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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 earl 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 com- . specially pledged for what he could not
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 hagovernors, “ 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. in. what 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 kcep 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 drder 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 improof 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
personally ascribable to him. He never sovereign; but if any doubt remained of wished to shelter his conduct, as a minister, the true import and political construction behind the name of a king. Those who of the speech and the letter, the private acted with him knew the contrary. If instructions which accompanied both might any doubt remained, relative to the fair be easily guessed by that passage in lord interpretation of that letter, its true com- Botetourt's speech to the council and ment must be the King's speech, which house of burgesses of the province of Viraccompanied it, and was inclosed in it. In ginia, where his lordship tells them, “ that that his Majesty's sentiments, relative to his Majesty would rather forfeit his crown, the affairs of America, were laid open; than keep it by deceit.” It was, thereand it could hardly be supposed, that mi- fore, the delusion and deceit of ministers, nisters would, or that governors dare pledge which the Congress in their declaration themselves, for any measure contradictory of independence, mistakenly imputed to to that speech.
the King. It was upon this ground that His lordship affirmed, that he never en- his Majesty was first dethroned from the tertained a second opinion respecting Ame- dominion he held over their hearts and africa. He always thought, and should ever fections. This was the circumstance on think, that the supreme power of the em- which, he presumed, more than any other, pire was vested in the legislature of this the people of America withdrew their alcountry; and if a difference of opinion, legiance. If ministers had acted cruelly, upon the principle of those Bills, should if parliament had acted oppressively, the cause a division, he should give one more right of the crown could never have come proof that he had not deserted his princi- into controversy. The farthest they ever ples. He said, that nothing but necessity pretended to go, was to say,
we shall could justify the present Bills, and that too readily submit to be governed by the same of such a nature, as caused a necessity of king, but we will be bound by no laws concealing it. He had every reason to which we do not consent to, no government think that administration had not deserted we cannot controul.” They took the ma their principles, though they had changed ter up upon principles of genuine Whigtheir measures ; and that while they pro- gism, as distinguished from Toryism. The posed the present, they proposed them | Tories of 1688 said, the king had abdiwith shame. They blushed when they cated; the Whigs, that he had deserted found themselves compelled, as it were, to his crown, and thereby left the people at adopt them, and that from reasons which, liberty to establish what form of governperhaps, could not be properly or safely ment they pleased. So, in the present indeclared. He blushed himself, nay more, stance, as soon as the King made war he felt for the honour of his much-injured upon the whole body of his subjects in country, which had, on the present occa- America, they began to reason like the sion, felt this the most disgraceful day she Whigs of England. They said, though ever experienced. On the whole, how- unjustly, that he was a tyrant ; that he ever, such as the Bills were, he should not had deserted the government, and forfeitoppose them, unless the mere question of ed his dominion over them as sovereign, principle should come into discussion, and and that of course they were at liberty to bring on a division; because, be our mis- institute another in its stead. fortunes what they may, which he chiefly The Earl of Suffolk answered the point attributed to a want of alacrity, firmness, of inconsistency, charged on him and the and decision of the ministers, he would rest of the King's servants, in relation to rather confide in the present ministers than the present Bills. He said, it was a new
doctrine in politics, which was supposed to The Duke of Richmond contended, that bind a man to the same conduct in all posthe first passage in the circular letter per- sible situations. He always understood sonally referred to the King, as an indivi- that ministers, indeed all men, suited and dual distinguished from his servants; and shaped their conduct to circumstances, when the intentions of the King's minis- events and exigencies. Were it otherters, of not meaning to lay further taxes wise, no person would be a free agent ; he for the purpose of raising a revenue, and would, indeed, possess the powers of disto repeal the port duties upon commercial crimination and judgment to no purpose, principles follow, the King's servants are if he was forbid the exercise of them, and therein described as only acting by the only permitted to retain the liberty of actorder, and under the influence of their ing wrong. He was free to acknowledge
that he once entertained a very different claimed; the point in issue was given up; opinion from the measures now offered to taxation expressly, and supremacy by im. their lordships' consideration. He thought, plication; and upon what grounds ? Be. as we had a right, so we should have exer- fore we know that the other party would cised the right of every species of govern- even so much as treat, you tell America mental controul over America. Hethought, your terms; you give them up so much in maintenance of that right, we were jus- certain : you encourage them to look for tified in compelling the colonies to acknow more. Will they not at least hold you to ledge it. He had every reason to think, your promise? Are they not at liberty to that as we had the means of compulsion, insist for as much as they please? And the issue of the dispute would have been even if the fate of war should, after a correspondent to those means. He was long and ruinous contest, declare in our convinced now, that it was every way more favour, are not you, as a matter of right, wise to depart from this plan, in some in- bound to your first engagement? What stances, and concede, than persist in it; was just, fair, and equitable, can never yet in all this he could perceive no con- change its nature; so that by disclosing tradiction; circumstances had materially your plan, you leave America to demand changed, and so had his opinion : but as to any thing she may think proper, and bind those he first acted upon, he still thought yourselves, should the colonies refuse, to them right; and was willing to believe the fight, not for your rights, which are almeasures adopted in consequence of them ready given up in this Bill, but for whatmust have succeeded, had it not been from ever America may chuse to ask. His lord. some untoward accidents that could nei- ship contended, that no similar instance ther be foreseen, nor provided against. It existed in the history of negotiation. The had been strongly relied upon in debate, Bills carried with them certain ruin to this that America would_spurn the offers held country; or were merely meant to deceive Ont in those Bills. For his part, he was of the other. On the other hand, if commis
ery different opinion. He had the most sioners were armed with full powers to undoubted information, that the Ameri- treat, without disclosing the real intentions cans wel in the greatest distress, and of parliament, offers might be indifferently would therefore embrace any reasonable made, and each party having agreed on propositions of peace and civil security. certain fundamental points, might then, But supposing that the colonies should re- after consulting their principals, be armed fuse to treat, he could assure their lord with new and sufficient powers to bring ships, that this nation had still powerful the treaty to a fair and full conclusion. resources in men and money; and he He was against the Bill in point of printrusted, a spirit equal to the maintaining ciple; but even if he were not, this mode of their rights, and the asserting of their adopted, of informing those with whom you honour against every power of every kind, were to treat, with the great outlines of who dared to withhold one, or insult the your plan, was a sufficient reason with him other. He so far agreed with the noble for giving the Bill his most hearty negative. duke, that the concessions in the Bills Whatever the real disposition of the were not intended to go so far as to con- House might be, he could not tell: but cede the dependency of the colonies on whether or not a division should take Great Britain ; for if the former persisted place, he took this opportunity of acquaintin their claim of independency, he could ing their lordships, that he had called upon assure his grace, it would never be ad- a noble friend of his that morning, who, as mitted.
the last act of his political life, learning he Earl Temple said, he came down to ex- was coming down, gave him his proxy, and press his highest indignation and contempt desired he might give it against the Bill. of the measure contained in the present | The noble lord to whom he alluded, he Bills ; especially the commissioners Act, said, was lord Milton. which was a pretended copy of that, for His lordship said, he believed America impowering the crown, in the reign of had aimed at independency from the bequeen Anne, to appoint commissioners to ginning. He was assured by an hon. relatreat, relative to an union between Eng- tion of his, now deceased (the late Mr. land and Scotland. But what was the Grenville) and he knew it to be so, that tenor and spirit of the Act now on the he applied to the people of America table? Why, the powers of the commis- through the channel of their friends in the sioners were defined; the terms were pro- city, to assist in what manner might prove agreeable to them, towards relieving this Franklin and Deane, represented miniscountry from a proportionate share of the ters, as in the act of doing homage to burdens, according to their means, which those personages in sack-cloth and ashes. had been necessarily incurred in defend. Thepresent Bills, said he, are so disgraceful ing them in the course of the late war, in every point in which they are to be previous to his proposing the Stamp Act : viewed, that venit summa dies may now be but after several communications and let- unhappily applied to the glory of this ters on the subject between the persons country! The late lord Granville predicted concerned, the colonies absolutely refused that such a day would come : but nothing to contribute, in any manner, a single shil- short of the most rooted folly, and the ling. He had another strong reason to most abject cowardice in ministers, could confirm him in the same way of thinking, have accelerated it so rapidly. With re. that was, the pointed observations con- gard to the right of Great Britain to exact tained in the letters attributed to M. Mont- à revenue from America, I never enter. calm, which indeed bear the stamp of pre- tained a doubt of it, nor that the colonies diction, more than hypothetical reasoning. secretly looked forward to independency. The authenticity of those letters had been The letters I have already alluded to prove often disputed; but he could affirm, that it; it is ridiculous, therefore, to argue, he saw them in manuscript, among the that America had no such view, till compapers of a minister now deceased, long pelled to it by the rigour of this country. before they made their appearance in print, On the whole, his lordship predicted, that and at a time when American indepen- the present Bills, if passed, would prove dency was in the contemplation of a very ineffectual. The commissioners who should few persons indeed. His lordship, after act under them would be treated with con. imputing to administration every mischief, tempt; and the national character would which folly, ignorance, temerity, and pol be additionally disgraced. While he reprotroonery, were capable of effecting, charged bated the pusillanimity and obstinacy of them directly, in the present instance, administration, he lamented the fallen with downright imposition. He asked condition of this country; reduced, in them, what possible good could result from their hands, to make a public offer of the present Bills, if what was generally, terms, without knowing whether those nay universally, believed without doors was terms would be accepted; men who had true? He meant the famous manifesto shewn to the whole world they were inissued by the American agents in France capable of conducting a war; and were in December, 1776, in which they specially now preparing to give another proof of declare themselves independent of Great their incapacity, by shewing they do not Britain, renounce all future connexion know how to make peace. with us, and inform the several sovereign The Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. John powers in Europe, particularly those of Hinchcliffe), after assuring the House, France, Spain, Germany and Prussia, that that he had determined, while measures they intended to send ambassadors, as free of coercion were pursued, not to trouble and independent states, and hold out to their lordships again with the vain repetithem, as an encouragement, those general tion of his objections, added—But solicitous advantages which may be derived from a as I have ever been for reconciliation, commerce to be carried on with a mer- upon the best terms, which from time to cantile and trading people, and the reci- time could be had with America; I cannot procal interest arising from such an inter- but congratulate your lordships on this
He asked the ministers, if they concurrence of our sentiments, that peace knew any thing of this public declaration with our colonies is acknowledged to be, and invitation ? And no answer being re- according to the expression of a noble lord turned, he observed, that he was convinced in office, highly proper, at least, if not, as ministers were better acquainted with the another noble earl, a friend to administraBook of Numbers, than the Book of Wis- tion, declares, absolutely necessary. It nedom. His lordship, after condemning vertheless appears to me, there is but too ministers for raising the spirit of the nation, much reason to apprehend, that the wisrelative to the new levies, and letting it dom which our experience has purchased down by this disgraceful measure, which, at the price of so much blood and treasure, he said, went to throw this country, its par- may still prove abortive, from the vain liament, and the people at large, at the imagination, that America, circumstanced feet of the deputies of the Congress, Messrs. as she is now, will be induced to treat at all, while the sword is drawn against her, by a respectable colony, it was rejected, and while the terms of reunion, are, after with, what appeared to him, a degree of the commissioners shail have approved passion and asperity very unbecoming the them, to be still left subject to the con- dignity and wisdom of so respectable an troul of parliament. It was this claim of assembly. [It was a petition from the parliament to judge of the sufficiency of province of New York, for the repeal of the contributions, which principally caused the tea duty.] He said he thought the the former propositions to be rejected; present Bills well suited to produce the and while the least uncertainty remains, effects expected from them. Every mawhether the concessions mutually agreed terial objection to the claims of this counupon, will finally be satisfactory and con- try were removed. Taxation was relinclusive, I cannot see how it is reasonable quished farther than it depended on the to expect, that there can be, on the part duty and generosity of the Americans of America, that degree of confidence, themselves. On the other hand, the suwhich is the only foundation of peace. i premacy of this country was asserted, and submit these doubts to your lordships' would, 'if accommodation took place, be consideration, on a supposition, that Ame- preserved. The only colour of an objecrica is not yet formally connected with tion to the Bills was, what had been stated France: should that be the case, as a no. by a noble duke early in the day, that a ble duke has assured us it is; all delibera- treaty had been entered into by the Contion on these propositions, is, I fear, vain gress delegates and the French court; but and nugatory: the circumstances of our even though this report should prove true, situation call your attention to matters of he did not yet despair but America would more immediate concern; nor is the ques- quit her former engagements, and return tion, whether we are to give up all hopes to her native country. of regaining America by the sword, but The Earl of Shelburne considered the how we are to get our troops back again Bills in two points of view, in both of in safety? But, if haply, America is still which, he said, they were defective, and at liberty to treat with us, the only way of proceeded upon wrong principles. The doing it effectually is to acquire her con- first was, the implied, though not the fidence, by giving her first every testimony avowed motives for adopting the present of our own. Is it possible to expect she measure, as leaving no other alternative will consent to such a peace, as we may for us to embrace but approving them, or think honourable, unless she is first con- suffering America to render herself indevinced, we no longer mean hostilities ? pendent; the other, the means proposed The propositions, worded as they are, of preventing the latter part of the altermean to imply acknowledgment of Great native from taking effect. On the first of Britain's supremacy. A noble earl has these, he said, he would never consent said, that the Americans do virtually re- that America should be independent. The nounce their independence, if they con- idea he ever entertained of the connection sent at all to treat with the commissioners. between both countries was, that they I cannot, therefore, but observe, that these should have one friend, one enemy, one propositions do at the same time admit, purse, and one sword; and that Greatthat independence not (as it has been Britain should superintend the interests of often asserted to be) the general and main the whole, as the great controuling power. object of America. I am, indeed, per- That both countries should have but one suaded, that it was not so from the begin will, though the means of expressing that ning; and I do firmly believe, that there will might be different, distinct, and varied. is still among those descendants of Eng. He contended, that all this might have lishmen, attachment enough left to the been procured not long since; and he still stock from whence they sprung, not only retained strong hopes that it could be efto make them wish for reunion, but dis- fected, and that, too, without measures of pose them likewise to consult the honour blood. It was once optional, and still and dignity of their mother country, if sible; and he would never adopt any haply they were convinced, that she neither scheme which would go to dissever our means to deceive them at present, or op- colonies from us ; for as soon as that event press them for the future.