« ElőzőTovább »
been asserted in argument by several | our fleets and armies could be ordered noble lords on the other side ; that we had home, or to other stations offensive or denot, as on former occasions, any American fensive, without the previous knowledge of
sailors, those, including the prisoners taken the French court. He called upon the • by the American privateers, with the crews noble lord at the head of the Admiralty to
of those privateers, amounting to 18,000; declare, whether our navy was in such a which, if we considered that those men state as to protect our several depenwere employed against us, made a real dif- dencies ; because, if it was not, most cerference of 36,000 men. He was still of tainly it was alone a full reason for opinion that we had ships enough ready strengthening those parts which immefor sea, but was ready to acknowledge diately called for protection. For inthat ships without men were of little ser- stance, he would be glad to know, if our vice. With regard to the want of frigates naval force in the East or West Indies at home, there was no denying it; they was equal to the united force of France were wanted extremely : but would de- and Spain in those parts. If it was not, claring that want to all the world make it those places were at this instant at the Jess? He censured the observations of the mercy of these powers. He had strong noble duke, as to the declaration which his reasons to believe, that the first blow motion carried in it, that England and Ire- would be struck in the eastern or western land were not in a fit state to repel an in-world. A considerable number of addi. vasion. Is it, said he, politic to state to tional troops had been sent to the French our enemies where our coasts are vulnera- / West India islands the year before last; ble? Is it prudent to declare that we are and he was assured, by a person of veracity, unable to repel an invasion ? And, if the lately returned from the East-Indies, that fact were so, is it wise to court an inva- the French pavy was much superior to sion? His lordship declared that the de-ours in that quarter of the globe. The claration from France was ipsulting and whole argument then turned upon the offensive ; that ministers would have been confidence ministers were entitled to. highly culpable, had they not shewn a They have hitherto deceived us; they spirit of resentment; but that nothing had have brought us into our present lamentbeen done on their part, since the receipt able situation ; but they must not be di. of the King's message, which wore the rected or advised; because their past mis. face of irritability, or could be construed management, ignorance, blunders, and in. into a design to provoke a war with France. capacity, is a sufficient pledge to us for
The Duke of Richmond replied, that their future ability to rescue us from the the noble earl's speech confirmed, in so threatened ruin which is now ready to many words, almost every syllable he had burst upon us. He concluded with comsaid in behalf of the present motion. plimenting a noble lord in a red ribbon What, again, was the poble earl's repeated (lord Amherst) on his being called into boastings relative to the formidable state the cabinet; and congratulated the nation of our navy come to? That we had ships, on the circumstance, as the most likely to but that we could not procure seamen to promote its most essential interests. As man them_most melancholy tidings, in- he understood the noble lord would comdeed! The noble earl had thanked him mand the army in England, and would for saying so little about the state of the probably have the command of the forces navy. The reason of his being so short to be employed against the enemy, if a upon that subject was merely because landing should be effected; notwithstand. the noble duke (of Bolton) who had ma- ing he had the highest opinion of the noble naged the enquiry into the state of our lord's wisdom, experience, and ability, he navy a few days since, had gone so fully would take the liberty of giving him a and so ably into the subject, as to leave piece of advice, and that was, not to suffer him little or nothing to add upon it. his judgment to be run away with by the
The only appearance of a national ob- vulgar idea of fighting the French the jection made by the noble earl, was, not moment they landed, and driving them against the motion in point of necessity, instantly back by a battle; but to consider but on the ground of policy and expe- that if a battle was lost, under such circumdiency-the mode in which it ought to be stances, the kingdom was lost; and that carried into execution-under the imper- by wisely delaying to come to an action, vious colour of secrecy and silence. His he might, like another Fabius or Washgrace laughed at such mock caution; as if | ington, prove the saviour of his country.
The Duke of Manchester said, that men a noble lord (Amherst) high in his prowho had by their treachery to their coun- fession, and who had performed such estry, or their blunders, plunged it into so sential services for this country in the calamitous a situation, ought not to be course of the late glorious war, under å trusted a moment longer. His grace de- Whig administration, was appointed to the clared, that from the fullest conviction of command of the forces, and called into a what he now affirmed, he had been re- situation to advise in his Majesty's counduced to the necessity of standing in the cils, in all matters relative to his profesodious light of a personal accuser; and sion. He knew the noble lord was in had accordingly moved to address his Ma- / principle a Whig, and he took the liberty jesty, to intreat him to dismiss his servants, of recommending to him, to be influenced as no longer worthy of remaining in their by no extrinsic consideration, nor suffer public stations : that the same reasons himself to be thwarted or over-ruled, conwhich had induced him to make the mo- trary to his own good judgment. tion still pressed upon his mind with addi- The Duke of Grafton said, the crisis was tional force; for he could not entertain a such as justified the interference of every momentary hope, either of reconciliation honest citizen who had any stake to lose. with America, of an honourable peace, or The public were intimately concerned in successful war with France, while those the event of the present measures. Every men, who had broken the ties of affection thing dear to them, as men, or citizens, and duty which united America with was committed. The consequences of Great Britain, remained in office ; and he those measures would decide whether they should conclude with an observation, often were to possess their liberties and propermade, but of which every day's experience ties. Ifministers were continued in power, afforded some fresh proof, which was, the who had proved themselves weak, wicked, irresistible and all-powerful influence, and detestable, the people were justified to which was sufficient to maintain such men call on that throne pointing to the upper in place, against the feelings and discern- end of the House] for redress, for a disment, the hearts and understandings, of mission of such ministers, and for the pu. an insulted, disgraced, and, he feared, an nishment due to their crimes. It was the undone people. "
duty of the sovereign to dismiss such men. The Marquis of Rockingham said, though The nation was patient, he feared too much it had been asserted that our fleet now so, under the various ills they suffered; ready for sea was fully equal to the pro- | but the time would come, and he believed tection of our coasts and the channel : | was not far off, when their resentments was it so in respect of our dependencies ? | would blaze out with a vigour proporHad we at present a force sufficient in tioned to their former forbearance and rethe East and West-Indies ? Or, besides peated provocations. defending our coasts, for convoys for the He would ask the most zealous friends security of our trade? So far from it, that of the present administration, if there was he had heard one of the East India direc- the most distant prospect of any one meators lately assert, in another place, that the sure succeeding in their hands ? Minischairman had been instructed by the court ters were indeed honest enough not to of directors to apply to a noble viscount pretend it. They had, in this instance, in high office, (Weymouth) by letter, I given one proof of their modesty and canstating their fears for the Company's pos-dour; they were silent. Are you able to sessions, and desiring an additional naval | conquer or conciliate America ? Are you force: but the answer was, that none could able to defend the several dependencies of be spared, or that none was wanting; and the British empire ? Are you more than that but a very few days before the offensive a match for France and Spain in the EuDeclaration. He was severe on lord Sand- ropean seas? Have you one ally on the wich's affected secrecy and prudence rela- | continent of Europe ? The answers to all tive to recalling the troops. Did the motion this are reducible to a tacit No. They point out any particular destination for virtually reply, no, because they decline them? Were they to be ordered home to to answer. Europe, or did the motion express a wish of His grace observed, that the language the kind? But supposing that it had, could of the noble earl was the most extraordithe noble earl who moved the previous nary he ever heard. It amounted fairly question point out the danger? The mar- to this: We have been mistaken in every quis said, he was well pleased to hear that opinion we formed in private or declared
in public: we have brought our country to man at the head of the Admiralty ; yet the brink of ruin: we confess it is not in without a total change of men in the other our power to extricate it from the various high departments of the state, as well as calamities under which it suffers, and the system, no good was to be expected; we much greater ones with which it is should still, he feared, have nothing but threatened; but we must remain in place, assertion one day, recantation a second, because somebody has said so. His grace and despondency a third. A majority in next lamented the fatal effects of influence; cabinet would always have it in its power whence all the public calamities had ori- to defeat, counteract, or over-rule the best ginated. The impropriety of displacing digested plans, and the wisest measures; ministers without any proof of delinquency, consequently, till the present men were was much urged both without and within removed from a possibility of doing misdoors. He denied that dismission implied chief, we should continue to be governed guilt ; it might imply incapacity, and that ! by a succession of pitiful expedients, no not always. Want of public confidence, i less weak in their texture, than disgracenot being able to command the hearts and ful and fatal in their consequences. purses of the nation, might be a good Lord Lyttelton said the state of public cause of removal. But this argument con- affairs was very alarming. Ireland was in veyed a very extraordinary idea ; no less a weak and defenceless state, and England than that every man in office had a right far from being so well prepared as he could to possess his place as a matter of pro- wish. Our affairs in the West Indies were perty, and when displaced suffered an in- truly deplorable, and in the East equally jury. This was a mode of reasoning he precarious, if not more so; and he corrocould never accede to. The emoluments | borated this assertion by informing the of office were supposed to be given for House that he had been informed by a public services in stations and offices :| French officer lately returned from the when, therefore, all further services ter- isle of Mauritius, that when he left that minated, there the claim likewise ended, place, there were no less than 8,000 reguand the party dismissed had no right to lar troops there and at the isle of Bourcomplain. He could speak from experi- bon; a circumstance which was in his ence. He was once in a high responsible opinion sufficient to convince their lordoffice himself; and maintained opinions ships that France meant, in case of a rupboth in that House, and elsewhere [in the ture, to attack us in that quarter of the cabinet]. Those opinions, perhaps, were world. He observed every thing on the not approved of. No matter whether or part of France denoted hostilities, and that not; he was dismissed from his office: yet if we were abject enough to put up with he never understood nor felt his dismission the insult, it was now too late to recede. as an injurious act, or as conveying any | After giving this side of the picture, his imputation of guilt.
lordship held up the reverse. The noble He was sorry to disagree with the noble lords on the other side, he observed, had duke, as to his sentiments respecting our expressed their fears of an invasion, as an conduct towards France; for let America event likely immediately to take place, yet be or be not declared independent, he however they might differ in other relooked upon a war with France as inevita spects, Whig and Tory he was certain would ble. He said, it had been reported for unite on such an occasion ; they would some days past that he was coming into be unanimous in opinion, that if the French administration, and to preside at the head landed, they should be instantly attacked; of the Admiralty; he believed the report and he did not doubt but they would reato be ill founded; he would answer that it dily hazard their lives and fortunes in the was, so far as he knew; but if any such attempt to repel that foe who should have promotion was really in contemplation, he the temerity to invade Great Britain or heartily united in opinion, that a seaman Ireland. He could not hear, without some should always preside at that board; and degree of astonishment, the language held expressed his approbation of filling that by a noble lord in administration (Sandimportant office with the very able seaman wich) which fairly imported, that we were (admiral Keppel), if his professional ser- not in that state of naval strength and preyices could be dispensed with.
paration, of which his lordship had given His grace concluded with saying, that so many repeated assurances to that House, although there was a general in the cabinet, | He did not doubt but we had a great and and he hoped there would be soon a sea- respectable navy: bụt he did hope, that his lordship would verify what he had so vice, that the warlike preparations in often said, that our navy should be at all | France become every day more considetimes, at least equal, if not superior to any rable, his Majesty thinks that, in this criforce France and Spain united could be tical conjuncture, he should not act conable to send against us; or that we should sistently with the care and concern which be always prepared, in the language of he always feels for his faithful people, if the noble earl, to cope with the whole he omitted any means in his power that power of the House of Bourbon.
may contribute to their defence : thereThe noble duke who made the motion, fore, in pursuance of the acts of parliafounded it chiefly on the supposition, that ment enabling his Majesty to call out and America would not treat with us, but ad assemble the militia, in the cases therein here to their vote of independence, and mentioned, his Majesty has thought proper the measures necessary to form them- 'to make this communication to the House selves into . so many independent states. of Lords, to the end that his Majesty may, He, for his part, thought otherwise. The if he shall think proper, cause the militia to colonies two years since, it was insisted by be drawn out and embodied, and to march the noble duke and his friends, would as occasion shall require." have acceded to terms short of those held 1 A similar Message was presented to the out by the Conciliatory Bills; and he saw | Commons by lord North. no reason why, if the assertion was true then, that it should not be so still. Ano Debate in the Commons on the Bill for ther reason assigned by the noble duke, employing Convicts on the River Thames. 7 for urging the necessity of withdrawing Lord North moved to bring up a Bill to the troops, was, that they would be want- continue an Act of the 16th of his Majesing at home to defend us from an invasion; ty, for employing convicts on the river he believed that would be the last despe | Thames. rate experiment France would make. This Mr. Burke observed, that he feared the bugbear had often been held out in terro- time would come when we should put prirem ; but now, at the end of a century, soners and felons to death on the principle since this idea began to prevail, no instance of æconomy... of such an attempt had happened.
Sir W. Meredith disapproved of the The Earl of Effingham pointed out the mode of punishment; said it was much necessity of strengthening Canada, both more severe than transportation, and on account of the disposition of the inha. | totally repugnant to the general frame of bitants, the weakness of the King's forces our laws. in that province, and the formidable power Mr. T. Townshend said the Act had not of the New England colonies, who could had the desired effect, for robberies were penetrate into it at pleasure, and without increased instead of being diminished; the least resistance. He lamented the that in the course of the winter every day state of the West India islands, which must, furnished a fresh account of some daring if attacked, fall an easy prey, as well as robbery or burglary; and that scarcely a our new settlements on the Mississippi. night passed in which there were not robTo those very important objects he re- beries committed in Park-lane, and firing commended the attention of administra- of pistols heard. tion.
Sir Richard Sutton said, they robbed The Committee divided on the motion equally before as since the Act. He menthat the Chairman leave the chair: Con- tioned particularly the robbery of Mrs. tents 56; Not Contents 28. The House Hutchins at Chelsea, and the horrid murbeing resumed, the duke of Richmond's der committed at Enfield. Resolution was put and negatived.
Mr. Gascoyne said, he had been to see
the convicts at work: that their punishThe King's Message for calling out the ment was far from severe; that though it Militia.] March 23. Lord Weymouth was called hard labour, they did not do as presented to the Lords the following Mes- much work in a day as might be done for sage:
hire for 9d. and added that they were too . “ George R.
well fed; and were well off, for people “ The French king having concluded a went in thousands and gave them money, Treaty of Amity and Commerce with his particularly ladies of the town, who, as Majesty's revolted subjects in North Ame- they got their money easy, were known to rica, and his Majesty having received ad be generous. He said, that Dignam was
at first dashed, and wore a broad hat, flapped, to hide his face, and did not like the wheelbarrow, but now wears a small hat, cocked, did not seem ashamed, and attended his work like the rest of his brethren. He said some of them broke away from their keepers, and as soon as they got loose, fell to their old trade of robbing and housebreaking. The worst of their punishment was a want of room and air, which made them liable to illness and distempers. Mr. Gilbert said, the Act was meant as a temporary law, and as such he was for continuing it, till something else was substituted in its place. Sir C. Bunbury said, it was a much more severe punishment than transportation: we still possessed several places in America, to which felons could be transported. Mr. Whitworth said, he had been aboard the Justitia, and had conversed with the manager, who confessed the prisoners were very sickly, unless where the pitch and tar operated as a preventative. Mr. F. Montagu was for sending the Bill to a committee. He said, he expected a Bill upon a much larger plan; but in the mean time, if that should not be practicable, he thought the present Act ought to be continued. Mr. Burke said, the felons ought to be transported to Canada, Nova Scotia, and the Floridas. Sir Richard Sutton moved for a committee to inquire into the measures which had been adopted for carrying the Act into execution. This was agreed to, and lord North’s motion withdrawn.
Mr. Burke objects to the Charge for Scalping Knives, &c. in the Army Extraordinaries.] On the motion for agreeing with the Resolution of the Committee of Supply, that 1,406,9231. be granted for the Army Extraordinaries,
Mr. Burke moved an Amendment, by adding these words, “saving and excepting the sum of 160,837l, which appears, by sir Guy Carleton’s accounts, laid before this House, to have been expended for the carrying on of a Savage War in a manner contrary to the usage of civilized nations, against the English colonies in North America; excepting also the sum of 16,000l. which appears to have been expended for the same purpose in the southern department of Indians; excepting also the sum of 5,000l. which hath been expended in carrying on a war of insurgent
negroes against the inhabitants of the province of Virginia; and excepting whatever hath been paid out of the said extraordinaries, specified in general Carleton’s correspondence, for 100 Crosses, and five grose of Scalping Knives, the said expenditure being disgraceful toreligionand humanity." He said, that his reason for doing so was, that he hoped an English House of Commons would never consent to pay this sum, which had been advanced to purchase hatchets, tomahawks, scalping-knives, razors, spurs, &c. for the savages of America to butcher, torture, scalp, and massacre old men, women, children, and infants at the breast. The House divided on the Amendment:
Mr. Baker - - - - YEAs Mr. Powys - - - - } 21 s Sir William Gordon Noes Mr. Robinson - - - } 56
So it passed in the negative.
Debate on Colonel Barré's Motion for a Committee to enquire into the Public Erpenditure.] Colonel Barré rose. He began with observing the enormous sums which had been granted for army extraordinaries for the three last years, and how shamefully they had been squandered. He read the sums granted; the detail of each year's expenditure; the particular services; and the persons who had performed the contracts. He said, when the first extraordinaries of 800,000l. came before that House, in 1776, he endeavoured to get explanations. The answer was, We have no vouchers; those cannot be had till the next year. We have as yet procured no more than an account of the sums issued, to whom issued, and the services for which they were issued. All these are not vouchers to the House; the vouchers shewing in what manner the money thus issued has been expended will come the next year. So it happened, he said, the following, and so it has happened this year. This House has each successive year been told, that they are to have the vouchers of the preceding; none have been as yet produced; but the noble lord, after his repeated and solemn promises, has thought proper to keep the parliament and nation in the dark. The same confidence, he might call it shameful confidence, and delusion on one side, and the same shameful and traitorous servility on the other.