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lord Mulgrave had brought no argument, so able a man as Mr. Carleton his quarteragainst, but with a laugh treated as ridi- master general; adding, “ If he should culously erroneous, and fitter for a lands. | fall, I wish not to survive him." He man than a seaman to have expressed. blamed the object of the war, as well as He stated the fact as related by his bro the mode of prosecuting it, and declared, ther, and then defied the noble lord as a he would not vote a man towards the seaman and an officer, to say it was erro- | carrying on so unjust and impolitic a war neous; that on the contrary, it was a proof by so weak an administration. He said that his hon. relation was circumstantially much in praise of the officers commanding informed of the facts he had asserted, and our forces in America, and censured miwas willing to satisfy officers in the House nistry for treating their conduct slightingly as well as other representatives, that he for some months past, by causing them to spoke from indisputable information, ob be censured by their writers in the public serving, that cannon which were only see prints, or, at least, conniving at such uncure when quoined down, were unfit for merited slander. He insisted, that in case action, as in all engagements they must France should break with us, we should depend on the security of the ring-bolts have not only every branch of the House and soundness of the timber which held of Bourbon to contend with, but likewise them, and if they proved defective it was Portugal, and be at the same time stripped no laughable matter : but he attributed of every ally. I ask the noble lord, if in the pleasantry which the House had joined case of a rupture with France, we shall the noble lord in, to ignorance of the sub- have a single port from Embden in the terfuge his lordship had availed himself of, king of Prussia's dominions, to Gibraltar, when evading grounds of argument, he open to us? Is Holland friendly? Is not depended on the credit of the uniform he Portugal in alliance with France and wore, as of sufficient weight to contradict Spain? In fine, in such an event, which I ever such home truths when brought by a venture to affirm is more than probable, landsman in charge against the manage- have we a single friend, but the powerful ment of the navy.
states of Anspach, Waldeck, and those Lord Mulgrave disclaimed any intention several formidable allies who have furof misrepresenting the hon. gentleman's nished us with troops ; who have sold us relation's words, or of taking any advan- blood in return for our money! tage of his ignorance of naval affairs; and, Mr. Burke rose, and taking a retrospecbesides, gave the fullest and most willing tive view of the greatest wars which Great testimony to the professional merit and Britain had to sustain during and since abilities of the gentleman who last spoke. | the reign of Lewis the 14th, shewed the
Mr. Adam rose to justify the Scotch | House, that they were then about to vote cannon from the calumny that had been such a naval supply when in a state of thrown upon it; said he was a proprietor peace with every independent nation in of the foundery, that though an accident | the world, as was scarce to be equalled in had happened, and their pieces were re- times when they were at war with almost fused here, they now served most states every power in Europe. When France, abroad with them, and gave such satisfac. | said he, had equipped the famous arma. tion as he hoped would enable them to ment from La Hogue, we then had not a regain their credit with the British ord greater number of seamen in pay, marines, nance,
| Greenwich.men, &c.included, thap 33,000, Mr. T. Townshend objected to the mo- which cost us 1,900,0001. In 1704, the tion, on the simple principle that it was fourth year of queen Anne's war, the same in support of a war that he detested and number of men were voted, which cost abhorred. He then launched into a re- but 1,200,0001. In 1747, the fourth year view of the conduct of administration re- of the war with the united powers of specting the censure they threw during the France and Spain, we had 40,000 at an last summer, on the officers commanding expence of something more than 3,000,0001. in America ; he vindicated the conduct of and in the glorious year 1758, the naval sir Guy Carleton; said he had been dis establishinent did not exceed by a single honourably superseded; that he knew the man, 60,000; and the whole expence atworth of that great and gallant officer ; tending them, including a large debt of a that general Wolfe, previous to his em-million, naval ordnance, stores, and 41. a barking for Quebec, expressed his happi- month per man, amounted only to ness to him (Mr. Townshend) in having 5,200,0001. whereas the peace establish. ment of the navy for 1778 will amount to land. As to the first, we had now a man upwards of 5,000,0001. This, said he, is of war in the harbour of Lisbon ; and an expence very little inferior to what we though the court of Lisbon had settled should be obliged to incur were we at war their differences with that of Madrid, on with the whole House of Bourbon, and all the subject of the rights of each crown in the maritime states of Europe. He ob- the Brazils, he knew of no further agreeserved, that France, merely by arming, ment or compact between them. As to caused as great a diversion in favour of Holland, the Dutch had but one object, America, as if she had absolutely declared which was commerce; this they would war: for she obliged us to keep 42 sail of carry on as a neutral power, and supply the line in commission at home, exclusive the parties at war with ammunition. They of the vast armament under lord Howe. have done so at all times; remonstrances He asked what alliances we had formed to had been made against their supplying the support us in case of a rupture with the Americans, and some of their ships had Bourbons : he reprobated the contract been seized; but still he had no apprehenwith the princelings of Germany as meansion that the court at the Hague would and humiliating, and expressed his asto- relax in their old friendship and alliance nishment that the ministers had conde- with Great Britain. His lordship then scended to the indignity of courting the explained himself upon subsidies; he dealliance of a few traders in human flesh. nied that he had ever declared against all
There is, said he, an alliance which they subsidies; he had ever looked upon the ought to make, let the price of it be what subsidies granted to foreign princes in it will; and that is, an alliance with Ame- time of peace, as a retaining fee to rica; the first fruit of this alliance will be keep their alliance in time of war as a saving of 100 sail of men of war, and highly disadvantageous, because those 55,000 soldiers, which you may imme. princes, after receiving the money, rediately call home to your assistance, if gulated their conduct by the political you have a war to sustain against any Eu- situation of affairs; but the present subropean power. He expressed his dread, sidies were highly advantageous, as they that Portugal was lost to us as an ally ; supplied us with troops upon an emerthat we had little to expect from Holland; gency on cheaper terms than we could and that there was not now a port from raise them any other way.-His lordship Dunkirk to Gibraltar, which would admit then exculpated himself from having ill a British ship, if pursued by an enemy. used general Carleton: he bestowed the He mentioned the affront put upon sir highest encomiums on his abilities, and Guy Carleton, and the illiberal abuse said there were particular reasons why he thrown out against the Howes by the run recommended it to the King not to take ners of administration. If ministers did the supreme command from sir W. Howe, not speak out directly in terms of abuse of though general Carleton was the senior those able and injured officers, it was well officer: he was sure the general would not known they heartily approved of it. It complain of it when he came home, and furnished during the whole summer, the he should assign his reasons to him, though standing topic of conversation at their he could not to the House.-A remark tables. Those who had the honour to be having been made of reflections thrown admitted there repeated the language they out in the news papers against public cha. heard as a part of their duty; and it was racters, lord North said he knew nothing evident by the general tenor of the news of them, only that they were no friends of papers for some time past, which teemed his; for in the whole circle of the papers with the most scandalous abuse of those he was daily abused, but he despised it. brave men, who were now exerting every His lordship expressed his contempt of nerve in the faithful performance of their news paper abuse, in the most energetic duty, that persons were hired and encou- terms. He wished a stop could be put to raged to propagate the most scandalous such infamous publications. No man held falshoods, both in writing and discourse, them in greater abhorrence, particularly of both lord Howe and his brother, in those alluded to, not that he could ever order to shift the blame off their patrons' believe, that administration, or any indi. and employers' shoulders.
vidual of it, had a hand in them. A set of Lord North said, he knew of no reason, persons were employed by the printers, nor had the least to suspect, that we who would write or say any thing for hire; should lose the alliance of Portugal or Hol- and unless it could be proved, that they
were hired by administration, he thought it extremely unfair, to lay their calumnies at the door of those, who were totally innocent of the charge. It had been said, that those calumnies were propagated by persons, who dimed and conversed with ministers. He could answer, so far as the charge could be supposed to affect him, it was false; and if he knew of any person who frequented his table, and repeated what he heard, much more, what he did not hear there, he would take care he should never again be furnished with a like pretence. Mr. For insisted, that the resources of the nation, however great, could never an. swer the vast expences we must always undergo, if we are obliged to follow the example of France, and fit out fleets whenever she thinks proper to arm. There was a time, when a British ministry would insist, that the enemies of their country should first disarm, before they laid up their ships; that time, however, was no more; and the faithful page of histor would hand down to posterity, the .# lanimity of a minister, who consented to set Spain the example of disarming; though the honour of the navy, and consequently of the nation, had been violated, when the rudder of an English man of war was forcibly taken from her at Port Egmont. . He said, the minister, by not bringing the printers of the abuse against the Howes to justice, gave reason to think that he approved of it; that the publisher of an advertisement relative to a charity, was pursued with the utmost rigour, whilst the defamers of our generals and commanders were suffered to go unpunished. The Resolution was then agreed to.
Debate in the Commons on the Bill for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act.] Nov. 26. The Attorney General observed, that an Act passed in the last session, intitled, “An Act to impower his Majesty to secure and detain persons charged with, or suspected of, the crime of high treason, committed in any of his Majesty's colonies or plantations in America, or on the high seas, or the crime of piracy,” would expire on the 1st of January, 1778: that the same cause which made the law at first necessary still continued; namely, the rebellion in America; and that he therefore meant now to move for leave to bring in a Bill for the further continuance of the said Act for a limited time.
Mr. Baker said, that the law now proso to be further continued must have ad some object in view when it was passed. It was with great reluctance he would at any time consent to the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, that great security of public freedom and personas liberty. There were circumstances, however, in seasons of great national danger, which had called for the particular interference of the legislature, and might again justify such suspension. He never thought the proposed Bill intitled to any such public, or parliamentary sanction; yet, if it were, experience must be the best proof whether those appearances were well founded. On this ground, therefore, he should be glad to know from the hon. and learned mover, in what instances the powers, which had now for full nine months been delegated, were exercised, and what were the evils they prevented or remedied ? If none could be stated, in his opinion, it would be equally wanton and unnecessary to continue them, and be a dangerous precedent in time to come. Mr. Burke coincided with his hon. friend in his general reasoning, and further observed, that the Bill was of the most extraordinary texture; nor were its operations, if they could be called by that apellation, less so. Here is a Bill, which is to operate in every part of the British empire, against pirates, or persons suspected of treason. Your generals on the other side of the Atlantic have established a public cartel, such as is agreed to, with an alien enemy, for the exchange of prisoners. It is no general light surmise or loose assertion; we find your commanders actually pressing Mr. Washington to a faithful performance of this cartel: we are informed of a correspondence between a Mr. Hutchinson, lord Cornwallis, Mr. Washington, &c. in which the true spirit of the cartel is controverted; but not its existence, nor a professed unwillingness on either side, to comply with it. What do we behold on the other? I do not wish to state facts from general reports, if I am wrong, I trust the learned gentleman will set me right. Why, a direct contrary conduct in Europe; lord Stormont, his Majesty's minister at the French court, giving a very lofty answer to the American delegates residing there. He tells them, when they propose a similar cartel to that settled in America, in Europe, and an exchange of prisoners in consequence of it, “I never treat with rebels, unless to receive submission.” I do not find fault with this answer; it was becoming the representative of a great nation; but I mention it only to shew the inconsistency of administration; or at least their divided opinions and conduct upon the same subject. Is rebellion in Europe different in its mature from what it is in America : Are our subjects in America, taken with arms in their hands, the last stage of resistance to the civil power, to be treated as fair, open, alien enemies? and is the mere suspicion of the same crime in Europe to be treated with all the rigour, due to acts of the most deliberate and inveterate treason 2 I suspect this Bill is only to save appearances. Has any man been brought to judgment? Has any man been convicted or discharged 2 I have heard of none. The conduct of administration is, in my opinion, preposterous and absurd. The Bill is unnecessary. It creates a power to confine people, who in the end, must come in under the faith of a cartel. Either, therefore, let the Bill expire, or preserve something like uniformity of conduct, by dissolving the cartel. The Attorney General replied, that when the Bill was passed, a necessity existed. The same motives still continued. It was to hold persons in certain situations, or revent mischiefs arising from acts, which in most cases must, from their nature, be otherwise accompanied with impunity. This, however, was not the time to dispute the propriety of the proposed law : the motion was only for leave; when it came in the form of a Bill, that would be the proper time to make objections. Mr. Baker said, that the crown had asked for powers, and obtained them; but he had not learned, that they were exercised in any one instance; but in confining persons, and obliging them to suffer a species of imprisonment, no less cruel and unprecedented, than disgraceful to the character of the English nation. The miseries those people, now shut up in the several gaols of the kingdom, suffered, he had heard, were intolerable. He emphatically desired to know the reason, why they had not been brought to their trials, bailed, or discharged 2 and observed, there was a passage in the speech, of the last session, which promised, that the laws should be faithfully carried into execution; but that, in the answer to the speech from that House, no notice was taken of that passage. Leave was given to bring in the Bill.
Nov. 27. Sir Grey Cooper brought in the said Bill, which was read a first time. Mr. Baker said, he intended to have made his opposition to the introduction of the Bill, but was prevented by the hurry in which it was brought into the House. As that was no longer in his power, he would oppose it in its present stage, and accordingly moved, “That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, praying him to order a correct return and full description of all the prisoners, with an account of the prisons in which they are confined in America as well as Great Britain, together with copies of their several commitments, and the bail, &c. offered for their enlargement, and all other proceedings of his Majesty’s privy council, in consequence of the power vested in them by the late Bill for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, to be laid before this House.” Mr. Cornwall wished to know what were the consequences the hon. gentleman wanted to draw from the desired information. Mr. Baker replied, that having reason to imagine that there were few or none taken up by virtue of the suspension of that Act, his object was to prove, from official information, that the Act had not had any effect; that no reason existed which could demonstrate that there is any greater cause now to renew it, than there had been at first to enact it; and that consequently it would be an unjustifiable measure to suspend the operation of so important an Act as the Habeas Corpus. Sir Grey Cooper replied, that such an enquiry was unnecessary, and indeed nugatory, for it was impossible for administration to force the Bill into operation, if the parties, who might think themselves aggrieved in the first instance, declined to avail themselves of that mode of redress which the Bill held out. There was nothing new in the suspension of the Habeas Corpus law; it had been frequently suspended since the Revolution when the exigencies of public affairs required, first in king William's time, and afterwards in 1715 and 1745; but if the hon. gentleman wished to know the names, numbers, and other particulars stated in his motion relative to those unhappy persons, he for his part had no objection. Mr. Baker answered, that the object of his motion was simply this; that the enquiry of the House should be co-extensive with the exercise of powers it had dele
gated to the crown. He drew this infe- / generally to be found in the midway, bez rence from what had been stated by the tween the two extremes ; and no political last hon. gentleman, that there were many or metaplıysical proposition could be ada native Americans under confinement for vanced, which, if pursued to the utmost treasonable practices, but not one of the limits that refined reasoning could stretch natives of Great Britain, which was the it to, would not terminate in an absurdity. strongest argument of the inutility of the He never meant that a continual suspena Act, and the best reason, why it should sion should be grounded upon this tempos now be permitted to die a natural death, rary one; nor could he see the least as being totally unnecessary.
danger that such a measure would ever Mr. Welbore Ellis said, that the motive originate from it. from which he acted when he gave his as- Mr. Burke again rose up, and cona sent last session to the suspending the fessed that truth was not to be found in Act, was not so much to punish as to pre- the extremes; that he did not want to vent rebellion ; few persons, he confessed, I drive him to the argumentum ad absurdum had been taken into custody in conse in any metaphysical question ; but in this quence of it; but then it must be attri. political one he would wish to pursue bim buted to the terrors of imprisonment, and to the utmost verge of reasoning, till he the other consequences that might ensue; / should give up a measure pregnant with and if few persons had been confined, it our ruin. The land-tax, he observed, was was a proof that few crimes, against which introduced as a temporary revenue, and the Act was levelled, had been committed by that means granted by the House: the Hence he inferred, that the suspension army was at first voted for one year only i had awed many disaffected subjects into but now your army, said he, is a standing obedience and fidelity, and shut the door army; your land-tax is a standing revenue against domestic rebellion ; that as it had to maintain this standing army; and this prevented the commission of numberless suspension may become a standing susrebellious acts, so it must continue to pension, and consequently, the eternal operate in the same manner, and prevent suspension and destruction of the Habeas in future, equally as well as in the past; | Corpus. that therefore he could not but justify the Mr. Fox said, when the first motion was measure of still keeping the Bill in being, made to suspend the Habeas Corpus, it that the same happy effects might not was declared by the favourers of the Bill cease to be felt.
to be a most harmless, mild and innocent Mr. Burke was warmed at the idea of measure; now it is confessed to be arined suspending the Habeas Corpus, merely with the greatest terrors; to be able to that rebellions might be prevented: the awe the subject into submission, and tersame argument might hold good to eter- rify him into obedience: it was scandanity, and continue the suspension of that lous, it was infamous, to endeavour to important Act to the end of time. The conceal the dreadful effects that must nas fence of liberty might be cut down, and turally flow from such an Act, and an inBritons deprived of their most valuable | dignity offered to the House, to attempt privileges, if this mode of reasoning should to deceive by such thin disguises. be approved by the House. The same Mr. Baker's motion was agreed to; and cause that obliges the Act to be passed the Bill was read a second time. this session, may produce a similar effect the next one, and thus defeat the purpose Debate in the Commons on the Land of the most valuable law we have. He Tax of Four Shillings in the Pound.) implored, he entreated the House, if there | Nov. 28. The order of the day being was still one spark of genuine patriotism read, for going into a Committee of Ways to be found in it, that they would now and Means to grant to his Majesty a land. stand forth the guardians of their country's tax for the year 1778, of four skillings in rights, assert their liberties, and crush the the pound, sir C. Whitworth took the infamous Bill that was to be the instru. chair of the committee, and lord North ment of their slavery, in the first instance. moved the Resolution.
Mr. Welbore Ellis expressed himself | Mr. Whitbread complained greatly of surprised that the hon. member should fly the inequitable mode of assessing and into such extremes, and draw inferences levying the land-tax, and begged the comwhich he did not think the premises could mittee to take it into their most 'serious Justify; truth and virtue, he said, were consideration. Since the addition of one (VOL. XIX. ]
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