enough to protect this nation, o be saved, even from the profusion of their lordships, from the vast sums which some of them so idly wasted. The Earl of Abingdon. I rise to express my utmost indignation at what I have this day heard from his Majesty's ministers. My lords, his Majesty is betrayed, this House is trifled with, the nation is insulted; but I hope this House has not lost its resentment, and that Englishmen will no longer bear the treatment they have met with. It is not more than twelve days since, ministers told us that no treaty was signed between France and America, and that they had every assurance of peace with France. And now, my lords, we are told by those very ministers, that a treaty is signed between France and America; and, by a message from his Majesty, we are called upon to go to war with France. Is this possible, my lords? A war with France! Yes, and with Spain too. Unable to cope with America singly, we are to have a war with France and with Spain united; as if in our very weakness consisted our strength. This is madness, it is desperation, it is folly. No, my lords, it is neither; it is wickedness; this country is sold to France. When suspicious men leave their duty and their office here, and unofficially take journies to Paris, there is something more than suspicion in this. If this country becomes a province to France, as I too much fear it will, that infamous family of the Stuarts may again be seated on the British throne. My lords, there is no other key to open the mystery of these measures; and I am not single in my opinion; the eyes of many see it in the same light; and I could wish it to become the subject of your lordships’ attention. The Earl of Shelburne, after saying that the declaration delivered by the French ambassador was of such a nature as to render it almost impossible to avoid a war, asked how we were prepared for such an event * Without fleets, without armies, without allies, and without resources, what was to be done 2 Ministers had not a moment to lose; they must instantly set about adopting measures suited to the present exigency of affairs; they must not only get a sufficient force ready to begin the war, but by reviving the spirit of the constitution, by dropping every inferior, o: clerk-like system of government; y rendering the operations and plans of the cabinet obvious, clear, and transparent, so that all who run may read, they must re

gain the confidence of the people, without which they could neither prosecute the war with vigour, nor hope to end it with honour. Above all things, he advised them to drop the scandalous exertion of undue influence, to relieve the people from the burden of corruption, and to advert to a beautiful expression, which he had met with in the parliamentary debates of former periods, and which fell from the mouth of a noble member of that House, namely, “That every weight taken off the nation gave her wings.” Thus, by lightening the pressure upon the people, they would have power to exert themselves; their ancient spirit would revive, and entering into the war with cheerfulness and alacrity, the would pursue it with vigour. The Ban of England must be considered; every possible means must be exerted to assist the Bank and keep up the public credit. Sleeping and waking he had it ever in his mind, and Dr. Price, with whom he had frequently conversed on the subject, had convinced him of the urgent necessity of making the Bank a primary object of national attention and support. After going through the various points in order to enable us to maintain the war successfully, his lordship took occasion to throw out some severe remarks, applicable, he said, to a certain law lord (Mansfield.) He said when he was last in France, he had a long conversation with a churchman, and among other matters, politics came to be the topic; when the priest declared, that his profession was of all others the best for a statesman, for that whenever a churchman had by his intrigues and adventures as a politician, put the kingdom in danger, and thrown the public concerns into confusion, he had nothing to do but to retire to his church, content himself with the parade that situation afforded, and lie snug till public matters having taken a different turn, and recovered their former prosperous condition, it was safe for him again to step forward, and once more become the state pilot. His lordship said, he feared another profession in this country followed the same idea, and practised exactly what the French churchman had mentioned to him; he meant the law. Were our judges solely employed in explaining the statutes, and distributing justice in the courts below 2 Had no one of them busied himself more in political projects than in the duties of his profession In his opinion, the office of judge was a most important one, and so

weighty was the duty, that no other avocation should be suffered to interfere with it; least of all, that of directing the helm of government. If judges could with safety turn state Quixotes, and from motives of vanity, and the hopes of aggrandizing their names, indulge themselves in mad schemes and absurd projects, till finding the ruin of their country to be in prospect, in consequence of their politics, they thought it necessary to slip their necks out of the collar, and retire to their courts, he should be one to say, that the Act which rendered the judges no longer dependent on the crown, and which had been regarded as a praise-worthy statute, was the most pernicious and fatal to the essential interests of the people that ever passed in this country. He affirmed, if such a traitorous conduct was permitted to go unpunished, the Act for rendering the judges independent of the crown, instead of being the greatest blessing to the nation, would prove its greatest curse; because on a change of administration such men might formerly be removed; whereas now they may retain their places, unless some special delinquency should be proved against them, which was not always practicable. His lordship differed from the duke of Richmond respecting the propriety of preserving peace; declaring he thought, circumstanced as we were, that war must be pursued. He said he would not cant, nor did he mean to preach to their lordships, for that was the office of the clergy; not that he thought the right reverend lord who had spoken in the present debate had given a good answer to the charge of the bench being clothed in blood, by preaching up a spirit of unanimity for war. The right reverend lord had mentioned one species of resource; he would beg leave to recommend another, and that was to lop those drones of society, the church benefices; he did not here allude to the bench, he meant only the golden prebends, and those church officers, who, having no parochial connection, lived a life of idleness. He concluded with declaring that he was an advocate for peace, if it could be procured with honour, which he did not think possible. So far, however, was he from wishing to be thought an advocate for war, he would neither give his vote as an affirmative to the Address, nor as a negative for the Amendment. The question was put on the duke of Manchester's amendment, when the Contents were 34, proxies 2, total 36; Non

contents 84, proxies 16, total 100. As soon as their lordships returned from below the bar, Lord Ravensworth made some severe observations on the conduct of ministers, in not offering a single syllable in support of the motion. He observed that there was a very full and respectable bar; and he doubted not but it would get out among the body of the people, in what a contemptuous manner ministers had dared to treat the King’s message. Wiscount Weymouth replied, that if this censure Was . intended for him, he did not think himself nor any other lord in office in the least deserving of it. He could, however, answer for iii.; that his silence proceeded from no disrespect, but merely because he thought there was no occasion to support a measure by argument or elucidation, which, from the tenor of the paper, became an act of necessity. The main question was then put on the Address: Contents 68, Non-contents 25.

The Lords' Address on the King’s Message respecting the Treaty between France and America.] The following is a Copy of the Lords’ Address:

“Most gracious Sovereign,

“We, your *: most dutiful and loyal subjects the Lords spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, return our humble thanks to your Majesty, for the communication of the Paper presented to the lord viscount Weymouth, by the order of the French king : and for acquainting us, that in consequence of this offensive declaration, your Majesty has thought proper to order your ambassador to withdraw from the court of France; and we beg leave to assure your Majesty, that it is with the utmost difficulty we can restrain the strongest expressions of the resentment and indignation which we feel for this unjust and unprovoked aggression on the honour of your Majesty's crown, and the essential interests of your kingdoms, contrary to the law of nations, and injurious to the rights and possessions of every sovereign power in Europe.

“The good faith and uprightness of your Majesty's conduct towards foreign powers, and the sincerity of your intentions to preserve the general o: must be acknowledged by all the world; and your Majesty cannot be considered as responsible for the disturbance of this tranquillity, if you should find yourself called upon to resist the enterprizes of that

restless and dangerous spirit of ambition knowledged by all the world: and your and aggrandizement, which has so often Majesty cannot be considered as respon. invaded the rights, and threatened the li- sible for the disturbance of this tranquilberties of Europe.

lity, if you should find yourself callı d upon " We should be wanting in our duty to to resist the enterprizes of that restless and your Majesty and to ourselves, if we did dangerous spirit of ainbition and aggrannot give your Majesty the strongest assur. | dizement, which has so often invaded the ances of our mosi zealous assistance and rights, and threatened the liberties of support. Every sentiment of loyalty to Europe. your Majesty, and of love to our country, “ We should be wanting in our duty to will animate us to stand forth in the public your Majesty, to our constituents, and to defence, and to promote every measure ourselves, if we did not give your Majesty that shall be found necessary for enabling the strongest assurances of our most zeayour Majesty to vindicate the honour of lous assistance and support : and we have your crown, and to protect the just rights the firmest confidence, that, in every deand essential interests of these kingdoins." monstration of loyalty to your Majesty,

and of love of their country, your faithful The King's Answer.] His Majesty re subjects will vie with each other; and that turned this Answer :

| no considerations will divert or deter them « My Lords,

from standing forth in the public defence, “ I thank you for this loyal and affec- and from sustaining, with a steady perse. tionate Address. Nothing shall be want- verance, any extraordinary burthens and ing on my part that may tend to the effec. expences which shall be found necessary, tual support of the just rights of my crown, for enabling your Majesty to vindicate the and the true interests of my people. These honour of your crown, and to protect the great and important considerations shall just rights and essential interests of these ever be the immediate object of my at kingdoms.” tention.”

Lord George Germain seconded the

motion, but said nothing else. Debate in the Commons on the King's | Mr. Baker thought it was not sufficient Message respecting the Treaty between to say, we were in this dilemma, which the France and America. The Message French ambassador's paper told us; but being read, lord North rose and moved the enquiry should be made how we came intoit: following Address of Thanks :

and moved the following Amendment, after " Most gracious Sovereign,

these words “ assistance and support :" “ We, your Majesty's most dutiful and “ hoping and trusting that his Majesty loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Bric will be graciously pleased to remove from tain in parliament assembled, return our his counsels those persons in whom his humble thanks to your Majesty, for the people, from past experience, have reason communication of the Paper presented to not to repose confidence, in the present the lord viscount Weymouth, by the order momentous situation of public affairs." of the French king; and for acquainting Sir George Yonge seconded the amend. us, that in consequence of this offensive de- ment, and said, that nobody could feel more claration, your Majesty has thought proper than he did the general resentment at the to order your ambassador to withdraw daring insult offered us by the crown of from the court of France: and we beg France: that it ought to be resented, and the leave to assure your Majesty, that it is injury repelled; and he did not doubt we with the utmost difficulty we can restrain had strength and spirit to do it. But that the strongest expressions of the resent. | he could not help at the same time lamentment and indignation which we feel for this ing the very distressing situation of public unjust and unprovoked aggression on the affairs, and the continued scenes of misconhonour of your Majesty's crown, and the duct, which he was convinced had encou. essential interests of your kingdoms, con- raged the House of Bourbon to offer this trary to the law of nations, and injurious to insult. That we should in vain offer the rights and possessions of every sove- support to his Majesty, if we did not at reign power in Europe.

the same time inform him of the incapa“The good faith and uprightness of your city of those in whom he had trusted for Majesty's conduct towards foreign powers, the management of his affairs; and the and the sincerity of your intentions to pre little reason his people had to place any serve the general tranquillity, must be ac- confidence in them. That it was evident

to all men, the French had from the beginning fomented this American war. To put the matter out of doubt, the present notification confessed that their connexion with America took its date from the declaration of independency in July, 1776; that it was plain a negociation had been carrying on ever since; that the servants of the crown ought to have known this; that he therefore concluded they did know it; they were unfit to govern a great country, if they did not; that, without dwelling upon their having concealed and denied it, at least, they ought to have been prepared for this event; that, instead of this, the treaty, and the notification, appeared to be a matter of as great surprise to the ministers as to any body else. That their being unprepared for it had left the kingdom equally so; and exposed, naked, and defenceless, after a disgraceful war with America, for three years, to the attacks of the united force of the House of Bourbon, without means to resist it. That our land forces were barely sufficient for our defence, without any means to garrison or strengthen our distant fortresses, settlements, or dependencies: that our navy, at the utmost, consisted of no more than 30 or 35 sail of the line fit for service: that twice that number was necessary for the various operations of war; that we had not a ship in the Mediterranean; so that Gibraltar and Minorca were left unguarded: that we had none in the East Indies, or in Africa, and but a weak force in the West Indies: that France had strengthened herself in all these parts; and, in short, all our dependencies were in imminent danger. That our credit was at the lowest ebb; and the people had no confidence in government: that the French knew all this; and were by these circumstances encouraged to offer us this insult: that the people knew it; and his Majesty ought to know it: that we best could inform his Majesty of the case of his people; and the best time of doing it, was when we were offering him our support; to express our desire, that he would do the only thing which could make any support effectual. That nothing could tend more to depress the spirit of the people, or encourage our enemies, than the notion, that the same men who had so uniformly disgraced us, and degraded the honour of the nation, as well as diminished and exposed to danger, not only the dependencies, but the very vital strength of this empire, were likely to be still further trusted to carry on {VOL. XIX.]

a war, the most alarming that ever this country was threatened with. That as experience would make it impossible for the nation to have any confidence in the present ministers, after such repeated instances of folly, neglect, and incapacity, the removal of them could alone realize any offers of support, and revive the drooping spirit of the people; and that he was convinced this single measure would cause more alarm to our enemies, from the apprehension of the probable vigour and wisdom of our counsels, when trusted in abler hands, than all the warlike preparations we might make, if directed by the same imbecility which we had hitherto experienced, and they had so well availed themselves of. He was ashamed to see those ministers who had brought us into the disgrace of receiving such an insult, as that French paper was, should dare to be the people to lay it before parliament, and to tell the House that they were ready to carry on the war. Therefore he rose to second the Amendment, which expressed the sense of the nation. That these ministers ought first to be removed, before any step is taken. The French would not have dared to offer such an insult to any other ministry.

Governor Pownall:

I do not rise to defend ministers; the object of this day is much above all such considerations. I do not take into my estimation the pretensions of any set of men; and as to the present ministers, by an examination of their past conduct, which is to come under consideration in a few days, we shall be better able to judge how far they are to be trusted for the future. In the magnitude of this day's business, I will not mix, even in my ideas, any secondary objects. I am sorry that it has entered into or makes any po of, the ideas of my hon. friend who spoke last, because, as there is no man in the House for whom I have a higher respect, so there is no one to whose sentiments I am more disposed, on many occasions, to subscribe. But I see that some mistaken ideas of the state of this business has misled him. He thinks that this treaty has been under negociation (our ministers ignorant of it all the while) for two years past. From an exact narrative of the state of the business, he will see that the very idea of such a treaty has not been six months in existence; and the actual negociation not more than three months. As I never presume to assert

L3 O] o

anything in this House, in which I am not grounded as to the fact or the truth; as I have never asserted any thing which the House has not found to be true in the event; so, upon such important matters as I shall now disclose, I will not do it without accompanying that which I shall assert with the actual proofs. And I the rather do it on this occasion, as I think that that state of this business, which my information enables me to give, is the best commentary on the nature and purpose of the French paper laid before us; and also does best point out the conduct we ought to hold in consequence of it. In August last, the Americans, by their commissioners at Paris, began to press the ministers of France to appear avowedly in their favour, and to give them substantial and effective assistance. But these ministers, for various reasons of state, were deaf to these calls; they did not choose, by committing themselves in the alliance with America, to involve themselves in a war with England. They did not mean to give real support to America, nor to meet in arms the force of Britain. They wished, by remaining ostensibly neuter, to encourage Great Britain to go on in a ruinous contest; and, by privately assisting the Americans, to encourage them to go on in giving cause for such contest. They wished the continuance of the war; and to assist neither party further than to prolong it, and to widen the breach. On this occasion, and to obviate these ideas of false policy, the Commissioners from the Americans presented a Memorial to the Court of France bearing to this very point; of which I will read some parts: “The court of France supposes that the war between Great Britain and the united American colonies will certainly continue for a considerable time longer, without any open interference on the part of France. But this supposition is even more fallacious than the former; the British government have every thing to lose, and nothing to gain, by continuing the War. “After the present campaign, they will therefore doubtless make it their great and last effort to recover the dominion of America, and terminate the war. They poly hope that a few victories may, y the chance of war, be obtained; and that these on one hand, and the wants and distresses of the colonists on the other, may induce them to return again to a de

pendence, more or less limited, on Great Britain. They must be sensible, that if ever America is to be conquered by them, it must be within the present year: that if it be impossible to do it in this year of the dispute, it will be madness to expect more success afterwards, when the difficulties of the Americans' former situation are removed: when their new independent governments have acquired stability; and when the people are become, as they soon will be, well armed, disciplined, and supplied with all the means of resistance. “The British ministry must therefore be sensible, that a continuation of hostilities against the colonies, after this year, can only tend to prolong the danger, or invite an additional war in Europe; and they therefore doubtless intend, after having tried the success of this campaign, however it may end, to make peace on the best terms which can be obtained. And if they cannot recover the colonies, as subjects, to admit their claim of independency, and secure them by a foederal alliance. Therefore no means are left for France to prevent the colonists from being shortly reconciled to Great Britain, either as subjects or allies, but to enter immediately into such engagements with them as will necessarily preclude all others; such as will permanently bind and secure their commerce and friendship, and enable them as well to repel the attacks, as to spurn at the offers of their o enemy. “It must be remembered, that the first resistance of the colonists was not to obtain independency, but a redress of their grievances; and that there are many among them who might even now be satisfied with a limited subjection to the British crown. A majority have indeed É. in for the prize of independency: they ave done it on a confidence that France, attentive to her most important interests, would soon give them open and effectual support. But when they find themselves disappointed; when they see some of the owers of Europe furnish troops to assist in their subjugation; another power proscribing their commerce; and the rest looking on, as indifferent spectators; it is very probable that despairing of foreign aid, and severely pressed by their enemies, and their own internal wants and distresses, they may be inclined to accept of such terms as it will be the interest and disposition of the British government to grant them. Lord George Germain, but a few weeks since, declared in the House


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