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well manned, superior to what France and Spain can unitedly bring against us. He is responsible for what he has asserted; I wish it may prove so. But are we sure, that in case of a rupture, a superior fleet can secure us from a foreign invasion of this island, across a channel which, from numberless ports, may be traversed in a winter's night? We ū. that almost as often as foreign forces have seriously attempted to land they have succeeded; and what is our defence here, if such an event should take place 2 I remember, that at the beginning of the last war, the apprehensions of an invasion were so great, that although almost all our army and nav was at home, we sent over for 12,000 Hanoverians , and Hessians to protect us. Perhaps that was needless and excessive caution; but we err too much the other way, when we truct to the very small force now in England or Ireland; and however useful the militia may be, I hope we shall never rely on them solely for our defence, especially officered as they now are, by men without that qualification which is the very essence of the constitution. Of all nations upon the earth, I believe England would be the soonest and easiest conquer. sed, if a 'considerable foreign force was to land at this moment, while our army is out of the kingdom, for our people are totally unused to arms, the country is without fortresses or strong posts, o: government without considence. The state of our finance appears to me equally critical. It is a subject of too much detail to enter into on a day not peculiarly appropriated for that purpose; but it is sufficient to say, that we are far, very far exceeding that debt which, at the end of the last war, was thought would crush us, and was then sufficient to compel us to peace. In addition to that debt, and its present vast increase, we have, I fear, lost America, and the resources it furnished. His Majesty in his speech says, he shall ever be watchful of an opportunity of putting a stop to the effusion of the blood of his subjects; but a noble lord has said, that the proposal for peace must come from parliament. But, my lords, 1 must contend, that there are no means at present ex
isting, for the King to set on foot any treaty for peace. The grounds of the present contest are the pretended rights of parliament. The King cannot of his own authority enter into any treaty for relinquishing the most insignificant of them, The
Act under which commissioners are ap
pointed, authorises them merely to receive submission, and on that condition to grant pardons; and therefore, if both sides were ever so much inclined to treat, that is, reciprocally to yield up claims, there is no legal method open for such a treaty. Even the disposition of parliament is uncertain. At one time, we do not mean taxation; at another, revenue is not our object: one minister requires only an admission of the supremacy of parliament, another unconditional submission. A secretary of state has told us, that the negociation opened on Staten Island, broke up as soon as begun, because the American deputies required the admission of their independency as a sine qua non. I believe the want of power in our commissioners to treat, was the true cause of that business proceeding no farther; and although I am persuaded the noble lord did not mean to deceive the House, I have reason to believe the action was not as he has stated. Let the noble lord lay before the House the account which was received of it, that is, the regular method of parliamentary information. I wish parliament would remedy the real difficulty which at present subsists, and authorise commissioners really to treat. In regard to the Amendment proposed, my only objection to it is, that it seems to convey to the world an idea that we are still in time to recover those invaluable rovinces to Great Britain. I much fear it is elapsed. I do not say that it is imossible to reunite America with England in some shape or other, or that it should not be attempted; but I would not have the people of this country raised to an expectation, in which I fear they would be deceived. I will not despair, because I am convinced that an equitable and fair union would be most advantageous to the inhabitants of both countries; but after the exasperated state to which things have been driven between the army and the Americans, I doubt they will never be reconciled to hold any dependance on a nation, from which they have received such unpardonable injuries. A secretary of state has said, that he was glad to hear the noble earl who moved the Amendment, declare, that he was still for the dependency of America, and that he understood all who supported the noble lord agreed in the same sentiment. I know not from what premises such a conclusion is drawn; but lest silence should be deemed acquiescence, I must for once
declare, that although I much wish to see or them, the most exemplary punishment. the Americans return of their own accord Earl of Suffolk. The noble earl has to a reasonable degree of dependency on expressed himself in very vehement terms this country, yet I will not say, that any indeed. I wish he had felt as powerfully for alliance with them as free states ought to the many unheard-of cruelties exercised by be rejected. If we can obtain the benefits those very people over their own brethren, of their commerce in return for our pro- for noother crimebut merely refusing to join tection, it is all that is essential, still, less in rebellion. I insist on what I first said, might be beneficial. I would treat, and that if the Indians had not been employed get what I could with their consent; but by us, they would have been employed I would sooner give up every claim to against us. The Americans sent their America, than continue an unjust and emissaries amongst them; and while his cruel civil war. I am happy to find the lordship expressed so much horror at the noble earl who moved the Amendment, cruelty of the savages, I am surprised has in some respect deviated from the Bill that he did not bestow one thought on the he proposed three years ago; and that he much more unnatural and bloody conduct would now give America security against of our rebellious subjects, who, to the the existence of a military force there guilt of committing similar cruelties to without their consent. Indeed, the sad those he has enumerated, on Englishmen, experience they have had, makes such a and their own countrymen, have added security the more called for, as without it the crimes of treason, perfidy, ingratitude, all other provisions would be useless
and rebellion. The alliance of the InThe Earl of Chatham. I approve in dians is to be justified upon two grounds; part of what the noble duke says; but I one, as necessary in fact; the other, as alby no means think the enquiry ought to lowable upon principle: for first, the be set on foot entirely for the sake of the Americans endeavoured to raise them on right reverend bench. This House, the their side, and would gain them, if we did parliament, the nation at large, ought to not; and next, it was allowable, and perhave the opportunity to clear themselves fectly justifiable, to use every means that of that heavy load of black and blood-im- God and nature had put into our hands. puted guilt, under which they suffer. I The Earl of Chatham said, the conclu. pledge myself to set on foot an enquiry sion of the noble earl's speech contained into the state of the nation; and, as one a most preposterous and enormous prin. of its leading objects, I shall endeavour to ciple; and added, that such notions standdiscover who were the authors and ad- | ing so near the throne, might pollute the visers of letting loose the blood-hounds ear of Majesty. He affirmed, that such and hell-hounds, the savages of America, an alliance was against the constitution ; upon our brethren there. It shall be a he believed against law. kind of a lustrum, to cleanse and purify the Viscount Townshend. The case was nation from the odious guilt of those horrid this: M. Montcalm employed them early barbarities. You, my lords, the bishops, in the war, which put us under the necesI trust, will assist in this pious work; and sity of doing the same. I do not pretend you, my learned lords, who are both the to say for what purposes the noble lord constitutional guardians and interpreters who spoke last might have employed them, of the laws, [addressing himself to the at Montreal or in the interior country; lord Chancellor and lord Mansfield] will but they were never employed in the army not, I trust, be wanting. I shall implore I commanded, but in assisting the troops the aid of the lawn sleeves and ermine on in the laborious services necessarily atthat occasion. I hope to stamp a proper tending an army. They were never under mark both upon the illegality and inhuma. military command, nor arrayed for military nity of this bloody measure; we shall then purposes. be assisted by the lawn and ermine, by Earl Gower wondered that they who innocence and wisdom: we shall have the had the conduct of last war, should forget pious assistance of that sacred bench; and the means by which it was conducted, and the no less constitutional and efficacious now condemn the measures they had foraid of the sages of the law; of our right merly authorized: and added, that In. reverend and most learned brethren on dians had been employed on our side in both sides o! the House, in dragging the the last war in America ; that presents author or authors of this Satanic measure, had been given, and treaties made with ipto broad day-light, and inflicting on him them.
The Earl of Chatham answered, he did able to me; and I persuade myself that not forget; that he well knew they had salutary effects must be the natural result been employed, for the necessary purpose of deliberation, conducted on such princiof war, as he presumed, and not to be ples. You will ever find, that the favoustretched far and wide for murder and rite wish of my heart is, to promote and massacre, and all their concomitant hor- effectuate the common happiness and wel. rors: that if the previous use of them by the fare of all my dominions.” French, our natural enemy, and the inevitable necessities of our army, obliged us Debate in the Commons on the Address to employ them in military purposes to of Thanks.] The Commons being rescour the country or cover our flanks, the turned to their House, general who commanded, and who acted Lord Hyde rose for the purpose of from those necessities, would account for moving an Address of Thanks. His lord. them: that he now appealed to him in ship prefaced his motion by a panegyric that House, and called upon him to de- on the prudence of government, the neclare, whether the administration in that cessity of the war, and the good conduct war had ever directed or authorized the of our commanders, who, notwithstanding use of the savages ? Whether ever a line some insinuations thrown out lately in the from office had given that measure an offi- public prints, deserved our utmost confi. cial or public sanction? He reminded the dence, and amply justified that hope which noble earl (Gower) that his lordship was his Majesty as well as his ministers placed not then in office; but that he himself, in their future exertions. He said, that who had then the honour to be secretary the ense recidendum was not adopted until of state, assured their lordships, adminis- the views and actions of the Americans tration never had justified or authorized called loudly for the measure, and that he that measure.
doubted not but the prudence of govern Lord Amherst confessed, that they had ment would seize every opportunity to been employed last war in America; that put a stop to the effusion of blood, when they had been employed by both sides; the honour, the dignity, or the interest of and that perhaps both sides might have the nation would admit of such a desirable been in the wrong; but did not impute effort. His lordship concluded with movany sanction or knowledge of their use to ing the following Address : administration.
“ Most Gracious Sovereign, The House divided : For the Amend. “We, your Majesty's most dutiful and ment 28; Against it 97. The Address loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Bri. was then agreed to.
tain, in parliament assembled, beg leave
to return your Majesty the humble thanks Protest against the Address of Thanks.] of this House, for your most gracious The following Protest was entered: Speech from the throne. « Dissentient.
** Deeply interested in every event “ Because this Address is a repetition which tends to increase your Majesty's of, or rather an improvement on, the ful. domestic felicity, and impressed with the some adulation offered, and the blind en- liveliest sentiments of duty and attachment gagements entered into on former occa- to the Queen ; we beg leave to offer to sions by this House, relative to this un- your Majesty our congratulations on the happy civil war. (Signed)-EFFING- birth of another princess, and on her MaHAM, RICHMOND.”
jesty's happy recovery.
"We assure your Majesty, that we take The King's Answer to the Lords' Ad- a sincere part in the confidence which dress of Thanks.] To the Address of the your Majesty expresses, that the conduct Lords, his Majesty returned this Answer: and courage of your officers, and the spirit « My Lords,
and intrepidity of your forces, both by sea “ I thank you for this very loyal and and land, will, under the Divine Provi. dutiful Address, as well as for your con- dence, be attended with important success, gratulations on the increase of my family, But at the same time, we entirely concur and for the regard you express on this oc- with your Majesty in thinking, that it is casion for the Queen.-The assurances necessary to prepare for such further opeyou give me of your firm and temperate rations, as future events, and the contin. sentiments respecting the measures in gencies of the war, may render expedient, which we are epgaged, are highly agree. And we learn, with much satisfaction, that your Majesty is, for that purpose, pursu- | with a spirit of loyalty to their sovereign, ing the proper measures for keeping your and of attachment to their mother coun. land forces complete to their present esta- try. blishment. And whenever your Majesty The gracious and condescending man. shall be pleased to communicate to us any ner in which your Majesty expresses your new engagements which you may have desire, that you may be enabled to restore entered into for increasing your military peace, order, and confidence to your Ames force, we will take the same into our con- rican colonies, cannot fail of endearing sideration : and we trust your Majesty your Majesty to the hearts of all your sub, will not be disappointed in the gracious jects; and we assure your Majesty, that sentiments which you entertain of the when this great work can be accomplished, zeal and public spirit of your faithful Com- and settled on the true principles of the mons.
constitution, your Majesty may depend on “ We are truly sensible, that your Ma- the most zealous concurrence and support jesty's constant care for the welfare of of your faithful Commons." • your people, and your generous concern Sir Gilbert Elliot,* in seconding the
for the happiness of mankind, dispose your motion, observed, that though he had not Majesty to desire, that the peace of Europe the honour of a seat in the House when may not be disturbed; but we acknow the grand objects of the present unhappy ledge, with equal gratitude, your Majesty's war were under the discussion of parliaattention to the security of your king- ment, yet he was well aware that they had doms, and the protection of the extensive been already viewed on both sides of the commerce of your subjects, in having House in every light wherein they were made a considerable augmentation to your capable of being seen. And, indeed, if naval force, on which the reputation and they had not, it was perhaps now unneces. importance of this nation must ever princi- sary to discuss them. The question was pally depend; and we hear with the highest not pow whether America was originally satisfaction, and rely with perfect confi. right or wrong; but whether she should or dence on your royal declaration, that your should not remain independent. And Majesty will always be the faithful guardian taking the case of the colonies as it now of the honour of the British crown. stands, he was astonished that any man,
“ We beg leave to assure your Majesty, born and educated in Britain, could stand that we will, without delay, enter into the up in that House to express a sentiment consideration of the supplies for the en contrary to the spirit of the measures suing year; and that we will cheerfully adopted by government, and conveyed to and effectually provide for all such ex us in the language of his Majesty's most pences as shall be found necessary for the gracious specch. He took occasion to inwelfare and essential interests of these troduce an observation on the present kingdoms, and for the vigorous prosecu- state of our trade and commerce; avertion of the measures in which we are en- ring, that, so far from being diminished gaged for the re-establishment of that con- by the present contest, as might reasonstitutional subordination, which, we trust, ably be feared, they were rather increased with the blessing of God, your Majesty within the last twelve months. He heard will be able to maintain through the se- nothing of our artisans being unemployed veral parts of your dominions..
in any branch of trade in the kingdom; .“ We acknowledge, with equal gratitude and, bating a little increase of luxury, and admiration, your Majesty's paternal which, upon the whole, was rather a declaration, that you will be ever watchful thriving symptom, he believed the nation for an opportunity of putting a stop to the was in as flourishing a condition as at any effusion of the blood of your subjects, and period in his memory. He, in explicit the calamities of war.
terms, stigmatized those who were of an “ Permit us to assure your Majesty, that opposite opinion, as a set of people perwe cannot but still entertain a hope, that vaded with the spirit of faction. the discernment of their true interests, the The Marquis of Granby lamented the remembrance of the blessings they once consequences which must fall upon this enjoyed, and the sense of their present suf nation as well as upon the Americans from ferings under the arbitrary tyranny of their so unnatural a war. He seemed to take leaders, will induce the deluded and unhappy multitude to return to their alle. |
1 . In October 1797, created a peer by the giance, and will re-animate their hearts title of baron Minto.
an equal interest in the calamities it must bring upon both, and expressed the most ardent wish of employing the present moment to lay at least the ground-work of an accommodation. The powers of Great Britain had been exerted, during three successive campaigns, to obtain peace with that continent by the point of the sword; and flattering himself that the present moment of uncertainty, with respect to the success of our arms, was a most proper time for attempting to effect it by a measure of cordiality, he begged leave to move an Amendment, by inserting, after the words “to assure his Majesty, that,” at the beginning of the third paragraph, these words, “this House does most humbly advise and supplicate his Majesty to be pleased to cause the most speedy and effectual measures to be taken for restoring peace in America; and that no time may be lost, in proposing an immediate cessation of hostilities there, in order to the opening of a treaty for the final settlement of the tranquillity of those invaluable provinces, by a removal of the unhappy causes of this ruinous civil war, and by a just and adequate security against the return of the like calamities in times to come: and this House desire to offer the most dutiful, assurances to his Majesty, that they will, in due time, cheerfully cooperate with the magnanimity and tender goodness of his Majesty, for the preservation of his people, by such explicit and most solemn declarations and provisions of fundamental and irrevocable laws, as may be judged necessary for ascertaining and fixing for ever, the respective rights of Great Britain and her colonies.” Lord John Cavendish seconded the Amendment; and pointed out the inconsistency of those sentiments of humanity in the King's Speech, which the measures of administration so openly contradicted. He said, that, for an ideal revenue of 5 or 600,000l., fifteen millions had been already expended; that great professions had been made from the throne two years back, of what was to be done; but, instead of finding them fulfilled, he perceived that fallere et effugere est triumphus with the mimistry; for that last summer our coasts swarmed with the American privateers; and how much their force was dreaded b government, he could prove, being himself an eye witness of the fortification of Dublin harbour, which had never been deemed necessary before, even in a war with our natural and most inveterate enemies:—
that so far from our succeeding every campaign, in his opinion the present measures served only to lead to an eternity of war; that he could have no delight in the intelligence of the success of either force, as it must naturally be destructive of the dearest interests y this country. He had no objection to the congratulatory compliments to his Majesty contained in the Address, but wished heartily for the proposed amendment, thinking it the only step that could lead to the wished for reconciliation. He did this with the greater readiness, as he trusted it would be universally allowed that the proposition came from the purest and most liberal motives; and as the young nobleman by whom it was offered was so circumstanced in point of fortune, family, and dignity, that it was impossible for any cause to affect the state in general, without having a similar effect with respect to him in particular. He then went into the conduct of the war during the three last campaigns, o from the little effect which coercion had produced, as well as from the ties of humanity and relative duties, deduced the expediency of adopting the measures recommended in the motion. Governor Johnstone said, he must condemn the general and violent censure thrown out by the young member (sir G. Elliot) on those gentlemen who had maintained opinions different from his, for several years before he came into parliament, and who, at this day, found no reason to alter those opinions. He professed himself one of those gentlemen whom the young member had branded with the appellation of a faction, and to justify his sentiments, offered a variety of reasons chiefly deduced from facts. He spoke strenuously of the merit of lord Howe as a commander, not only from his conduct in the present war, but from his own personal knowledge of him. The difficulties he must have met in his passage from New York to the Elk were numerous and immense; yet he understood this gallant officer, equipped as a common sailor, with a jacket and trowsers, went himself into the boats, and with the plumb in his hands, conducted a large fleet up to Chesapeak Bay, through shoals and obstructions, which it was thought by able officers were impracticable to get over. But he denied that any real advantage had been acquired by those great achievements; he denied that our trade was in a flourishing state: we had lost the Mediterranean trade, the African trade; and