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heard to the contrary, she was completely / and suffering them to be run down, to save equipped for sea, and every way ready themselves, for not being capable of giving for immediate service. If however, his proper instructions. I will therefore menlordship still retained any doubt, con- tion those two brave officers, the Howes; cerning her condition, he would soon give better, nor more disinterested men, never orders to have another vessel ready for served the King. How are they pulled to him to hoist his flag aboard.
pieces, without cause! Had I not expeThe Earl of Bristol. I should not have rience of the cruel fate of a great, and I risen again to trouble your lordships, but will say, brave admiral, that of admiral that I have been so applied to, and that Byng, who was sent out with a fleet so . I think it necessary to say something upon ) insufficient for the purpose, and who fell it, late as it is. But, my lords, as I shall a sacrifice to screen an infamous ministry? always consider myself as last, so shall | My lords, I will be no scape-goat for any I suspend answering that part of the noble administration ; let me go out with proper earl's speech (lord Sandwich) until I have ships, properly manned, and I will defy all wiped off the imputation which his lordship ministers whatever, and will be answerable unjustly has thrown upon as great and for the rest. good an officer, as any in the world; to The Committee divided on the question whom this country is so much obliged, that the chairman leave the chair : Conand whom nothing his lordship or any tents, 64; Not-contents, 26. The House other man can say, can stain. I mean lord | being resumed, the Resolutions were all Hawke. The noble lord tells us, when put and negatived." he came to the Board of Admiralty, he found the guard-ships all rotten, fitted with Debate in the Lords on the American rotten stores, and not kept as if intended Conciliatory Bills.] March 5. Previous for service. My lords, this is such an im- to the order of the day being read, putation on that great man's character, as The Duke of Grafton rose. He said I never will admit of. I had the honour he must trouble their lordships with a few of sitting at that board, at that time, with words, relative to a matter exceedingly the present first lord of it: and I never important for the House to be aware of, understood that those were the reasons before they began a debate upon the Bills for changing those guard-ships. Those which had passed the other House, and ships had been thought long enough in upon which the fate of this country matecommission, and that others would be more rially depended. He had a question to proper ships, and might be better fitted put to the lords in office, which it was as such; but the great reason of all was, their duty to reply to without reserve, that many of the captains had been their and which, from the respect he entertained full three years, and that some practices for their lordships, he should hold himself had crept into some of them, which was blameable, were he not at that particular necessary to be remedied, by paying them moment to agitate. His grace then said, off. But this was no more a fault in lord that a hon. kinsman of his (Mr. Fox) Hawke, than if such were to happen now had received information, that the court in some of the ships; and that the noble of France had actually signed a treaty of lord now at the board were to change the commerce with the deputies of the Amecaptains, or the ships. That as to ships rican Congress; that his kinsman had of 74 guns, which his lordship says, 600 communicated that information to no men is more than a sufficient complement other person but himself, and that it had for, I can by no means acquiesce in that made so strong an impression on his mind opinion. The last war I had 650 men in from the channel through which it came, the Dragon, and which was not the largest that if the two secretaries of state, and the class of ships of that rate ; and I could whole cabinet council, were to declare the have dispensed very well with fifty more. I contrary, they could not do away that conAs to what his lordship has said of the viction which he felt of its being matter of Queen; I shall be always ready to serve fact. His kinsman had in the other House my king and country when I am wanted; of Parliament put the question to the mibut I will'ever persist in my determination nister of that place, who had given an not to go aboard any ship so manned. I evasive answer, but the matter was of too abhor the present mode of ministers and important a nature, and at that time too their hirelings whispering away the cha- immediately critical, to be passed over in racters of their admirals and generals ; silence. Some explanation was due to [VOL. XIX.)
their lordships, previous to their entering treaty being either in contemplation of into debate upon Bills, the effect of which existence. altogether depended on the drift of that The Duke of Grafton said, the noble explanation; "he therefore hoped one or viscount had not explicitly replied to his other of the secretaries of state would rise, question; that the noble viscount took is and give their lordships that information up at the time that it was mentioned by on the subject, which they had an un- his hon. kinsman in the lower House; doubted right to be masters of. If the that many days had elapsed since, more information was true, it was absurd to in- than sufficient for ministers to have ascer. bult parliament, with the appearance of tained the fact; that if they had not got at reconciliation, that was no longer practi. the truth of a matter so exceedingly imcable. If ministers replied in the affirma- portant to be known at this pressing tive, they were culpable in the highest crisis, it must appear to all the world that degree, in concealing intelligence of so the King of Great-Britain was served by important a nature from parliament; and the most shamefully ignorant and uninunder the cover of that concealment, lead-formed ministry that ever undertook the ing it into measures of futility and public management of public affairs. His grace dishonour. If they reply in the negative, again enforced the idea of its being true their conduct was still, if possible, more that such a treaty had been signed, and reprehensible, their incapacity more glar- urged the King's servants to tell the House ing, in being entirely wanting in that spe- all they knew respecting it.
es of inforination, which it was the duty Viscount Weymouth declared, that the of their stations to procure. His grace noble duke, by mentioning his hon. kinsdesired the House to recollect, that it was man having put the question in the lower on the 5th of March, he put this question House, naturally obliged him to recur to to the King's ministers.
that point of time. That he had precisely Viscount Weymouth said, the noble and plainly stated a fact, namely, that he duke had himself assigned a sufficient rea- really knew not a word of any such treaty son for the silence of every lord in office, having been signed, by declaring, that if they and the whole. The order of the day for the second cabinet denied the fact, and that in ever so reading of the American Conciliatory Bills, explicit a manner, he would not be con was then read. vinced, nor give up his belief of it. Re- The Earl of Radnor said, this country spect, however, to their lordships, and that was wrong in the out-set, and hitherto duty which he always conceived, he was continued obstinately to persevere in imbound to discharge, by giving them every policy and injustice. What the effect of possible satisfaction respecting all sorts of the present Bills might be, he did not prequestions in his power to answer, and fit tend to determine. We had no right to to be answered, would not suffer him to tax unrepresented America. The idea remain silent; he had, indeed, heard of was no less absurd and unjust, than the the treaty from out-door report, and he event had hitherto proved disgraceful had heard that an hon. gentleman in ano-and unprosperous. Englishmen, as they ther place had asked the minister the carried their rights with them, on their question, and received a satisfactory an- first migration, so they retained the swer. With regard to what the duke had spirit, resolution, and firmness of English thrown out, the most convincing way of men, in bravely asserting and mainreply would be not to argue upon it, but taining those rights. The constitution to come immediately to the point, for declared, in so many words, that no Engwhich reason he would fully and fairly lishman can be taxed but by his own speak to it; he did therefore, in the plain- consent. It has been the language of all est and most precise manner, assure their ages, since the first foundation of the molordships, that he knew not of any such narchy. The most weak, cruel, despotic, treaty having been signed or entered into, and ambitious monarchs have acceded to between the court of France and the de- this doctrine, as a first principle, not diputies of the Congress, and he hoped their rectly to be controverted, though they lordships would not fail to remember, that have often attempted to evade it. They it was on the 5th of March likewise, that acknowledged the general rule, and never he stood up in his place, and declared he ventured further than to state exceptions knew nothing of any such treaty, nor had to it. Apply this reasoning to the claims any authentic information of any such of this country, and see whether they can
stand an instant; certainly not. The mode adopted was ingenious and plausible. The King, by his prerogative, pretends to no such right; he is no farther concerned than as one of the branches of the legislature in asserting it. whom are subjects to be taxed 2 By parliament alone. f, then, parliament is solely vested with the power of levying taxes, who shall deny that power, or refuse to pay those taxes: But here it is clearly perceivable, that a constitutional power is misapplied in the most gross manner, and that, too, on an idea the most preposterous that ever entered into the mind of man. America, say the friends of thisargument, is ...Y in England; that is, the name of representation is held out, while no essential quality of representation is preserved. The repeal of the Stamp Act, however, put an end to this solemn mockery of every appearance of common sense and common justice; virtual representation was given up; and the next year a more rational, though an equally unjust claim, was set up, the curious distinction between internal and external taxation. The supremacy of this country, the monopoly of the trade of America, were to be secured; but by what means? By port-duties, for the purpose of raising a revenue. Here, it is plain, the principle was the same, though the mode was varied. Who could say, if you laid on one duty and it had been acquiesced in, but you might lay on a hundred, and that to any extent, and on what commodities you pleased ?. The principle of both was equally erroneous; no alternative remained, but that the colonies should tax themselves, or be slaves. These, he said, were his sentiments from the beginning, as well when he had the honour of a seat in the other House, as
well as taxation. His lordship, from speculative reasoning, adverted to facts; and shewed, in a variety of instances, the
ect to their several measures. Amongst the most leading of those, were the Acts of coercion, passed during the four last years; and, as the epitome of the whole, that infamous Bill the Quebec Act, by which the bloody and senseless superstitions of the church of Rome were established in so wide an extent of the British empire; and our Protestant colonies, as it were, hemmed in on every side by a people inimical to them on account of religion. This preference given to strangers and Papists, who, by the Act alluded to, were rendered rivals to them, though no other provocation had been given, was sufficient, in his opinion, to alienate the affections of the colonies from the parent state; but it was no more than a leading feature in that system of despotism, introduced into our counsels since the commencement of the present reign. A system designed to procure submission in every instance in which executive government was concerned. A submission in religious, as well as civil matters, and all made subservient to the will of the governors, not the happiness, prosperity, or confidence of the governed. Absolute supremacy, and absolute submission, were the great objects of the reigning politics for some years past; but, thank God! that system, however seemingly permament, was at the eve of a sudden dissolution. Its fate was on the point of being determined: and while he was up, he could not avoid congratulating their lordships and his country, that in the midst of their calamity, they had the consolation to reflect, that the resistance of America would be the great means of prolonging those national liberties which, in point of constitutional effect, though not of form, had been nearly extinguished, and must in the end have been overthrown, but for the exalted virtues and heroic spirit of their brethren on the other side of the Atlantic. He did not rise to make a personal attack upon ministers. He lamented the cause of his rising in some particulars as much as any noble lord present. Ministers, he presumed, may have been deluded or misled themselves. He reproached none. If some had acted from motives of pride or false ambition, he did not accuse nor insult the m in their ideal schemes of folly; they here sufficiently humbled; pride had had a fall. If
cruelty, folly, injustice, and even irreli- any had conceived high exprectations of revenge was the great motive of their con- | they were synonimous terms. Who, then, duct, even the very persons whom they were to be the real negociators, or the inhad endeavoured to exterminate or lead in structors of those who would be appointed chains, must pity them in their present to negociate? Most assuredly those very humiliating mortified state, suing for par- ministers who had been the persecutors don at the foot of a triumphant enemy; and oppressors of America! Was it proif it was not rather a just punishment for , bable, then, that the Americans would having suffered so black a passion to be treat, or hold any communication with one of the leading motives of their con- ' commissioners thus instructed ? If any duct. On the whole, he thought, that man could believe it, he pitied his crethe concessions now made, considering dulity. Can the Americans expect justhe inglorious circumstances which ac- tice or good faith, from the very persons companied them, would terminate as in- who have heaped upon them the most uneffectually towards procuring reconcilia. heard of cruelties, and unprecedented option, as they were every way disgraceful. pressions; who have acted with a perfidy
gious conduct of ministers. These several charges he maintained, by a retro
conquest, it was needless to emind them
that they had ingloriously failed. And if
The Duke of Richmond called upon unparalleled, and with an insolence not to some of the King's servants to explain to be endured ? the House the reasons of their 'silence, The noble duke read the Declaration of and why they had abandoned all their · American Independence by the Congress; former high-sounding terms of the su- and after commenting on it paragraph by premacy of parliament, and unconditional paragraph, appealed to ministers, whether submission, and now came to sue to Ame- ihey meant to concede the several points rica for peace? Such a silence, he ob- : therein set forth, or subscribe to the geserved, was unprecedented in the annals neral assertions therein contained ? This of parliament.
Declaration asserted, that the King was a The Earl of Suffolk replied, that he did tyrant; complained that troops had been not hear any thing specially urged against sent and quartered among them without the Bills; when he did, it would be time their consent; that the Admiralty courts enough for him to combat the objection. were a grievance; that Acts'suspending
The Duke of Richmond rose again, he those of their respective assemblies had said, to deprive the noble earl of the be- been passed in the British parliament; nefit of this apology. He had little more that the King having acted tyrannically, expectations of peace being effected by they had justly withdrawn themselves from the present Bills, than from any of the his allegiance; that the judges enjoying preceding measures adopted by ministers. their offices during pleasure, were thereby He was convinced, that nothing solid was rendered dependent on the crown, &c. In intended; that the Bills were framed with short, his grace, at the end of every sena design to divide America on one side, tence, put the question to ministers, wheand to keep up appearances with those ther in any, all, or which instance, they who supported the measures of govern- would instruct their commissioners to asment here at home. He did not assert sent, acknowledge, or ratify, on the part this on any vague, speculative imagination, of the king and parliament, those several that ministers, though they had changed assertions and claims ? their measures, still retained their former After condemping that part of the Desentiments ; he reasoned from the Bills claration, which branded the King as a ty, themselves. The preamble of the com- rant, for whose virtues, he said, he entermissioners Bill was the strongest evidence tained the highest opinion, his grace proof the truth of what he asserted. It said, ceeded to shew the reasons why so indethat all the troubles had originated in mis- cent and disrespectful a language was representation of what? Of the very adopted by the Congress. This was no doctrines contained in the Bill itself, other but the very improper and unconstiwhich maintained the supremacy of this tutional use which had been made of the country in its fullest extent. He said, King's name from the beginning, and prethough there existed no other objection vious to the present unhappy contest. to the measure, the vesting in the crown He affirmed that this was evident, in the appointment of the commissioners was almost every measure which ministers sufficient to defeat the whole scheme, al. thought fit to adopt. Out of a great lowing government to be perfectly sin- number, he should select two, and submit cere. It was ridiculous, in this instance, to their lordships, whether the charge was to separate the crown from ministers : well founded. The first was in the circu.
lar letter, written by the noble lord (Hills- | not permit him, that of moving the previborough) at the head of the American ous question, to get rid of the resolutions. department, dated Whitehall, 13th of May, No, the noble earī then at the head of the 1769, in which'that noble lord, in behalf American department, had the modesty of himself and the other members of the himself to move an adjournment. cabinet, promised not in the name of the His grace said, as to the whole measure, parliament, but in that of the King : “ His he feared it would miscarry, for the reaMajesty's present administration_his Ma- sons already assigned. This being his jesty's present servants—his Majesty re-opinion, if his advice was taken, he would lies upon your prudence and fidelity-it is recommend to withdraw the troops. Amehis Majesty's intention, &c. that no fur- rica still retained an affection for this ther taxes for the purpose of raising a country. He had great reason to believe, revenue shall be laid on the colonies." that it would be the interest of the colonies Here, said his grace, the King's word was to give us a preference in point of comspecially pledged for what he could not merce. Such a commercial intercourse constitutionally perform. It was not com- would be no less advantageous to them petent to the King to lay on, or remit any than to us. The experience of the last tax; when, therefore, the promise came two or three years shewed, they could not to be performed, the colonies looked to do without British commodities; they had their sovereign for the performance of it; them, though through new channels; and but ministers having shifted, by so doing, one of the most intelligent merchants in rendered themselves further irresponsible; the city (Mr. Glover) assured him, that and this may account in some measure for whether friends or enemies, they could the very unbecoming language which per- not supply themselves with several of the vades the whole performance I have been commodities they wanted, so well elsereading. Again, in consequence of the where. It was certainly the interest of same circular letter, in which is contained both countries to live on terms of amity. this remarkable expression, to the several | If his advice were taken, sooner than ha. governors, “ The King trusts to a full and zard a farther continuance of the war, he explicit explanation of his sentiments;" would recommend to declare America. inwhat did lord Botetourt tell the council dependent, because he feared we must and House of Assembly of the colony of consent to it at last; however, if it was Virginia, in support of the promises con- the sense of the House, that the experitained in the said letter? Nothing less ment of treaty should be tried, he had no than " that his Majesty would rather for- objection. If, on the other hand, Ame. feit his crown, than keep it by deceit.” rica should prove implacable from the
After asserting, that his Majesty had cruelties she had suffered, and the injuries lost the affection of his American subjects, she had sustained, and should make a comby the daring, perfidious, and unconstitu. mercial treaty with France in preference tional language of ministers, he said he to England, even in that case, he would would state a remarkable instance of the much rather withdraw the troops, and temerity of one of them. He said, the leave that country to act according to its Journals of the House would be the most own pleasure, than continue the war, in undoubted documents in proof of what he order to recover what we had lost by our was about to state. It was on the 18th of own imprudence and pernicious counsels. May, 1770,when the very same administra- ! The Earl of Hillsborough said, that the tion as that which now directed the affairs of noble duke had made a personal attack this country were in power, that he moved upon him, by no means well founded. He several Resolutions, expressing a censure never used the King's name in an impro. of the same noble lord (Hillsborough) and per, unconstitutional manner; he appealed that on the very specific ground, chiefly, in particular to the letter now mentioned, which he had now stated.* What was the and begged it might be read. [It was read conduct of the noble lord ? Very different by the clerk.] He complained how cruelly indeed from that of the noble earl at the and unjustly he had been attacked; and head of the Admiralty on a recent occasion. appealed to their lordships, whether there He did not desire, as that noble earl did, was a single passage in that letter, whlch the friendly aid of his noble friend (lord could justify the imputation thrown upon Gower) to do what his own delicacy would him by the noble duke, of his mentioning
the measures proposed by the King's ser* See Vol. 16, p. 1018.
vants, as solely the King's measures, or