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lord North upon the cordial assistance he had received from his new allies. But said, the taxation Bill could not pass into a law, without a new constitution in America; because the subjects of Great Britain, wherever they are, are taxable by the arliament of Great Britain, whose power as no bounds. If the Americans are not taxable, he desired any lawyer or politician would shew him by what law they were exempted; and if . are not exempted by any law, he desired the gentlemen of the learned profession to which he had the honour to belong, would tell him whether they were exempted by the prerogative of the crown; and if so, whether it was in any of their charters. He knew of but one, Maryland; and the man who put the seal to that charter ought to have been inpeached. If they were not exempted, either by law or the King's prerogative, they still remain taxable; unless some entlemen did suppose parliament had lost ts right of taxing them, by non-usage. He dreaded, therefore, the consequence of this measure even more than the doctrine. —He then went into a statement of the danger of raising money in America by requisitions from the crown; by which revenue, so raised, the King might be enabled to govern this country without parliatnents. Next, he went into an enquiry, what could give rise to this sudden conversion, that in all ages and countries was commonly attended with some material communications or visitations, such as, they met somebody on the road, or going into the city, who had illuminated their understandings. That as none such had come to him, he must remain in his old opiaion, unconverted. Mr. Henry Dundas said, that while he thought it was practicable to tax America, he was always for it. But when general Howe was obliged to leave Jersey, he began to entertain doubts of its success; and the misfortune to general Burgoyne afterwards was experience sufficient, and warranted him in saying, that the taxation of America by the British parliament had been found to be impracticable. No miraculous illumination could ever persuade him that government should attempt impracticable things. If we are not able to subdue America by force, we must mix with our measures something that may lead to conciliation. Mr. Gilbert, after expressing his concern that the affairs of the public were greatly neglected, and that a committee should
be appointed to enquire into the .. ture of the public money, particularly into the exorbitant contracts and abuses of of fice, and the exorbitancy of office fees; declared his resolution, to propose a tax of one fourth upon the incomes of all place1.nen.
Mr. Wilkes said:
Mr. Speaker; I have not given the least opposition to the progress of either of the Conciliatory Bills, which have been brought into this House by administration. I thought it the part of candour to acquiesce, to suffer the Bills to go through the committee without interruption, and to receive every improvement, which the noble lord with the blue ribbon, who first introduced them among us, or any of his friends, chose to suggest or adopt. We are now, Sir, in possession of a plan, with much care revised and corrected by the ostensible minister here, in the full expectation of its being equally pleasing and palatable on both sides the Atlantic as well as this House. The great outlines indeed, Sir, opposition must approve, for they are undoubtedly their own. They were long ago traced out by themselves, although the spirit of them now is gone. Other means than those of coercion have been long steadily urged. The noble lord with the blue ribbon has as liberally borrowed their ideas as the Chancellor of the Exchequer means to borrow their money on Friday, when he opens the budget. The gentlemen on this side the House have frequently proposed a revision of all the Acts complained of by our American brethren. Above three years ago a partiamentary revisal of those statutes was warmly pressed on the minister, and it is not three months since I had the honour of submitting to the House a motion for the repeal of those very Acts, which, in a less constitutional mode, commissioners are now to be authorized to suspend. I made that motion, Sir, while America was still free to negociate, still free from all foreign treaties, or solemn engagements, as independentstates, with any of the great powers of Europe. There is scarcely an is: in either of the two Acts, for gentlemen seem to agree to consider them together, which has not been suggested by opposition. The “cessation of hostilities on the part of his Majesty's forces by sea and land;" “the granting a pardon or pardons to any number or description of persons within the said colonies, provinces, or plantations;”
6 the treating, consulting, and agreeing, enchanting sounds, with which we are now with any body, or bodies, politic and cor- ravished. The terrible, exterminating miporate, or with any assembly, or assem- nister of wrath no longer alarms the re. blies of men, or with any person, or per- volted colonists with Quos ego_The noble sons whatsoever, of or concerning any lord, with no less policy than pity, soothes grievances, or complaints of grievances them, and in mild accents says, motos existing or supposed to exist in the go- præstat componere fluctus. I much fear vernment of any of the said colonies, pro- however, Sir, the colonies will never be vinces, or plantations respectively, or in gathered together again under his ministethe laws and statutes of this realm, respect- (,rial wing. ing the same;" “ the treating of any aid The Conciliatory Bills are in my opinion or contribution to be furnished by any of more calculated for this country than Amethe colonies, provinces, or plantations re- rica. They appear only meant to keep spectively ;” “ the not imposing any duty, the minds of the people quiet here, and to tax, or assessment whatever, payable in amuse this kingdom, not to regain the coany of his Majesty's colonies, provinces, lonies ; but I trust the day of reckoning and plantations in North America, except and exemplary punishment approaches. only such duties as it may be expedient to The present dead calm forebodes a furious impose for the regulation of commerce ;" | tempest. The Bills hold out what minisall these important considerations have ters know to be a fallacious hope, a reconbeen repeatedly urged to the minister, ciliation with the colonies on terms short of while the sword still slept in the scabbard, independence. The object is merely to before the late deluge of the blood of the screen ministry from the indignation of the subjects of this empire in an unjust and public, and the vengeance of the people. unnatural war. At last more is offered There can be little doubt of this, when the than was asked. A repeal of all the ob- very words of the Acts, in the state they noxious Acts since 1763 only was propos first appeared here, are considered. The ed. The minister now agrees to sacrifice preamble of one of the Acts was, “ Whereas the statutes of almost another year, for he the exercise of the right of taxation by the gives up all the Acts since the 10th Feb. parliament of Great Britain for the purpose 1763, the infamous æra of the Peace of of raising a revenue in his Majesty's coloParis, by which the most valuable con-nies, provinces, and plantations in North quests of a glorious war were sacrificed. | America, has been found by experience Whence can such a change arise ?
to occasion great uneasiness and disorders, I observe, Sir, that several gentlemen and has by sundry misrepresentations been have this day mentioned their conversion, made the means of misleading many of the æra, and cause. A very learned advo- his Majesty's faithful subjects." These cate (Mr. Dundas) has said, that he was words are a kind of second Declaratory converted when sir W. Howe was forced Act, in which the right of taxation is asto retire from the Jerseys. Another hon. serted at the instant you give commisgentleman (Mr. Baldwin) tells us, that he sioners power to suspend it. Was this was converted when general Burgoyne meant as a healing measure ? Could micapitulated at Saratoga. Washington and nisters really intend to confer a favour, Gates, Sir, are certainly very powerful as they affected to think, and yet chuse apostles. I should not be surprised, if ge- the most offensive, the most obnoxious, neral Howe himself was at last converted. the most galling expressions ? The preI believe the æra of the noble lord's con- amble to one of the other Conciliatory version is not far distant. I suspect it hap- Bills is liable to the same strong objection. pened at the successful moment of the It is, for the quieting and extinguishing late American negociation in France, of divers jealousies and misrepresentations which I greatly fear has established their of dangerto their liberties and legal rights, independence. It is impossible not to be which have misled many of his Majesty's charmed with the gentle, meek, supplicat. . subjects in the colonies, provinces, &c.' ing, humiliating tone of the noble lord at Must not such expressions be necessarily the present moment. We hear no more considered by the Congress as the language of the condign punishment of traitors, of of high and direct insult? The commisthe vengeance of the state against daring sioners must derive all their powers from rebels. The harsh discord of war no lon- these Acts of the legislature, in which the ger grates on our ears. Peace, harmony, Americans were accused and upbraided. reconciliation with our brethren, are the Are these the winning, persuasive arts of
peace and reconciliation ? Was a recon- | ther; and since we had forced them into ciliation really intended, or have minis- a very reluctant warfare, they held to the ters only in view to delude the nation, people and the army, as its great end, and to incense them against the Ameri- | the manly language of independence, cans, with the absurd hope of at last | liberty, and peace. America was driven compelling them to an unconditional sub- to desperation. It is now, as to us, a mission ?
bosom friendship soured to an implacable Administration, Sir, thought the game hatred. We have wantonly burnt her desperate, and had only in view their own towns, butchered her men, women, chil. safety, the preservation of their power, dren, even infants at the breast, massacred and perhaps a facility in the ensuing loan. the captives in cold blood, scalped the They knew the solemn declarations of the dying and wounded, and carried fire and Congress to some of the greatest powers of sword through her most fertile provinces. Europe so early as December 1776, and What a contrast has her conduct been to a confirmed last November, the basis of whole British army, and general, who cawhich rested solely on their independence. pitulated! What a nobleness in turning They possess it de facto. I fear we shall away from the humiliating spectacle of be obliged to give it them de jure. If English soldiers piling their arms by word the present propositions are rejected, we of command from their own officers ! Are cannot hesitate in preferring the acknow. our ministers weak enough to expect to ledgment of their independence to an cajole America with a parchment act, at expensive and bloody war, in which at the moment they declare that they despair last conquest is admitted to be an im- of conquest by the sword? The idea must possible and frantic attempt. We ought to them be perfectly ridiculous, when the to enter into a fæderal union with them, Americans recollect that the noble lord and endeavour to secure the advantages with the blue ribbon, at the beginning of the most important trade with America of the war, had prophesied that they would by a commercial treaty, which would be be soon at our feet, and the noble lord at reciprocally advantageous to both coun- | the head of the American department had tries-unless, indeed, the eloquence of insisted on unconditional submission, The our commissioners can effect what the Americans had now tried their strength, force of our arms has in vain attempted, and found their resources, both on their their relinquishing the claim of indepen- own continent and in Europe, adequate dence. The administration are perfectly to all their views. They saw the world in acquainted wlth the various commercial admiration of their firmness and fortitude, engagements of the colonists, from which in the warmest applause even of their milithey cannot recede. It appeared like- tary achievements. The zeal of the French wise that the military as well as the civil | nation in their cause rose to the highest have concurred in reprobating every idea pitch of enthusiasm ; and even this island of a dependance on this country. The might say to America, in the words of sceptre of America is departed from Bri- | Horace, « te cæde gaudentes Britanni tain. Three months after the British army compositis venerantur armis.” had taken their eapital, the seat of the The hon. gentleman, Şir, who made you Congress, Philadelphia, Washington gave the motion for the third reading of the it out in general orders from head quarters, Bill, says, the Americans will see, “ that Dec. 17, 1777. " We may on the best we do not mean to tax them.” They have grounds conclude, that by a spirited con- | no confidence, Sir, in any of our profestinuance in the measures necessary for sions or promises. The act of parliament our defence, we shall finally obtain the of the session, or the secretary's official end of our warfare, independence, liberty, letter, they hold in equal contempt. In and peace.” In October 1774, the Con- 1765, there was so great a stagnation of gress humbly supplicated his Majesty for our commerce in consequence of the Stamp peace, liberty, and safety. Since that Act, that in the following year that unjust, period, safety had been secured to them as well as uncommercial Act, was repealed, by their own prowess, except indeed on and all the sources of trade between Great some parts of their very extensive coast. Britain and her colonies were again opened, They had since been driven into inde- and flowed in abundance. Notwithstand. pendence, and began to taste its sweets. ing this, in the very next year, duties to We had cancelled all the ties by which be paid in America were imposed on tea, the two countries were long held toge- glass, paper, and other articles, which
threw the whole empire again into con- | pendence? Have not the Americans exvulsions. America saw that we were not pressed the utmost abhorrence of the mito be confided in during the short period nisters, who are to nominate the commisof a single year, and that no tie, even of sioners, instead of a disposition to treat our own interest, could bind us to any with them and will they entertain a more terms of future security for them. It is favourable idea of their creatures? I must impossible, without the highest indigna- declare that I see nothing in the intended tion, to reflect from what a height of pros- | negociation, but disgrace and humiliation perity we are now in consequence fallen on our part after our repeated injuries. into an abyss of misery and ruin. The except indeed a lucrative job for five bold, dispositions of America in 1766 were most hungry dependents of the minister. Would friendly and affectionate. The wise mea- | to God, Sir, I may be mistaken, and that sure of the repeal of the Stamp Act dif- the commissioners may return to Europe fused universal joy through the thirteen, with unenvied wealth and bloodless laurels! now revolted, colonies. At Philadelphia Their grateful country will honour them in May 1766, they unanimously came to to its latest posterity, and their fame will the following resolutions : “ That to de- / be immortal. monstrate our zeal to Great Britain, and | An hon. gentleman (Mr. Burke) one · our gratitude for the repeal of the Stamp of the greatest ornaments of this House, Act, each of us will, on the 4th of June says, that he “ observes great benevolence next, being the birth day of our most gra- among us towards the Americans.” I cious sovereign George the 3rd, dress our- | heartily wish that I could discover it. selves in a new suit of the manufactures Among three sets of gentlemen, mentioned of England, and give what homespun we | by him, I fear the Americans have very have to the poor.” What were the una- few friends. All the dependents of admi. nimous resolutions of the Congress not nistration, the large majority in this House, ten years after, in the very same town? - who have voted all the cruel and oppresOur enemies have published them to the sive Acts now to be suspended, have cerworld with mockery and triumph. With tainly no great benevolence towards the what perfidy has the province of the Jer- | Americans. Those, who are accustomed seys been treated! When that province to pace in the trammels of a despotic mireturned to its allegiance, was it restored nister, and to be obedient to his sovereign to the free exercise of its trade and com- nod, naturally abhor the enthusiastic love merce, and to the same protection and se- of liberty, the uncontrouled spirit of the curity as if it had never revolted? Or did | sons of freedom in America. I suspect that province continue under the ban of likewise that there is not much good-will the empire, as a lucrative job to the friends towards our fellow-subjects in the colonies, of the minister? Yet the minister, in the among the inhabitants in the northern parts King's name, at the opening of the session of our own island. It would be a curious of parliament in Oct. 1775, solemnly held speculation to investigate the causes of the out such promises to the Americans. It marked hatred of the Scots in general to is impossible that the colonists can have the Americans. Is it, Sir, that although any confidence in such ministers, or their some small parts of America are almost agents, or commissioners; and unless men, over-run with Tories, as others are with as well as measures, are changed, no per- | different destructive animals, yet there manent reconciliation can be effected. scarcely ever was found a single Jacobite Our perfidy may, indeed, possibly be re- in all our colonies ? Are the Scots in detaliated upon us in a mock treaty and a spair, because they have not been able to delusive negociation ; but no stable, solid find any thing in North America conpeace can be obtained with the Americans genial with them? They cannot there by the authors of their grievances.
mingle treason with treason. Is it that, The ear of England, Sir, is rankly | believing the present resistance in the coabused by ministers who pretend to as- lonies to partake of the nature of a true sure us of pacific dispositions in the colo- rebellion, they are jealous of such an usurnies, and a desire to return to their depen- | pation of the Americans on their peculiar dence on the parent state, when not the prerogative? Scotland seems, indeed, the least symptom of such a nature has ap natural foyer of rebellion, as Egypt is of peared. Has the Congress, or any one the plague; but, Sir, no monopolies in this colony, made the least overture to a recon- commercial country are permitted. Manciliation, since their declaration of inde chester and Liverpool would oppose such
a monopoly, and justly claim no small | the honour of our sovereign, and the humashare in it, from their vigorous efforts in nity of the nation. I am shocked, Sir, at favour of the Pretender in 1745. It will, the false rumours daily spread, and the Sir, be a new and curious spectacle in foul reproaches cast on the common fa- . 1778, to mark the North pouring forth her ther of all his people. It is circulated in hardy sons to quell an American, not to aid print, Sir, that on the 17th of October, a 'native, rebellion, carefully nursed in our after Burgoyne's capitulation, in which frozen bosom, and afterwards in a tainted Gates demonstrated a refined sense of hopart of England kindly tendered and fos-nour, unparalleled in European armies, the tered in its progress to the South. The British general was received with respect, third set of persons, lately mentioned, are and dined with the American hero; that the country gentlemen. I respect the nothing unkind was said to him, except character, but I fear many of them are asking “ how he could find in his heart to hostile to America and American rights. burn the poor country people's houses
They are for the most part steady, not wherever he passed ;” and that he anburthened or perplexed with many ideas, swered, “ that it was the King's orders.” and perhaps with few of a very liberal From all the letters of Burgoyne it has nature. A single principle appears of late been repeatedly asserted, that the proto have governed them. They hoped to / ject of the Canadian expedition originated throw off from their shoulders on the poor from the closet of the King, and the office Americans a considerable part of the enor of the American Secretary; and that the mous burdens, under which they groan, employing the savages against our fellowof the debts of their late adopted German, subjects was among the primary ideas and the present American, war. The adopted on that occasion. The American noble lord with the blue ribbon had as- Secretary, in a letter to general Carleton, sured them of a solid and substantial re- dated Whitehall, March 26, 1777, says, venue from America. On this plan of “ As this plan cannot be advantageously private, economy to them the minister executed without the assistance of Canabargained for their support. Their dis- dians and Indians, his Majesty strongly appointment, and the sense of his jockey- | recommends it to your care to furnish both ship, has undoubtedly much chagrined expeditions with good and sufficient bothem—but I will not dwell on this subject. dies of those men. And I am happy in Their eyes seem to be opening, just as they knowing that your influence among them are drowning.
is so great, that there can be no room to Another hon. gentleman (Mr. Gilbert) | apprehend you will find it difficult to fulcomplains, “ that every thing respecting fil his Majesty's intentions.” In the the public is in a great degree neglected, “ Thoughts for conducting the war from and that some of our most important con- the side of Canada, by general Burgoyne," cerns are scarcely regarded.” He has which were approved by the King, Buraccordingly, with much good sense, held goyne desires a thousand or more savages. out to the House the idea of a committee to Colonel Butler was directed to distribute examine into the expenditure of the pub- the King's bounty-money among such of lic money during this war. I agree with the savages as would join the army; and, him, that nothing is now secure, or indeed after the delivery of the presents, he asks properly taken care of_except the Pro- for 4,0111. York currency more, before he testant succession. His proposals meet left Niagara. He adds, in a letter on our my full and warm approbation. Another table, “ I flatter myself that you will not committee, however, seems to me still think the expence, however high, to be more immediately necessary, a committee useless, or given with too lavish a handto enquire into the nature and causes of I waited seven days, to deliver them the the failure of the Canadian expedition, for presents, and give them the hatchet, we cannot hide the nation's scar. I am which they accepted, and promised to sorry to be informed that the House is to make use of it. This letter is dated be prorogued at Easter, for I fear we can Ontario, July 28, 1777. In another from not in this session undertake both these the same officer it is said, “ The Inimportant concerns. The enquiry into dians threw in a heavy fire on the rebels, the Canadian expedition, the loss of a Bri- and made a shocking slaughter with their tish army, and the horrid cruelties said to spears and hatchetsThe success of this be committed on our fellow-subjects, are day will plainly shew the utility of your of the first importance, both to vindicate excellency's constant support of my un