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whatever his intentions may be, he feared nience, so he never wished to encroach on that the effect of his proposed plan, partly those of America. His own private opi. from the reasons just mentioned, and nion had never varied: but if his proposipartly from the nature of the plan itself, tion should not meet with the approbation would be, not to be accepted of by Ame- of the majority of that House, or if it rica; which would furnish ministers with should undergo any alteration, in either an apology to try the experiment of one event, he would gladly acquiesce. As to more fatal and disgraceful campaign; the favourable disposition of America toafter which, he would venture to predict, wards individuals or parties in that or the that all further attempts to subdue, or other House, by every thing that had yet treat with America, would be at an end, appeared, all men and all parties seemed and that country irretrievably lost for ever equally obnoxious to them; and whenever to this.
| propositions came to be made, he was in. He concluded in nearly the following clined to believe the object of the colonies words : The moment is critical. I do not would not be, who it was that made them, think, notwithstanding all that has hap- but whether they were such as answered pened, but the colonies may, by proper their own expectations. For his part, he measures, be yet brought back to a state was ready and willing to resign the disaof constitutional obedience ; and that we greeable task to whoever was thought betmay once more recover their affections. ter qualified, and was contented to accept If there be a man, who has served this of it. He wished as sincerely for pacifi. nation with honour to himself, and glory cation as any person in either House; and to his country; if there be a man, who has so the end was obtained, it was a matter of carried the arms of Great Britain trium. no consequence to him hy whom, or in phant to every quarter of the globe, and what manner it was obtained. He then that beyond the most sanguine expecta- spoke to the question, and was against the tions of the people; if there be a man of motion, saying, that even though he had whom the House of Bourbon stands more approved of the purport of the motion, he peculiarly in awe; if there be a man in could not agree to it while there remained this country, who unites the confidence of so great a difference in the calculation, beEngland and America, is not he the pro tween the hon. gentleman who made it, per person to treat with America, and not and the noble lord from whose particular those who have uniformly deceived or op- office the papers came. If, therefore, the pressed them? There is not one present, motion was not withdrawn till the difwho is ignorant of the person to whom Iference in calculation, which was in the allude. You all know that I mean a noble proportion of sixteen to one, was reconand near relation : lord Chatham.] He ciled, he should move to report progress. is the man whom his Majesty ought Mr. Burke remarked, that the sentito call to his councils, because the Ame. ments and promises of the minister, were ricans revere him, and the unbiassed part constantly in a state of contradiction to of the nation would most cheerfully trust each other, in respect of every matter retheir dearest interests with him. I krow | lative to the American war. the little paltry insinuations which may be Lord Ongley was against the motion, thrown out against the language I now and declared himself to be against any hold; and can only say, that I despise measure of accommodation, short of comthem as much as I shall do any man ca- pelling America to acknowledge the supable of using them: and knowing that preme right of parliament. there is not the man nor the object in this Sir Richard Sutton spoke to the same country capable of making me cross that purport, and expressed his disapprobation board against my opinion, I trust that this of the resolution, as only tending to enHouse will at least give me credit for the courage our rebellious subjects in America sincerity with which I deliver it; and if it to refuse every reasonable plan of accomshall be found, that it is to him to whommodation which ministers might think the nation looks forward for its salvation, proper to offer them. it is a duty which I am bold to say his Lord Nugent was against the resolution. Majesty owes to his people, to avail him He was satisfied that ministers had pur. self of such respectable assistance.
sued the best measures, though they had Lord North said, as he never meant to unhappily failed. As there was so imnegociate away the rights of this country, mense a difference between the accounts to procure himself any temporary conve of the two hon. gentlemen, he could not
see, till that was settled, how it was possible for the debate to be continued. He disapproved of this enquiry from the beginning; and experience had taught him, that a multiplicity of papers served not to inform but to perplex; and related the following anecdote, in proof of his general assertion. The late king, soon after his accession, told sir Robert Walpole, that he would himself see all papers of confidence, before any measures were taken upon them. Sir Robert was alarmed, and went to consult his brother Horace, what was best to be done. Horace, seeing him so uneasy, laughed, and advised him to give the king more than he asked; “Give him all the papers, and I dare say, he will soon have enough of them.” Sir Robert took his advice, and carried him a cart full, telling his Majesty, that he had paid several extra clerks, to assist in getting more ready; and informed him further, that he believed, when the whole were copied, they would fill five carts more. The king told him, he need not get any more ready till he heard his further directions on the subject; the consequence of which was, that sir Robert never, heard a syllable more of papers from his majesty as long as he remained in office. His lordship concluded with moving, that the chairman report progress. Mr. T. Townshend replied, that the hon. gentleman's twelve resolutions did not amount to twelve cart-loads, nor did all the papers called for; but if the noble lord who controverted the truth of some of the resolutions sent in papers of a dif. ferent complexion to those he spoke from himself, and which he held in his hand, it was no wonder there were mistakes in the calculations, and just such mistakes, too, as the noble lord pleased. Colonel Barré, after maintaining the truth of the resolutions, observed on the proposition promised by the noble lord in the blue ribbon, that he expected no good from it, as the conduct of ministers had, • from the first of the American business, been shuffling, both to this country and the colonies. Mr. For insisted that. 20,000 men had been lost, at least the greater part of them, to this country, though they were not all slain in battle; and he defied the noble lord to prove where 6,000 of them, including prisoners or sick, were to be had ; for that by the last returns the British and foreign troops amounted to no more than 28,000, though we paid for 48,000 men.
General Conway said, if his hon. friend had been mistaken, it must be because he was led astray by the manner the papers were made out. This, however, could not affect the truth of his other resolutions, though he had been mistaken in one or two; but he was convinced that every one of them was substantially correct.
The House divided on the motion that the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again, Ayes 263, Noes 149.
Debate in the Commons on the Navy Estimates.] Feb. 13. In the Committee of Supply, Mr. Buller moved, That 781,911!. be granted for the ordinary and extraordinary services of the navy for 1778. With respect to the estimates of both these services, he said, that they did not differ very materially from the grants of preceding years. Mr. Temple Luttrell remarked, that a noble lord (Mulgrave) had, on a former day, accused him of using too severe a language towards a noble earl at the head of the navy department. This he disavowed ; he had, indeed, charged that erson with dangerous and gross errors in #. public capacity; and he held it incumbent on him to support such an attack by very substantial proofs, which he was now ready to undertake; he had been also allowed the last official returns of the squadron of Jamaica, “lest, as was thrown out, by a formal opposition to his request, he might presume the motion made by him was .# some material consequence.” He had, at the same time, been told, with a contemptuous sneer, “that he might go home with what glee he was master of, fully persuaded that the British navy was not in the bad state he had flattered himself to be the case.” For his part, he could never admit, that, in a house of parliament, the importance of any public question was to be adjudged from the indi. vidual weight of the member, who suggested it; in that House all members were equal; and from whatever quarter a motion might originate, it ought to stand or fall by its own intrinsic merits; neither did he, by any means, rejoice in the calamitous state of the British fleet; he thought he had given the strongest and clearest demonstration of his earnest wishes to have the navy restored to its former flourishing condition. He denied that the estimates were materially the same as in other years: the extraordinary sum total *
exceeding any of former times by 50,000l. state of your ships of war. When the and the ordinary repairs, wear and tear, quality is found so very pernicious, the &c. of ships out of commission, when there quantity can only be brought in argument are only about fourscore on that list, came to shew the magnitude of the mischief: to as much as was charged on 250 ships it is this foreign timber which has, I fear, and vessels of the like description, before entailed rottenness on your feet; and if the American war broke out, being little the last fire in your dock yards had made short of 170,0001.
a providential sweep of all your oak from Mr. Welbure Ellis assured the hon. gen. Stetten, I believe it would have more than tleman he had been much misinformed; compensated for its destruction of other truthat he rather commended than blamed ly valuable articles. He thought the right his zeal for urging an enquiry into the hon. gentleman had argued much more large sums granted for the uses of the forcibly against the present naval adminisnavy; he confessed that, in general, they tration, than he had ever presumed to do, met with too little regard from the alledging, that the largest grants for the members of that House; but he could extraordinaries of the navy, were of course venture to assure the hon. gentleman, necessary for some few years immediately that he had been much misinformed as after the war. This maxim might, indeed, to the mal-application of the liberal grants reasonably warrant the late Mr. Grenville, of parliament for that most essential or lord Egmont, in applying to parliament object. He had been long well ac for an advanced allowance on this head quainted with the navy department, and when they presided at the Admiralty; or had been honoured, more than once, with might have justified that illustrious sea. a post of rank and confidence in that line; officer, (lord Hawke) when he was at the he had not observed any gross abuses in head of the Board, had the extraordinaries those who presided over it, and hoped the then come up to the present enormous navy was in a much better situation than sum. The demand now made thereon the hon. gentleman had surmised, and was near half a million sterling, and far would so be found when the day of trial | exceeded requisitions of the kind attempt. should come. There must, of course, ed by any of lord Sandwich's predecesbe vast grants for so extensive a depart- sors in office. The noble earl came to ment, especially for building, rebuilding, the head of the navy eight years after and repairs, immediately after the close of a profound peace. Including the present such a war as the last, when the ships were estimates, the House of Commons will in a great measure worn out, and must be have given that noble earl about 2,100,0001. replaced with new ones, and therefore, for for building, rebuilding, and repairing the a few years of the peace immediately fol ships and vessels of his Majesty's navy, lowing, the estimates would be higher that is, the mere hull, masts, and yards, than in subsequent times. As to the ar- | over and above near 800,0001. for the ticle of the monies granted for the navy, keeping and preserving the hulls of his the Admiralty board could only be made Majesty's ships out of commission, and accountable for such sums as they actually above 600,0001. for extra-stores, exclusive drew out of the Treasury, and not for all of what was allowed by the nation to rethe sums which were voted by parliament plenish the stores consumed by the fire at upon estimates stated to be for that ser- | Portsmouth dock-yard, and exclusive of vice. He did not wonder at gentlemen sundry considerable demands for timber, being surprized at the magnitude of sums &c. set forth in the navy-debt. More demanded for repairs, but attributed the , money had therefore been granted by the necessity of such demands to the badness nation to the noble earl by this country, of timber with which many of our new on the extraordinary estimate alone, than ships had been built, but he hoped the would have built from the stocks, rigged quantity of timber in our dock-yards and completely equipped for sea, (indewould give time for the wood to be better pendent of navy-ordnance, which is a disseasoned, and fitter for service; a quantity, tinct and weighty charge in the public ac. he said, never known in our dock-yards counts) 100 men of war. And what is the before the present first lord of the Admi- actual condition of your ships at present? ralty came to the board.
Of the whole navy of Great Britain, not Mr. Temple Luttrell. To the timber for more, at the utmost, than fifty of the line of ship-building and repairs, imported from battle, can possibly be found fit for sea, ia abroad, I attribute much of the ruinous case of a foreign war, without such re.
pairs as would require the labour of many months, and a very large expence. Lord Hawke, when he resigned his office, left 80 of the line in good condition, of which 59 were fully manned for war—Mr. Luttrell then examined the list of men of war of the line now given in to be repaired, and remarked, that the following ships had already been allowed more money §. repairs than would have built them new from the keel at the most extravagant cost, viz. Namur, within the four last years, 39,335l. and 6,635l. for her stores. The Defence, 29,500l. The Arrogant, 26,500l. He should sit down, after stating the estimates for repairing the Dragon of 74 guns, and which had more than once been re[..." to the House as actually taken in and. The Admiralty, in 1771, came to parliament for 5,000l. to repair the Dragon: in 1772, for 7,000l. more; in 1773, for 4,000l.; in 1774, 4,000l; in 1775, 7,000l. in all 27,000l. besides 10,273l. for her stores. Now, does, or does not, that very ship still remain untouched, in a most rotten state, above Portsmouth harbour, and without having had any of those sums allowed for her repair by parliament, expended on her from the time of the first grant, in 1771, to the present day Lord Mulgrave admitted the hon. gentleman’s charge, and agreed, that not one shilling had been laid out in repairing those ships, but said the money was apied to other naval purposes, and not put into a bag by the first lord of the Admiralty, or into his pocket; that the estimate was the usual mode of raising money, but was never meant to state the purposes the money was to be applied to; that if it was a crime, it was one that had been often practised ever since the reign of James 2. Mr. Temple Luttrell had never said, nor insinuated, that the noble earl put into a bag for his private use, the monies thus voted: he therefore requested, that, whenever the noble lord did him the honour to quote his words, or comment upon his ideas, he would do it ingenuously and faithfully: that there had been unpardon
able extravagance somewhere, under a |
pretence of naval services, he was certain; and the fleet was in an alarming state of : Perhaps the first lord of the Admiralty thought it the best policy to endeavour to mask this weakness, and boldly assert the direct contrary to facts, in hopes of deceiving the courts of Versailles and Madrid: but surely he is too well acquainted with the correstness of the intel
ligence of those powers, on such an important subject as this, to flatter himself that his impositions will have any success beyond the British Channel. As to the custom of ministers since the days of king James or king William, I could have wished the hon. member, before he went so far back in our history, to have read the Representation Address of this House, in 1711, to queen Anne, upon abuses exactly similar to these. They were set forth to her majesty as substantial grievances to her people, and atrocious crimes in the ministers so offending ; and in her answer thereto, she promises them ample redress; which proves, that the money granted upon specific estimates must be applied to the purposes therein set forth, unless, upon proper official application, the parliament agree to a different appropriation thereof.”
Mr. Burke expressed his astonishment at what the Admiralty had dared to acknowledge: and, in the warmth of his indignation, threw the book of estimates at the Treasury bench; which, taking the candle in its way, had nearly struck Mr. Ellis's shins; Mr. Burke exclaiming, that it was treating the House with the utmost contempt, to present them with a fine gilt book of estimates, calculated to a farthing, for purposes to which the money granted was never meant to be applied. When former ministers had ventured to impose, they had the modesty to endeavour to conceal the crime; it remained for the pre- * sent to have such confidence in their power, as to risk an acknowledgment of their prodigality, and to set at defiance the principles of the constitution, and the authority of parliament.
Governor Johnstone lamented, that the generosity of the people could not induce ministers to employ the money to the principal uses intended, that of keeping our ships in repair, and building our men of war with the best materials that can be procured.—The Resolution was then agreed to.
Debate in the Lords on General Gates’s Letter to the Earl of Thanet respecting the Capture of General Burgoyne's Army, &c.] Feb. 16. The Earl of Thanet rose, and held out a Letter, which he said he had received from general Gates, and which he thought it his duty to communicate to their lordships.-The Letter was
* See Wol. 6, p. 1026.
handed to the clerk at the table, who was preparing to read it, when Wiscount Townshend rose, and after declaring that general Gates had exalted his character exceedingly by his humane conduct respecting general Burgoyne, observed, that however high he might stand in their lordships’ opinion, he surely was a very unfit person for that House to enter into a correspondence with; that he was, at the time of his writing the letter, at the head of a rebel army; that it would be a degradation of parliament to make such a letter the ground of a resolution; he therefore hoped the House would not suffer it to be read. Earl Gower said, that, for what their lordships knew, the letter in question might be of a nature exceedingly improper for their lordships to hear: at any rate it was contrary to parliamentary form for the clerk to read it at the table. The Duke of Richmond said, that the letter came from a man of great weight in America, and that it was ridiculous to refuse information, let it present itself in what shape it might. The Duke of Grafton said, that the noble earl had merely begged the letter might be read by some other person, because he had a hoarseness, which he feared might prevent the House from hearing him. The Marquis of Rockingham then took the letter, and read it to their lordships, as follows: “My lord; Albany, Oct. 26, 1777. “Presuming upon our former friendship, I take the liberty of addressing this letter to your lordship, general Burgoyne having assured me it shall be faithfully delivered. The very important event of this campaign, so far as it respects general Burgoyne and myself, will, by the unexaggerating voice of truth, be related to your lordship. For, what less can be said of it, than that the King’s army, which left Canada in June, are all killed, taken, or have surrendered prisoners, under the convention of Saratoga? How this complete victory has been used, with respect to the behaviour of the conquerors to the vanquished, general Burgoyne and lord Petersham, as they are soldiers, and men of honour, will declare. But to the main design of my addressing this letter to your lordship. “Born and educated in England, I cannot help feeling for the misfortunes brought upon my native country by the
wickedness of that administration, who began, and have continued, this most unjust, impolitic, cruel and unnatural war. The dismemberment of the empire, the loss of commerce, of power and consei. amongst the nations, with the ownfall of public credit, are but the beinning of those evils, that must inevitably be followed by a thousand more, unless timely prevented by some lenient hand, some great state physician, with the firmness, integrity and abilities of a Chatham, joined to the wisdom, virtue and justice of a Camden, aided and supported by such men as your lordship: men, as independent in their fortunes as unsullied in their homour, and who never bowed their heads to Baal. Such a man, so supported, may yet save the sinking state, by confirming that independency, which the people of this continent are resolved to part with, but when they leave this world. Such a man will dd what all wise statesmen have done before him. He will be true to the welfare and interest of his country; and, by rescinding the resolutions passed to support that system which no power on earth can establish, he will endeavour to preserve so much of the empire, in prosperity and honour, as the circumstances of the times, and the mal-administration of those who ruled before him, have left to his government. “The United States of America are willing to be the friends, but never will submit to be the slaves of the parent country. They are, by consanguinity, by commerce, by language, and by the affection which naturally springs from these, more attached to England than any other country under the sun. Therefore, spurn not the blessing which yet remains. Instantly withdraw your fleets and armies; cultivate the friendship and commerce of America. Thus, and thus only, can England hope to be great and happy. Seek that in a commercial alliance; seek it ere it be too late, for there only you must expect to find it. “These, my lord, are the undisguised sentiments of a man that rejoices not in the blood shed in this fatal contest; of a