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the same thing. Instead of condemning the Act, and disavowing the principle on which it was framed, it talks of uneasinesses and misapprehensions. And what more does it contain : Nothing, but a simple repeal, on the same grounds of concealed necessity. Instead of ministers acknowledging themselves the aggressors, or that they proceeded upon misinformation; instead of pledging themselves under the sanction of parliament, that the charters of the respective provinces shall be preserved inviolate, they tell the party ag. grieved, that it was their own fault: they assert, by implication at least, that they were right, and justify their present concession on the o: necessity; a circumstance which would serve to inflame, and not tend to heal the breach between the two countries. When ministers consented to repeal the Charter Act (for he understood the proposition for a repeal did not originate with them) why not declare at once, that this kingdom would never again meddle with a tittle of any of the American charters ? Why not in the moment of remedying one grievance, give assurance to the colonies, that they should never have cause for a second complaint of a similar nature. His lordship came next to the most material of his objections against the Bill for sending out commissioners. This, he said, meant nothing, or worse than nothing; it seemed much better calculated to divide than conciliate. It empowered to do, what? To treat with America, and then return to Europe to consult parliament. This wears a very suspicious appearance. Why not, instead of arming commissioners with powers, not to be regulated, nor of course properly exercised, why not repeal the obnoxious Acts at once 3 Such a conduct would shew that you were in earnest. The commissioners are charged and restricted by the Bill, to take care of the rights of the crown, and the liberties of the subject; the most vague, indefinite words imaginable. What are those rights 2 And what are the privileges alluded to 2 How can men act under such powers 2 And is they should act under them, what possible security is there, that either the crown or parliament will consent to abide by them 2 No; blundering as ministers are, ignorant as they have proved themselves, they seem to have taken care, by the terms of this Bill, to disavow its ostensive purposes, whenever they shall get rid of this necessity, which
they seem so desirous to conceal. His lordship asked, why administration could not at the outset have proposed the repeal of the obnoxious Acts all together, previous to the sending out the commissioners? They could not be ignorant, that if America consented to treat at all, she would make that the sine qua non of every species of treaty. The truth is, they want to rest on their arms, and to draw breath; to keep their places in the mean time, and wait for some favourable event, either by dividing America, or when they have got clear of this accursed necessity, return to their old principles, which they have been honest enough to give but nominally up. As a matter of constitutional import, distinct from the Bill, his lordship reprobated in the strongest terms the suspending power vested in the commissioners. It was a clause of dangerous precedent; and, if he let it pass without a particular opposition on the present occasion, he wished to be understood, that it was not without a high degree of disapprobation; and hereafter, if a similar measure should be repeated, he should most certainly give it a separate and distinct opposition. He added, that if the necessity which the ministry assigned as a cause for their at this moment adopting a measure repeatedly suggested by opposition, and which a little time since might have been put in practice, with a moral certainty of success, and with a colour of more honour than at present, if that necessity arose from a knowledge of a treaty, offensive and defensive, having been agitated, or signed, between France and America, which had been mentioned, it was the duty of ministers explicitly to tell their ii. how that matter stood. The King's servants could not be ignorant of the truth of the business. It had come out in the lower house of parliament three weeks since; there had been time and time enough for them to have ascertained the fact; nay, report said, that they not only knew it, but that they had sent emissaries to tamper with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Deane, the Congress's deputies to the court of France, to whom they had offered the terms which these Bills on the table went to authorize, and the terms had been rejected with contempt. Report, indeed, went further; report said, that they had even applied to the Congress in America: that they had stated every proposition they meant to offer, and that they had been rejected. If the fact were so, his lordship said, nothing could excuse, nothing could palliate the presumption and the wickedness of holding out such a trick, such a deception to the nation, as the present recanting scheme manifested in the Bills upon the table, which, if not successful, must add to our difficulties, and increase our dishonour. In order more fully to shew the folly of sending out terms which were likely to be refused, his lordship desired the ministers to advert to the inevitable consequences of a nugatory treaty—a war with France and Spain; and to consider, whether a country so fatigued with a contest with one foe, as to be forced to acknowledge an indispensible necessity of making unlimited concessions, in order to procure peace, was capable of fighting three enemies at once; to maintain her quarrel with America, and at the same time to give battle to her two seconds, France and Spain, who came fresh into the field. His lordship, before he concluded, said, that America would never treat with the present ministry, and that while they remained in office, it was idle for the people of this country either to expect peace, happiness, or honour. Lord Lyttelton defended administration on the ground of necessity, and said, the exigencies of affairs made it necessary for them to alter their measures; that the present Bills were not acts of inconsistency, but a desire to do that at a less expence of blood and treasure, which they, in all probability, may command in two years time. The present necessity of giving up the exercise of the right of taxation, in which he thought the supremacy of this nation involved, did not arise from the faults of administration, but must be in the execution of their plans. He blamed the inactivity of general Gage at Boston, and the backwardness of general Howe, who appeared to have acted with an ill-timed prudence, when every thing depended upon an expeditious exertion of our force. The Duke of Grafton rose to rescue his administration from the general censure which had been thrown out upon preceding administrations, under which the seeds of this rebellion were said to have been sown. He defied any lord to point out a word respecting the discontents in America, in any speech delivered to parliament by his Majesty, whilst he was in office. He did not, however, assert, that the colonies were perfectly contented at that period; they had begun to exhibit some [VOL. XIX. 1
marks of discontent. He might compare America, at that time, to a generous steed, who had become a little restive, but might, by the experienced manége of a good horseman, be easily brought to a gentle obedience; but when whipped, spurred, and harrassed, by a giddy, wanton rider, became insolent of controul, and disdained the reins. He then turned to the intended commissioners, and said, he understood that the two commanders in chief by sea and land were to be in the commission. This he thought highly imprudent, as though they might be excellent commanders, yet they might not, like the great Marlborough, unite the powers of negociation with the talents of war. He then alluded to the report of the appointment of lord Carlisle to be one of the commissioners; and though he gave the noble lord credit for abilities and many amiable qualities, professed that he thought his lordship capable of almost every trust that his Majesty could repose in him, except the present; for there were certain prejudices in the people of America against certain peculiarities of his lordship. Earl Gower defended the abilities of his noble relation (lord Carlisle), and doubted not he would execute any trust of negociation with honour to himself, and satisfaction to their lordships. The Bishop of Chester (Dr. Beilby Porteus) spoke for the first time. He was favourable to conciliation with America, and quoted the Abbé Raynal, who had recently published his thoughts on the nature ...i probable consequences of the present dispute between Great Britain and her colonies. This man, though a professed advocate for America, and a strong patriot, says, that it is not for the interest of America to separate herself from the parent state; nay more, that it is not good policy in France to support the pretensions of the colonies; the municipal rights and local privileges of America it is the interest equally of all parties concerned to continue in their former situations. From these general acknowledged principles of sound policy, the right rev. prelate concluded, that Great Britain and America, when their passions were a little cooled, and their animosities subsided, would on motives of fraternal affection, as well as reciprocal interest, perceive, that they had been both in the wrong, and once more unite and agree upon terms of the most perfect amity and good-will. Some, said the right reverend [3 K1
prelate, think the Bills offer too much, I “ Dissentient. others say, they offer too little; therefore, “ Because the terms now offered by the I think they contain just enough.
above Bills to America, whilst sufficient to The Duke of Richmond retorted, that shew the very humiliating state to which the right reverend prelate had found out the dignity and boasted supremacy of para new mode of reasoning, namely, that liament are reduced, are insufficient to the that must be right, which pleased nobody. great end of conciliation proposed by
The Duke of Gordon said, he would them; and for the following reasons : assent to the Bills, not that he liked them 1. “ Because (as to the first Bill), a in all parts, but as the only pacific terms declaration not to impose taxation on Ame. offered. This, he said, he did entirely rica, is, in the very suspension of the exer. from himself, without the influence of any cise, a confirmation of the right; for, withminister; and though he held his seat there out the right, the declaration is void : as one of the sixteen peers, he would re- whereas America denies the right, and linquish that seat, before he would be dice upon that ground resists the exercise. If tated to by any administration whatever. the right, then, be reserved, the object of
The Duke of Richmond complimented resistance remains : and so remaining, the noble duke on bis manly spirit, and may be exercised whenever any future pledged himself to join him and others in Quixote ministry, in example of their going into an examination of ministerial predecessors, shall be led to convert hispower over the freedom of the election of story into romance. But it is objected, peers in Scotland, an instance of which he “ that a right cannot be surrendered :"> gave in the case of the earl of Stair. His so neither, if it be a constitutional right, grace then said, he wished the commis- can the exercise of it be dispensed with; sioners to be sent out, might be, as they for what repels the former must equally ought to be, men of great political know- counteract the latter. But this is no ledge, great weight, great moderation, and constitutional right; on the contrary, high characters ;, the nature of the embassy the constitution reprobates and disavows demanded such men, who had the good it. For taxation and representation are sense to yield little forms, and take proper constitutionally inseparable, and Ameadvantage of all occasions : but, said his rica is not represented; of course, Amegrace, the persons to be sent out, are, I rica cannot be taxed. Whilst America, fear, inadequate to this task; one being a therefore, will not accept that by courtesy noblelord, young and inexperienced in those of parliament, which she holds in right of matters; another a clerk in office; another the constitution; and for the good reason, belonging to one of the public boards, that an act of parliament is revocable, and besides the commander and admiral in the constitution irrevocable; it follows, chief. Now, I have lately been acquaint- that a renunciation of the right, and not ed, that one of the governors in America, the mere suspension of the exercise, was making exceptions to some of the Con- the proper object of this Bill. gress sitting in council with woollen caps 2. “ Because (as to the second Bill), on, they were highly offended, and perse- the appointment of commissioners to treat vered in doing so. How inadequate, with any person or persons, other than the therefore, must this embassy be, where a Congress, is so glaring a manifestation of noble lord, bred up in all the softness and the intention of such treaty, as must nepolish that European manners make cessarily occasion a circumspection in the fashionable to rank-I say, how inadequate Congress that may not be much to the must such a meeting be amongst men in ease of the commissioners themselves. woollen night-caps! His grace concluded 1 3. “ Because, although the commis. by saying, if administration meant to suc. sioners and the Congress be agreed, such ceed in these Bills, and not trifle with the agreement is of no effect till confirmed by nation, they should have dealt with more parliament; which is giving such advancandour and sincerity, and let both have tage to parliament, by knowing what appeared in the choice of men, and the Congress will do, and is of such disadvan. powers entrusted to them.
tage to Congress, by not knowing what The Bills were then passed.
parliament will confirm, that the very in
equality of the conditions will put a stop The Earl of Abingdon's Protest against to accommodation. the American Conciliatory Bills.] The 4. “ Because, as the withdrawing of the following Protest was entered :
troops would be the saving of the army (not to mention the policy of the measure a death-bed repentance, comes at the last upon other grounds) so the ceasing of hour; and being, as avowedly, the effect hostilities there, will, by fatal experience, of necessity, and not of principle, we are prove to be the loss of it. The remains of left under all the fears and apprehensions general Burgoyne's army are now consti- / of dissolution, and without the hope of tuting a part of the great yeomanry of salvation but in the magnanimity of AmeAmerica.
rica; a magnanimity however, which we 5. “ Because the Prohibitory Act is to have already experienced, and which (by be suspended under exceptions and restric- insisting on the justice of removing from tions, which exceptions and restrictions his Majesty's councils those evil ministers (and whilst Great Britain is under neither) | who have trodden on the liberties, and, intending a restraint upon the supplies of with savage cruelty, spilled the blood of America, are neither liberal in proposal, America, and, by placing in their room the nor probable in acceptance.
friends of humanity and of the constitu- 6. " Because, among the many things tion), may restore us to that health and to be done, the one thing needful is to be strength, and again to that peace and · left undone. The Quebec Act is to remain empire, which was once the boast of this without suspension. The power given to country, and the terror of the world the commissioners is, " to suspend the beside.
ABINGDON." operation and effect of any Act or Acts of parliament, which have passed since the Debate on the Budget.] March 6. 10th of February 1763, and which relate Lord North began with explaining the to any of his Majesty's said colonies, pro- terms of the loan. He enumerated the vinces, or plantations in North America :" several sums that had already been voted but Canada is not one of the said colonies, this session by parliament, to which provinces, and plantations, referred to in the he added those that would probably Bill, and therefore the commissioners have be still voted to complete the supno power to suspend the operation and plies of the current year, amounting to effect of any Act or Acts of parliament 13,230,318l. 2s. 10d. Towards defraying that relate to Canada. This, then, will this expence, he reckoned the land and create a stumbling-block insurmountable malt tax, 1,500,0001. exchequer bills as at the very threshold of negociation. usual; and taking the sinking-fund by For, besides the establishment of despo- anticipation upon a 5th quarter, at tism and popery in Canada, under which 3,000,0001. with some inferior articles, America will never sit, quiet, this horrid | amounting in the whole to 7,294,7861. and unconstitutional Act, by extending Os. 6.1, leaving a balance of 5,935,5621. the boundaries of its province, has invaded 2s. 3d. 1. So that he proposed to borrow the property, and removed the land-marks six millions upon the following terms : of its neighbouring colonies ; a violation each subscriber of 1001. to be entitled to that justice should redress, if America an anpuity of 31. per cent. which he were even silent thereupon.
valued at 661. 10s. A farther annuity of 7. “ Because power is given to the 21. 10s. for 30 years; which, at 14 years commissioners to grant pardons to people | purchase, was equal to 35l. And a prowho not only say they have been guilty of portionable share of 48,000 lottery no offences, but the very Bills themselves tickets; that is, eight tickets for every say the same thing for them: for, besides 1,0001. subscribed ; the probable profit on acceding to the claims of America, the which would be 31. each; which for every Americans are stiled his Majesty's faithful 1001. was 21. 8s. Total 1031. 18s. He obsubjects ; and to pardon faithful subjects served, that much art had been used, both is an act of supererogation, if not of ab. at home and abroad, to depress the credit surdity.
of the nation, and even to prevent the loan 8. « Because the appointment of go- from being obtained altogether; for this yernors being now in the hands of the reason, he wished the advantage to the Congress, an attempt to supersede that subscribers might be considerable ; , for power, before it be known whether the that it was better to grant ample terms, terms offered be accepted, looks more than to risk a bargain that might ultimately like having an eye to that Machiavelian tend to our discredit. He therefore maxim, of “ divide et impera," than to thought it both just and wise to give the the more solid benefits of a general union. subscribers such a bargain as might turn
Lastly, “ Because concession now, like out a profitable one. That he had held
out no false colours to the lenders, nor let one syllable escape him, in regard to the probability of a war with France, (the apprehension of which had lately so deeply affected the public funds), that they might not have it in their power to reproach him with events that might happen; that they therefore knowingly run the risk of that contingency; that he rather chose to borrow upon worse terms, than to hold forth flattering hopes of any kind whatever; that several reasons might be assigned for the present scarcity of money, besides the rumour of an approaching war; such as the extravagant speculations many of our merchants had lately run into with regard to the ceded islands, and the prevailing fashion of enjoying their fortunes immediately, or rather by anticipation: that besides, giving good terms now, secured our credit in future; that the stocks, he apprehended, would not be lower, were a war actually declared; and that the money was actually subscribed by substantial men, who were themselves able to advance it. With regard to the annuity part of the loan, he observed, that it was more advantageous to the public, to grant it for 30 years than for a longer term; as the long annuities, of which there were above 82 years to run, sold now at 20 years purchase. And as it might better suit some persons to have their annuities converted into a life annuity, and which would be of no prejudice to the public, he meant to put it in their 9ption to do so.-Among other particulars, he took notice of the experiment he had made of criminal labour upon the Thames, which had answered beyond all expecta. tion; and hinted at a farther extension of the plan over, the whole kingdom ; and that, to ease the counties, it might be adviseable to bring to a sale such of the royal forests as were now of little or no use, either for the growth of timber, or for royal grandeur.—He took occasion to observe upon the extensive resources of this country, notwithstanding the despondency of some individuals; in particular, several accessions the sinking fund would receive within a few years, such as 140,000l. of exchequer annuities, between 1792 and 1798; and therefore, that in general it was better to borrow on higher terms, in a way that should in a course of years be adding to that fund. His lordship said he should enter upon the subject of the new taxes on Monday the 9th.
March 9. Lord North, in the Committee of Supply, opened his speech by acquainting the House, that the interest to be provided for was 330,000l.; that to pay this it was necessary #.". a productive tax; that it was difficult to fix on any that would not be, in some degree, unequal: that he wished to avoid burthening the lower ranks; that it was not easy to come at the real property of individuals; but that one ground of judging of this, which prevailed in all nations, was by the expence at which they lived; and this, though it might not answer in every single instance, was yet a very good general rule; that laying the tax upon the consumption of commodities was both equal and palatable, as the resentment of the person taxed fell on the dealer, and not on the officer of the revenue ; that the taxes on coaches, on servants, and on houses, were proper and eligible, as they were visible signs of ability to pay them; that a tax on bricks and tiles had formerly been thought of and rejected; as likewise taxing houses by the extent of their fronts, or by the number of their chimnies, which
was the same as hearth-money, neither of
which afforded a just estimate of the value of the house. He proposed, therefore, to exempt houses under the rent of 51. per annum from all taxation; that houses from 5t. to 50l. should be rated at 6d. in the pound, and from 50l. and upwards at 1s. to be paid by the occupier; that this tax might be levied by those who collected the window tax, with a little additional assistance for a year or two, till the rates were fully adjusted. He then proceeded, by the assistance of the window-tax, to form a computation what the present tax would raise; which he reckoned as follows: in England and Wales, 259,000t.; in Scotland, 5,000l.; in all 264,000l. He then proposed an additional tax on all wines imported, of eight guineas per ton, or 2d. a bottle, on all French wines, and four guineas per ton, or 1d, a bottle on all other wine, which he computed would amount to 72,558l. in the whole 336,558l. being 6,558l. above the sum wanted. Some debate ensued. The gentlemen in opposition saw the taxes in a very contrary light, and considered them as highly oppressive and disproportionate. It was not, they said, from the rent of a house, that we could judge of the circumstances of the tenant; since tradesmen were obliged to possess houses commodiously