then it will be for the House to Long-Island; he takes New York, &c. consider what is to be done in the present Here were two or three battles gained; moment. It seems to me that the infe. here was a sort of victory, though not an rence will be, that force alone is not suffi. absolute extinction of the enemy's army. cient, and that we must call in negotiation What followed? All promises of taking to its aid. But, Sir, this is a subsequent the moment of victory for proposing terms consideration. Another question likewise of accommodation were forgot. But this with regard to the alliances of this country. was the moment in which the Americans If it shall appear that we are strong in al. declared themselves independent states. liances, then it is very true we may venture Did this look like a termination of the con- somewhat further than we might otherwise test? If it did, there was a circumstance venture. This is a very proper thing to that passed in the latter end of the year be considered. 1776, from which you might, at last, have Sir, I sat out with acquainting the House, learnt that it was impossible to reduce them that I meant to day to begin with a very by mere force. Imean the affair at Trenton. small part of the business; it is only to The sudden manner in which this army | draw an inference from the papers on the was gathered together, the success that at- table, that in the present situation of things tended it from the nature of the country, it will be very imprudent to send any more plainly shewed it was impossible entirely troops out of the kingdom. The peace to reduce them. But, tó shew the deaf. establishment of troops in Great Britain ness of administration to every proof of the has been 17,000. Now, Sir, I do not true disposition of America, and to shew mean by what I say to approve of that estalikewise the uniform conduct of gentlemen blishment. I think it too high ; but. such on this side of the House, a motion was it has been of late years ; 17,000 for Great made in the latter end of the year 1776 for Britain; 12,000 for Ireland ; 3,500 for a revision of the laws by which the Ame- Gibraltar, and 2,300 for Minorca. These ricans might think themselves aggrieved. make altogether 34,800. This is the estaTo revise the Acts that had been passed blishment in time of profound peace. But was surely as gentle a word as could be various reasons conspire to make us appremade use of, and indeed, was the expres- hensive of war; the conduct of France, sion made use of by the commissioners the state of public credit, his Majesty's themselves in a proclamation they issued Speech at the opening of the session is in America. I need not say, Sir, this mo alone sufficient to prove there is the greatest tion was, for various reasons, but without reason to prepare for a foreign war. Now, one solid argument, rejected.
Sir, if 34,000 men are necessary to be Sir, as to the events of the last campaign, kept up in time of peace, I think no gen. I shall touch them very slightly. It is tleman can be of opinion, that we should sufficient to say, that no decisive stroke have less than that number at the present has been given, We have got possession moment. Mr. Fox then shewed from the of three towns instead of one, but of no papers on the table, that the number of more extent of country than is just within the troops now in Great Britain, including a small circuit round those towns. With the officers, non-effective, &c. did not exregard to general Burgoyne's expedition, ceed 15,000; in Ireland 8,000, in GibI will only say,--that it failed. The ex. raltar and Minorca 5,000; so that there