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tyrannical towards their brethren and fel-, dependence upon the British parliament; low subjects.
that their appeals to the King, in his mere din His lordship answered lords Gower and regal capacity, as distinct from his parlia
Lyttelton on the ground of an independentment, plainly pointed that out; and that majority having supported the measures of the doctrines maintained in support of administration for the last ten years. He chartered rights, uncontroulable by parsaid such assertions tended to deceive and liament, by which means a king may dismislead. That a majority within doors, charge any number of his subjects he and a majority without, were two matters pleases from the allegiance due to the other essentially distinct. That no man more two branches of the legislature, was conheartily revered the real, disinterested trary to the fundamental principles of the country gentlemen than he did. That constitution. He said, if he had described early in life he had been taught to value, or pointed at any faction which did not and to esteem them; and that if he might exist in the state, he was content to bear quote the saying of a very able and re- the obloquy: or had maintained any docspectable friend then near him, it would, trines that would not bear the test, he was he doubted not, convince their lordships of ready to abide that degree of censure the the veracity of his assertion. His noble offence merited. He trusted he had not. friend many years since told him, “ That He did not suppose opposition would be he was better pleased with hearing a sensi- willing to father all the doctrines imputed ble and independent country gentleman | to the faction therein described; but as talk for ten minutes, than with the finest to the main ground for his reasons against speech that ever was uttered by an Attor- | the present motion, as well as those urged ney-general.” “ But," continued his in the discourse, and on which he was well lördship, 6 there is a line to be drawn ; warranted in fixing a public stigma, they every country gentleman is not indepen-were to be found in the public protests and dent; there are modes of corruption which papers recorded in that House. He said, have found their way even to the land-hol- his way of life and mode of conducting der, and he that has a vote is not always himself, did not permit him to mix much honest enough to avoid temptation.” with the world. He did not pretend to Taking the matter up, however, in the much knowledge of politics, but what he point of view, in which the noble lords had learned from books. The publication have placed it, is not the great support of so severely censured contained his sentithe British nation commerce? If the ments. He might be mistaken, but he was streams of commerce are stopped, will not nevertheless sincere. He was naturally inmen of all occupations feel the conse- clined to live quietly, and on a friendly quence? The tradesman, the shopkeeper, footing with all mankind; but there were the mechanic, the manufacturer and the insults of such a nature as not to be borne; merchant, will not be the only sufferers, nor would he bear to be insulted by even the country gentleman will find his land the proudest lord in that House.* sink in value, in proportion as the country is drained of its wealth, and the means of
* The following are Extracts from the increasing it are lost: the country gentle
Archbishop of York's Sermon : man, therefore, forsakes his interest, and suffers himself to be made the instrument
" It is the usual artifice of faction to look of his own destruction, in supporting mea. | for something colourable, by which the igno. sures which evidently tend to promote the
rapt and upwary may be deceived, and this is
commonly affected, by the adoption of a false, destruction of commerce. His lordship
or the misapplication of a true principle. concluded with highly commending the
" What is assumed upon the present occa. motion, and thanking the noble earl for sion, is the glorious nature of liberty. Of ibis having made it.
there can be no question ; and I hope, that no The Archbishop of York said, he was times will be so wretchedly debased, as to make proud to find himself of so much conse- / it a question in this free country. It is cer. quence. He did not mean to speak to the taily the first and most valuable of all human question ; but as he was up, he should say post
ud sov possessions. It realizes and secures all the
rest; and by those, who are in the enjoyment a word or two. He said, the passage in
sage of it, ought to be maintained at all hazards. the sermon alluded to by the noble fora, But it remains to be settled ; wherein does it would serve and answer his purpose. He consist? I have sometimes thought it a misalways thought that America aimed at in- fortune, that a thing so valuable and importapt dependence; at least they disclaimed any should have no word in our language to ex
The Earl of Shelburne observed, in reply, that the right reverend prelate had promulged those doctrines in a place where they could not be answered at the time; which, among other reasons, was a very good one for abstaining from using the pulpit as a medium for conveying party or factious doctrines. He, on the other hand, had controverted them in the face of the whole nation, where, if he erred or
press it, except one which goes to every thing that is wild and lawless. “If therefore we would avoid abusing our understanding with the ideas of savage liberty, which have no place in regulated society, we should use it with an addition, such as legal or civil liberty. It seems to consist, in a freedom from all restraints, except such as established law imposes, for the good of the community, to which the partial good of each individual is obliged to give place. “As there are in the nature of things, but two sorts of government; that of law, and that of force; it wants no argument to prove, that under the last, freedom cannot subsist. If it subsists therefore, it must be under law; and of necessity that law must be supreme; for if it is not supreme, its power must be abridged by its enemy, force. The foundation therefore of legal freedom, is the supremacy of law. It has been acknowledged as such, by all common-wealths from the beginning of the world; as the only power which can protect our rights from their natural adversaries, despotism and anarchy. These indeed have usually gone together, for no anarchy ever prevailed, which did not end in despotism. “The passions of men are restless and enterprising, the occasions which time may present to them are innumerable, and the possible situation of things much more various, than any wisdom can foresee. But the supremacy of law is a steady and uniform rule, to which those, who mean well, may in all circumstances safely adhere. “To those indeed, who mean delinquency, it is not very favourable. This they were aware of, and have therefore substituted another rule, by which every man's humour or interest is to be made the measure of his obedience. “By this system of political rights, ambition, revenge, envy, and avarice, with the other bad assions, the controuling of which is the very intent and meaning cf law, are all let loose ; and those dear interests, for the protection of which we trust in law, are at once abandoned to outrage. “It is wonderful that so weak a system should find stability, even in popular madness. It is wonderful that extreme folly should not be more innocent. But it is most wonderful that those who have any thing to lose, should adopt such a system.
“Do they hold their distinctions and for
misrepresented, the right reverend prelate had every opportunity of confuting him, and defending his assertions. His lordship then put him in mind of his want of good manners; observed, that in his Sermon the word “liberty” had stuck in his throat, being too hard for digestion. And added, that the greatest act of magnanimity in his Majesty was the removal from the tuition of his son, a man, who would not suffer tunes by any other tenure, than that of law f and will they put them to the hazard, for the chance of gaining something better in the uproar 2 w “This would be a more desperate species of gaming, than any other which is known, even in these times. But nothing is too mean for the uses of parties, .." as they are now constituted. Parties once had a principle belonging to them, absurd perhaps, and indefensible, but still carrying a notion of duty, by which honest minds might easily be caught. “But there are now combinations of individuals, who instead of being the sons and servants of the community, make a league for advancing their private interests. It is their business to hold high the notion of political honour. I believe and trust it is not injurious to say, that such a bond is no better than that, by which the lowest and wickedest combinations are held together; and that it denotes the last stage of political depravity. “There is another point, in the clearing of which the common cause of legal freedom is intimately concerned. Those, who maintain these doctrines, justify themselves by the glorious Revolution. Are the cases in any view similar f Or did the leaders in that great business act upon principles such as theirs? Many went into that enterprize, who were of different complexions and characters, and with very different designs and motives; some, who but little before, when they thought it their interest, were ready enough to have betrayed the constitution. But the best and homestest among them stood forth avowedly, as supporting the supremacy of law. Have these men done the same 2 or have they not, in every step of the American contest, assailed and insulted it They have maintained, that a charter which issues from the king's sole pleasure, is valid against an act of parliament. They have maintained, that a king of England has the power to discharge any number of his subjects that he pleases, from the allegiance that is due to the State. “They used their best endeavours to throw the whole weight and power of the colonies into the scale of the crown; but we thank God’s good providence, that we had a prince upon the throne, whose magnanimity and justice were superior to such temptations. Of those men therefore they have taken the name,
but not the principles, and have so far aspersed.
the word “liberty” to be pronounced without a qualification. [Here a cry of Order! order J The Earl of Mansfield, by suddenly rising to speak, put a stop to all further altercation, but said nothing new upon the subject. He maintained his former opinions, respecting the American views of independency; but relied more upon what was urged in Montcalm’s Letters, which he insisted were not spurious; upon the preamble of the Charter Act, passed in the reign of king William, to the province of Massachuset's Bay; to the resolutions agreed to in a committee of the House of Commons, in 1732; to the writings of a gentleman who published a tract on the colonies in 1749; to two or three other speculative opinions, thrown out by a few rivate individuals, in which, sir Josiah Child, in his Treatise on Trade, was included; than to any substantial proof drawn from their former or present conduct. The substance of his § atgument, (separated from his quotations) was, that the Americans had assumed to themselves, the dignity and rights of indendent states. Would they descend om that proud situation to confer about terms of subordination ? Certainly not. They must feel the superiority of your arms, before they will listen to you. The present is not a fit season to treat; t them, after this campaign, and then, if you are disposed to treat, take the large ground; but before you consent to such treaty, be sure that a disposition is begotten on both sides the water, to relax a little from mutual claims, and consent only to treat by commissioners; in order that the pulse of the leading o of America may be felt, and a certain knowledge acquired of what will compose the troubles of that country. This must be done before the subject of treating can properly come before parliament. #. for one of the contending parties, and that the highest and greatest, to begin pacific negociations, by totally repealing all the statutes the other party complained of, was what he could not give his assent to; because it was not only in the first instance sacrificing the dignity of parliament and the nation to the unjust claims of the Americans, but it was o: them in a situation, to be treated with contempt, in case the Congress should tell you, they were independent states, and would not treat with any power on earth, who did not first acknowledge their independence.
Lord Onslow rose to defend a noble lord, in the other House (lord North) from what had fallen from the noble lord who spoke last but one. He insisted the charge was untrue; that the affair about the rum-contracts had been grossly misrepresented; that the contract had been made with all possible frugality, and lower than the navy contracts; and as to the blunder about currency and sterling, the noble lord alluded to, had said at first it was sterling, but being contradicted, gave it up for the time. On his return home, he found, however, the first assertion was right. The question being put, the House divided: Not Contents 76, Proxies 23–99. Contents 26, Proxies 2–28. Majority against the Motion 71.
Mr. Speaker Norton's Speech to the King on presenting the Money Bills.] June 6. The King came to the House of Peers to put an end to the Session.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, on presenting the Money Bills, addressed his Majesty as follows:
“Most Gracious Sovereign ;
“Your Majesty's loyal Commons have passed five Money Bills for the service of the current year. The first, a Bill for enabling your Majesty to defray the extra expences of the American war, and to make good the deficiency of the gold coin; the second for raising five millions by annuities, and for establishing a lottery; another for laying a tax upon servants; another for laying a tax upon auctions, and upon sales of estates, leases, and goods, by auction; and another for granting to your Majesty a certain sum out of the sinkin lo and for appropriating the Several Sums ted in this session to uses therein provided; to which your faithful Commons, Sir, humbly desire your assent. Your Commons, Sir, in the course of the present session, have applied themselves with all possible o to public business; and have done all in their power to procure the ease, happiness and prosperity of your subjects; and have granted the most ample supplies. They have strengthened the hands of government, and have done all in their power to promote a speedy and effectual reconciliation with America. They are fully conscious how necessary it is that the troubles in America should be amicably settled; and that the legislative authority of this country should be established and maintained
over all your Majesty's dominions. Your faithful Commons, firmly relying on your Majesty's wisdom and true regard to the interest of all your subjects, have strengthened your hands in the fullest manner; and have every right to expect that your Majesty's subjects in America will return to a proper sense of their duty; and that disorder and rebellion will give place to peace and reconciliation.”
The King's Speech at the Close of the Session.] His Majesty closed the Session with the following Speech to both Houses: “My Lords, and Gentlemen; “The conclusion of the public business, and the consideration of the inconvenience which I fear you must have suffered by so long an attendance, call upon me to put an end to this session of parliament: but I cannot let you go into your several counties without expressing my entire approbation of your conduct, and without thanking you for the unquestionable proofs you have given to me, and to all the world, of the continuance of your attachment to my person and government, of your clear discernment of the true interest of your country, and ofd." steady erseverance in maintaining the rights of the legislature. “ Gentlemen of the House of Commons; “I cannot sufficiently thank you for the zeal and public spirit with which you have granted the large and o sup
plies, which I have found myself under the .
necessity of asking of my faithful Commons for the service of the current year; and I must at the same time acknowledge the particular marks of your affection to me, as well in enabling me to discharge the debts contracted on account of my civil government, as in making so considerable an augmentation to the Civil List revenue during my life. “My Lords, and Gentlemen, “I trust in the Divine Providence, that, by a well concerted and vigorous exertion of the great force you have put into my hands, the operations of this campaign, by sea and land, will be blest with such success, as may most effectually, tend to the suppression of the rebellion in America, and to the re-establishment of that constitutional obedience, which all the subjects of a free state owe to the authority of law.”
The Parliament was then prorogued to LVOL. XIX.]
sion.] November #8, 1777. His Majesty opened the Session with the following Speech to both Houses: “My Lords, and Gentlemen; “It is a great satisfaction to me, that I can have recourse to the wisdom and support of my parliament, in this conjuncture. when the continuance of the rebellion in North America demands our most serious attention. The powers which you have intrusted me with for the suppression of this revolt, have been faithfully exerted; and I have a just confidence, that the conduct and courage of my officers, and the spirit and intrepidity of my forces, both by sea and land, will, under the blessing of Divine Providence, be attended with important success: but as I am persuaded, that you will see the necessity of preparing for such further operations, as the contingencies of the war, and the obstinacy of the rebels, may render expedient, I am, for that purpose, pursuing the proper measures for keeping my land forces complete to their present establishment; and if I should have occasion to increase them, by contracting any new engagements, I rely on your zeal and public spirit, to enable me to make them good. “I receive repeated assurances from for reign powers, of their pacific dispositions. My own cannot be doubted: but, at this time, when the armaments in the ports of France and Spain continue, I have thought it advisable to make a considerable augmentation to my naval force, as well to keep my kingdoms in a respectable state of security, as to provide an adequate protection for the extensive commerce of my subjects; and as, on the one hand, I am determined that the peace of Europe shall not be disturbed by me, so, on the other, I will always be a faithful guardian of the honour of the crown of Great Britain. “ Gentlemen of the House of Commons; “I have ordered the Estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before you. The various services which I have mentioned to [2 Al `
you will unavoidably require large suplies; and nothing could relieve my mind om the concern which I feel for the heavy charge which they must bring on my faithful people, but the perfect conviction that they are necessary for the welfare, and the essential interests of my kingdoms. “My Lords, and Gentlemen; “I will steadily pursue the measures in which we are engaged for the re-establishment of that constitutional subordination, which, with the blessing of God, I will maintain through the several parts of my dominions: but I shall ever be watchful for an opportunity of putting a stop to the effusion of the blood of my subjects, and the calamities which are inseparable from a state of war. And I still hope, that the dcluded and unhappy multitude will return to their allegiance; and that the remembrance of what they once enjoyed, the regret for what they have lost, and the feelings of what they now suffer under the arbitrary tyranny of their leaders, will rekindle in their hearts a spirit of loyalty to their sovereign, and of attachment to their mother country; and that they will enable me, with the concurrence and support of my parliament, to accomplish, what I shall consider as the greatest happiness of my life, and the greatest glory of my reign, the restoration of peace, order, and confidence to my American colonies.”
Debate in the Lords on the Address of Thanks.] His Majesty having retired,
Earl Percy" rose. He said it had fallen to his lot to have the honour of moving an Address in answer to the most gracious Speech from the throne. He acknowledged his own insufficiency for an undertaking which called for the most zealous and energetic language that House was capable of expressing itself in. His lordship observed, an event had happened since they last sat there, which ought to give every noble lord the most heart-felt pleasure; that was, the birth of a princess, as it was an additional security to the Protestant religion, and the enjoyment of those constitutional rights which were known to be so peculiarly the care of the amiable and virtuous sovereign on the throne, and were likely to be transmitted to the latest posterity, through his illustrious house. He then applied himself
* Hugh Percy, eldest son of the duke of Northumberland; succeeded his father in 1786.
particularly to the contents of the Speech, and passed the highest encomiums on the humane but firm spirit with which it was fraught. He acknowledged his obligations in common with the officers serving in America, for the very gracious testimony which has been given to their services by their royal master, and the high confidence he expressed, in the spirit and intrepidity of his forces, both by sea and land. He lamented, as a professional man, what a disagreeable situation persons serving in high commands stood in, when accidents, which it was frequently not in the power of the greatest military skill or foresight to descry or prevent, were attributed to neglect or incapacity. He lamented the fate of those brave and able men, who were thus liable to suffer under unjust censures; and whose absence in a distant country, necessarily prevented them from having an opportunity to defend themselves. From his own knowledge, he could affirm, that they were as cruel as ill founded. It was impossible, at this distance, to pass a judgment on the operations of war; it was injudicious and unfair to estimate their pro
riety by the events. It was with particuar satisfaction, therefore, that he perceived his Majesty and his ministers, and he believed a very great majority of the nation, entertained sentiments of a very different kind. A great deal had been already done, considering what great obstacles were to be surmounted; and he had the best founded hope, that the issue would be no less prosperous, than the measures hitherto adopted were wise, and the execution of them honourable and glorious to those to whom it was entrusted. His lordship expressed great sorrow for the occasion of the war, and the effusion of human blood, which was inseparable from such a state; but he was convinced, how much soever his Majesty, the parliament and the nation might feel on the occasion, the temper of America made it necessary; the people there had been deluded and misled by their leaders; and nothing, he feared, would compel them to return to their allegiance, but a continuance of the same decisive exertions on our part, till we were fully enabled to convince them, that as our rights were indisputably supreme, so our strength was fully adequate to their full maintenance and support. He concluded his remarks on the Speech, with passing great commendations on that humane, gracious, fa. therly spirit, which, he said, it breathed, and the invitation it held forth to our de