« ElőzőTovább »
must necessarily be grounded. Thus far, | campaign of 1776, consisted chiefly in a however, he would tell the committee, the considerably advantage gained over the object of enquiry was peace, the mode provincial forces in an engagement in of attempting to effect which, could not | Long Island, the reduction of Staten be determined upon till their lordships Island, Long Island, and of the city and knew the real state of public affairs, the island of New York, all within the propower of the nation to continue the war, vince of New York; of the island of the probability of its success, and how far Rhode Island, within the province of we were able to resist an attack from the Rhode Island, and a possession of part of House of Bourbon, should any be made. the Jerseys, all by his Majesty's arms, His grace declared, he did not believe we under general sir William Howe; the reshould soon be precipitated into a war with pulse of an assault on Quebec, under France, adding, that he neither rested his generals Montgomery and Arnold; the belief on the wisdom of administration, raising the siege and the blockade of that nor on our ability to resist an attack; but city, and the recovery of Canada, together that he relied on the French king and the with the destruction of the American fleet French cabinet, who, he well kvew, were on Lake Champlain, by his Majesty's exceedingly averse to war. He could forces under general sir Guy Carleton; not, however, answer for accidents or inci- the evacuation of the city of Boston by dental occurrences, which might force his Majesty's forces; the failure of the exFrance to commence hostilities. There pedition of the said forces under sir Peter was at this time a difficulty between our Parker and general Clinton, against court and that of Versailles ; France for- Charles Town, in South Carolina, and merly took all her tobacco (which is a the breaking into the cantonments of his necessary article of consumption, and a Majesty's army in the Jerseys by the progreat object of revenue in that kingdom) vincial troops under general Washington. from us. We were no longer able to 6. That from the returns it appears, the supply her, and she had declared that she greatest number of land forces serving in must procure tobacco from America, whom North America, in 1777, consisted of she was under the necessity of trading 48,616 men, including officers. 7. That the with as an independent state. This, his operations and events in North America, grace said, was a difficulty, and how the during the campaign of 1777, were chiefly British ministry would get over it, he on the southward--the total evacuation kuew not.
of the Jerseys by his Majesty's forces; Upon the motion being put, for lord the invasion of the province of Pensylvania Scarsdale to leave the chair, the commit- | by the said forces under sir W. Howe; tee divided; Contents 66. Non Con- | his success in two considerable engagetents 26.
ments with the continental army under The duke of Richmond's other Resolu. Mr. Washington; the occupation of the tions were, 2. “ That it appears to this city of Philadelphia by his Majesty's House, that the greatest number of regu. | forces; general Washington taking post lar land forces serving in North America, within 14 miles of Philadelphia ; sir W. in 1775, consisted of 11,219 effective men, | Howe's movement of his army to dislodge including officers. 3. That the opera- general Washington ; and on finding the tions and events in North America, during enemy's position unattackable, his retreat the campaign of 1775, consisted chiefly in to Philadelphia, where he remains entaking from his Majesty, by the provincial trenched for winter quarters. To the forces, the forts on the frontiers of Canada, northward they consisted chiefly in an unthe reduction by the said forces of the successful attack of his Majesty's forces, whole province of Canada, except the city | under colonel St. Leger, on Fort Stanof Quebec, some severe actions in the wix ; the taking Ticonderoga (since evaneighbourhood of Boston in New-Engcuated) by his Majesty's forces under land, and the blockade of his Majesty's lieut. general Burgoyne; several severe army in that city by the provincial forces. / engagements, with various success, and 4. That as far as they are informed from the final loss of the whole army under the the returns, the greatest number of regu- said general, consisting of 7,000 regular lar land forces serving in North America, 1 troops, besides others; together with the in 1776, consisted of 45,865 men, offi-| loss of all his artillery, stores, baggage, cers included. 5. That the operations and his whole camp. 8. That the total and events in North America, during the result of the operation of his Majesty's forces, and those of his allies, during the ence, as the subject he was about to treat three campaigns of 1775, 1776, and 1777, of that day was in its nature dry and untowards the reduction of the revolted pro- | pleasant. That to look into their private vinces in North America, consisted in the accounts, he believed, was a matter which, taking the cities of New York and Phila- however disagreeable it might be at all delphia; together with Staten Island, times, was on some occasions indispensaLong Island, and Rhode Island; and bly necessary, especially so when their that there still remains to be reduced the lordships'stewards had ruined their estates. entire provinces of New Hampshire, Mas- The nation, his grace 'said, was, in consesachuset's Bay, and Connecticut; all the quence of the war, rendered almost bank continental parts of Rhode Island and rupt; and although the enormous expence New York, the whole of the provinces of which had been incurred was past a remedy, the East and West Jersey, the province it might yet be right to enquire by what of Pennsylvania (except the environs of means the ruin had been brought on, and Philadelphia) the counties on Delaware, to ascertain how far the stewards were to the entire provinces of Maryland, Virginia, blame, in order to prevent the same North Carolina, South Carolina, and stewards from continuing in office, and Georgia. 9. That the number of his Ma- being entrusted in the conduct of those jesty's land forces in all North America, I means which inight offer themselves, as under the several commanders at Phila- | proper to be practised for the redemption delphia, New York, Rhode Island, and of the public estate. Canada, according to the latest returns, Having premised thus much, his grace cousisted of 36,731 men, including offi- proceeded to inform their lordships, that cers. 10. That it will require a reinforce- he meant to go into an investigation of ment of 11,885 men, of old troops, to the expences which the American war had make the present army in North America, cost the nation ; and as he had heard that consisting of 36,731 men, equal to what it proposals for peace were agitating in ti was in the course of the last campaign, lower House of Parliament, he was parti. when it consisted of 48,616 regular old cularly happy in having been able to pretroops. 11. That of the 36,731 men, pare the subject for their lordships, as he which constituted the several armies in thought it might essentially tend to direct · North America, according to the latest re- the lords in office in the pursuit of their turns, there were at the same time 4,639 pacific purposes, and in the forwarding of men sick. 12. That the number of land those measures which he understood would forces in North America, on the 1st shortly be submitted to the consideration August, 1774, together with those that of the House: respecting these motions, have been sent to America, from Great his grace declared, he should for the preBritain or Ireland, since that period, to sent reserve his sentiments, as he thought the 31st Dec. 1777, and tňose few corps them too material and important to be that have been raised in America, amount spoken to upon hearsay, or the vague reto 61,648 men, and that deducting the port of any particular expressions which present army of 36,731 men, there ap- might have fallen from any person in the pears to be lost by death, desertion, cap- course of conversation in another House tivity, or otherwise, 24,917 men : that of Parliameni, but that he should pay there are 5,536 prisoners, which, when every possible attention to the subject, exchanged or returned, will reduce the when it was committed to paper, and was loss of men in the land service to 19,381, | regularly before their lordships. to the end of the year 1777."
In order the better to ascertain the exThe Resolutions were all put, and nega- pences of the war, the duke said, he had tived.
taken the ratio of the public cost for four
of the years when we enjoyed profound Debate in the Committee on the State of peace; and as we had not been burthened the Nation upon the Duke of Richmond's with expence on account of any foreign Resolutions respecting the Expences of the war, during the continuance of our war American War.] Feb. 19. "The House with America, he conceived that it was went again into the Committee on the fair to ascribe to that alone every excess State of the Nation, lord Scarsdale in the in point of public expenditure, which could chair.
be made appear to have taken place during The Duke of Richmond said, he must that period, upon a comparison with the particularly intreat their lordships' indulg. state of the public expenditure in time of
profound . His grace, after informing their lordships, that a minute investi: gation of the various articles which formed the divisions and subdivisions under the great heads of public expence, would take up too much of their lordships' time, and, in fact, would swell his detail to a much larger size than it would be possible for their lordships, with their utmost attention, to comprehend at once, declared he should content himself with considering the standing expence of the nation at all times under the three great heads, namely, the army, the navy, and the ordnance, comprehending under each of these heads, the ordinaries and extraordinaries, the navy debt, &c. His grace then took out a manuscript sheet from some papers which he held in his hand, and stated from it to the House, the gross sums which the army, the navy, and the ordnance cost upon an average in times of peace; what they cost in 1775, and what in 1776. With respect to 1777, he was obliged, in some sort, to rely on calculation, as the increase of the navy, debt was not yet reported to the lower House : but that in every matter relative to the enquiry which he had troubled their lordships about, he had taken the greatest care to state the number and value of each article considerably under the proper quantum and rate, and on the present occasion he had pursued the same rule, and so unwilling was he to mislead their lordships, that if any of the lords in office thought he erred in any one particular, he would readily give up his own sum, and let that which they declared to be the just one, take its place in the account. From the state of the year 1777, when the seamen voted were increased to 45,000, and there was a vote of credit for a million, the duke reported that the excess was 6,977,000l. With regard to the present year, he should take that up as to the number and expence of the seamen, upon the ground of the votes, and regu
late each other article by an average of
the expence of the year 1777, which he conceived their lordships would think at least a moderate calculation. The seamen voted for the service of the present year were 60,000; the increase of expence on which account, as well as the increase occasioned by the new levies of 16,000 men for the army now raising, added to the presumed amount of each of the other articles, together with a vote of credit of a million, which he supposed would take Place as usual in time of war, this stated
would increase the excess to nine millions, Adding together the amount of the excess of each of the four years, as stated above, the duke said the amount of the whole would be found to be 23,894,000l.
Besides which, his grace bid their lordships recollect, that if peace was so far forwarded, that the preliminaries were to be signed as that day, nevertheless there would remain a tail of expence which would amount to a considerable sum. In order to explain this, the duke referred to the accounts of the state expences for the four years following the close of the last war, from which it appeared, that the bringing the soldiers liome from Germany, and other expences, swelled to the enormous sum of eleven millions. Were peace made with America, many and obvious would be the causes of expence. We had much farther to bring our army home than from Germany; transports, &c. would cost a great deal; and, add to this, the Hessian soldiers were not only to be paid for, as if in actual service, to the moment that they were delivered in Hesse proper, but a year's subsidy was to be paid that prince after his men had been so delivered. These, and a great variety of causes, would, the duke said, co-operate to create expence; and, as the tail of expence after the last war had amounted to eleven millions, he conceived he might fairly estimate the tail of expence which would follow our war with America at nine millions, which, added to the 23,894,000l. already incurred, would make the expence of the war, were it ended this day, near 33 millions.
His grace added, that every additional year it was continued, would at least cost nine additional millions; and after reasoning some time on the incapacity of the state to bear the burthen, said, he hoped, as the resolutions of fact which he meant to move would essentially serve the project of making peace, about to come under their lordships’ considerations, as they would open the eyes of the public, and convince the people at large, of the necessity of putting an immediate end to the war, that they would not be opposed, and meet the fate of the others, which he had moved on prior occasions. His grace then moved, “That it appears to this committee, that the expences of the Navy, Army, and Ordnance, as voted by parliament, and taken on an average of years of profound peace, have not exceeded the sum of 3,371,000l.”
The Earl of Suffolk said, in his opinion it was highly inexpedient to admit the resolution now urged, and he, for one, should certainly give it his negative. He could not at all agree to the doctrine, that resolutions being founded in fact, was any argument why they should be agreed to. There were many truths that might be easily ascertained to their lordships, which it would be extremely improper to declare, or give a parliamentary sanction to. He said, if he had foreseen the manner the committee was to be employed, he should have opposed it in the most direct manner. The noble duke had alluded to measures proposed in another House; and supposed, that the information brought forth in the committee would furnish ministers with a reason or apology for changing their plan. For his part, he was of opinion, that proposing to resolve matters of fact, declarative of our weakness, would operate in a manner directly the reverse, and render the plan of peace, which his grace seemed so desirous to accomplish, much more hazardous and difficult. The noble duke, though he had stated facts, had proved thereby nothing consequential; the decrease of commerce, loss by captures, fall of stocks, increase of expence, and loss of lives, which the noble duke had brought forward to surcharge the picture of our national distress, were not unusual; they were uniformly the concomitants of a state of war. But if he had no other objection to the resolutions but the uncertainty of the calculations, that would be sufficient to determine his vote on the present occasion. It was impossible yet to determine, what the extra expences of the army for 1777, would amount to. The account of the navy debt of the same year was not yet before the House, though the noble earl near him (lord Sandwich) computed it on memory to be 1,300,000l. The difficulty was still greater in respect of the extra services of the present year, which could not be oftill the next year. So that if he had no other reason to oppose the resolutions, their want of certainty and accuracy, as to the sums specified, fully justified him in his intended motion, which was, “That the House be resumed.”
The Duke of Richmond replied, that the noble earl need not have puzzled himself in search of arguments which, at the best, were but palliative. He might have spared himself the trouble to hunt for apologies for his *: conduct, under i. pretence, that assenting to the resolutions
would be a public declaration of our national weakness; for the truth was, that our weakness was already known to every body but ourselves, and that long before the present committee was formed: but if a doubt remained, the moving the resolutions in the House, where they must stand recorded on our Journals, and from thence make their way to the public, as so many acknowledged facts by those very persons who put a negative upon them at once, annihilated the pretence of concealing either our present dangerous and defenceless state from our enemies, or the nation at large. It would be much more consonant, therefore, to the noble earl’s candour, and that haughtiness and explicit tone affected by ministers, to declare, that the reason which induced them to put a negative on the matters of fact alluded to was, because those facts contained the most full and unequivocal proofs of their misconduct; and informed the nation, that its present ruinous and alarming situation was brought upon it by a set of ministers who had wantonly plunged it into an unjust and of war; who had spilt its best blood, and already wasted 24 millions of its treasure; and now, after persisting in these weak and wicked measures for more than three years; after refusing so much as to hear of any terms, but such as would have rendered the colonies mere slaves, were now preparing to sue for peace, and make the most humiliating concessions. He remarked, it was no great discovery the noble earl had made, when he said, a state of war was attended with expence; the assertion was granted before it was made; but when the objects of war were considered, even with a foreign enemy, which implies a necessity, offensive and defensive; and was compared with the present, which was wantonly made on our own subjects, he was astonished how the noble lord could offer to amuse their lordships with a general assertion, every way inapplicable to the occasion and event. If we went to war even to obtain a just object, had we obtained it? No! We had spent every drop of blood, and every shilling, not barely to no purpose, but to the worst purposes. We had lost, in the first instance, one third of the empire; we had lost America. His grace observed, that it behoved the country gentlemen to look to the melancholy situation they had brought themselves into, by the implicit confidence they
reposed in such ministers, and that in pur- / whom the exercise of the executive powers suit of a mere trifle. In order to obtain a of the state were intrusled. penny, they had risked a pound; both His lordship then proceeded to consider were lost, and now they had the comfort the state of the nation under these several to reflect, that they had contracted for a heads. In point of population, experience debt of 33 millions, which was saddling had proved beyond question, that our themselves and their posterity with a per- numbers were visibly on the decrease. petual land tax (for by the lands this bur- / The great load of debt, and the conseden must be ultimately borne) of 4s. in quent difficulty of procuring a comfortable the pound.
livelihood, from the enhanced price of the The noble earl threatened a dissolution necessaries of life, had produced a spirit of the enquiry, on account of the improper of emigration; he perceived the decrease manner in which it was conducted. Why of numbers in his own neighbourhood: he did not his lordship, or some other of the did not think it fair to draw conclusions King's servants, take a part in it? The from local effects, operating in this or that committee was as open to them, as to any neighbourhood, or district; but, he said, other noble lord. It was meant to be a he was fully justified, by the tardy and un. general, not a partial enquiry. The very successful manner the recruiting service title of it imported so much. Did not an had been carried on, to maintain his pro. enquiry into the state of the nation invite position as a general one. Recruits were every one of their lordships to contribute not to be had on almost any terms. Miand take a share in it? For his part, if the nisters said, the war was a popular war; it noble earl wished to dissolve the commit might be so : if it was, it afforded an ad. tee, he had no personal reason, at least, to ditional proof of the truth of his assertion, wish for its continuance. He had gone that our numbers were on the decrease, through as many heads as came properly which was one of the most certain indi. within his knowledge, habit of life, or ap- cations of the decline of national prosplication. He hoped some other lords perity. would take up the enquiry where he ended; Riches was the next test of the true state and that, particularly, those papers on the of any country. He heard a great deal table, relative to the navy, would be taken of the opulence of individuals. He was into consideration. As there was a Bill, daily a witness of the increasing luxury however, now before the other House, and dissipation of the times : but were containing a plan of conciliation with those marks of national prosperity ? He America, which must of course come be-believed not. If individuals were rich, fore their lordships in the course of the was not the state poor? Who could say ensuing week, he recommended to post- where the property was, in which every pone further proceedings in the committee man almost counted himself a partner? till that Bill should be disposed of.
Was not a great part of this property ideal? The Earl of Coventry said, the great Could those who were spending their forcharacteristic marks of national prosperity Itunes in folly and debauchery, and either were population, riches, respect with fo- robbing the public or beggaring their own reign powers, the dignity of the crown, families, be said to be rich? Certainly and union among ourselves. When any not: and he even had many doubts, as to of these were confessedly wanting, it was individual riches. He allowed, there were a demonstrative proof, that, let the cause a great many persons, perhaps more than originate where it might, the nation did at any other period, who carried on consinot enjoy that state of prosperity which derable mercantile and other trading busiwas deemed desirable. When they were ness: but was it because this or that man all wanting, it was no longer a doubt, but, I could write his name on a slip of paper for besides radical causes, that the govern: 3,0001. that such men were to be deemed ment of the country was placed in impru- rich? By no means. It shewed no more, per hands; particularly if the transition than that our credit was immense ; that was sudden, from a state of the greatest our very inability to pay furnished us with and most justly envied prosperity, to one the means of appearing opulent: but when the most humiliating and degrading. If it was considered, that more than a hun. no probable cause of such a sudden tran- dred millions of the standing property of sition was apparent, then the evils, of the nation was ideal, and only due from whatever magnitude or extent of effect, ourselves to ourselves, that paper in other might be fairly laid at the door of those to transactions was the chief medium of trade