« ElőzőTovább »
likewise criminal, though in an inferior de- of such parts of the instructions given to gree. He concluded by pronouncing the general sir William Howe, as relate to any panegyric of his hon. friend Mr. Burke. intended co-operation with lieut.-general
Mr. Rigby, as one of the many who had Burgoyne."--It was negatived. voted for the war, thought it necessary to say something in his own vindication : and Debate in the Commons on the Ordnance declared, that for upwards of thirteen years Estimates.] Dec. 4. The Report of the he had been invariably consistent: he had .Committee of Supply was brought up. On been convinced, that Great Britain was the Resolution that 682,8161. be granted supreme over all her dominions; it was for the ordinaries and extraordinaries of declared so, early in the reign of George the office of Ordnance for the year 1778, the 2nd, who taxed the colonies, and ac- being read, knowledged by them when they submitted Sir Philip Jennings Clerke moved to to be taxed: from a tax imposed and sub- recommit the report, and said: When I mitted to, he inferred a right to tax; and am called upon to vote this enormous supfrom that conviction he had acted when ply, I hope I shall not be thought irreguhe voted for the war; and he was still of lar, if I say a few words on the great Ameopinion, that every nerve should be strain- rican business, which is the occasion of the ed to prosecute it with vigour.
present demand. Shocked as I was at Lord North rose, and expressed his hearing of the fate of general Burgoyne and sorrow at the present unhappy news. He his army, I did presume to hope, that some said, that no man from the beginning possible good might be produced, as it more firmly wished for peace than he had; often happens, from great evil. I began and that no man would do more to obtain to think, that disappointment and misforit now: if the laying down his place and tune might bring those who have the conhonours would accomplish it, he would duct of our American affairs to a more mogladly resign them all." He owned he had derate way of thinking, and incline them been dragged to his place against his will: to turn their thoughts to that which is the a place wbich, while in possession, how- object of almost every person in this king, ever disagreeable, he would support to the dom, peace and conciliation. I was justibest of his power. As to the noble lord in fied in that expectation, because the noble the American department, he trusted he lord who presides over the American dehad acted on the soundest principles of partment, when he came here the day candour and deliberation. He could not before, with the extraordinary gazette in possibly make any objection to the inquiry his hand, full of victory, full of triumph, into that noble lord's conduct, as he made iold us then, it was not yet a time for no douht but he would acquit himself be peace. What does the noblelord tell us now? fore that House. He concluded with de- / We are defeated, we must not be discoufending the general subject of the Ameri. ged, we must renew our efforts, for there can war, by observing, that he thought it are great resources still left in this country. entirely necessary that every part of the Neither victory nor defeat, then, are to British empire should contribute to the produce any good to this country; for if defraying the common necessary expences. victory was not to be the means, I thought He said the ministers were unjustly ac- defeat might have been. But whether cused, when they were reproached with victors or vanquished, according to the their want of information, for that they noble lord's declarations, we are still to had always given the best they could pro- pursue this hopeless, ruinous quarrel. cure; and that he was ready when the ge- The noble lord has talked of resources neral' voice of the House should call for it, still left. Does he think that all the to explain his own conduct; and that whe- money in this country will be given to ther we were for peace or war, the present support this ill-planned, ill-conducted, supply was absolutely necessary, as the sanguinary project? Has he told the men must be, supposing a cessation of country what benefits are to arise from the arms, conducted home.
success of his plans? No, Sir, he has not ; The Resolutions were then agreed to. but I will venture to pronounce then, that After which,
if he was to succeed to the extent of his Mr. Fox moved for « Copies of all In- wishes, no one man in this country could structions, and other Papers, relative to ever obtain the return of a single guinea, the expedition from Canada, under lieu- for all the blood and treasure which has tenant general Burgoyne; and also, a copy been already so profusely lavished away
in this very unnatural contest. Let the service, I think it would, in the present
The situation of this country the fourth of the American war, exceeds then may be pronounced to be truly de- by 140,0001. the charge for the year 1759, plorable, though I hope some means may and is greater than any grant ever made be yet thought of to extract us from our for any one year except 1761, when every present difficulties, even to the satisfaction resource of this kingdom was strained to of all parties. I have no personal dislike an extent unknown before, and incredible to any gentleman in administration. I even to ourselves; and yet the charge for wish them all well, but I wish them well 1761 exceeds the present by no more than out of their offices. May I be allowed to 40,0001. I hope we shall seriously invesmake a proposal, which I think might be tigate the cause of this monstrous charge. very advantageous to them and to the Sir Charles Bunbury said, he had formerly public?
been an advocate for lenient measures and a There is an establishment in the sea reconciliation with the colonies; every day service calculated to support superan- shewed him more and more the necessity nuated officers, or who wish to decline of adopting the advice he had presumed to further service. Now, if an establishment give. ‘America was invincible; the exof that sort could take place, and an ap- perience of every campaign added credit pointment made for ministers who have to the assertion: our resources have been proved themselves unable and unfit for sounded, and sorry he was to say they were
not unfathomable: excessive sums are | This was a remedy which he flattered him. borrowed, and the whole art of financier self would still be able to effect a cure. ing ransacked, to find out means of raising He alluded to Mr. Rigby's assertion in the necessary sums to pay the interest. the committee last night, that he had been As a country gentleman, he called on his invariably consistent in his political tenets brethren of ibat denomination to interpose for 13 years; for his part, he was of opiand serve their country; their passive ac- nion with the author of Tristram Shandy, quiescence to every new burden had made that what in a good cause should be called sir Robert Walpole say, that the landed perseverance, in a bad one deserves no gentlemen were like the flocks upon their other name than that of obstinacy ; it was plains; they suffered themselves to be possible, that the right hon. gentleman shorn without resistance; while the trad- might have been wrong for a great part of ing part of the nation resembled the boar, the time he mentioned ; in his opinion, who would not let a bristle be plucked he certainly was wrong; he therefore did from his back without making the whole not think he had a right to plume himself parish echo with his complaints: what so much upon his consistency. He did with specious pretences and fair words to not approve of the Solicitor General's enthe one, and treasury acorns, with which deavours to rouse the spirit of the nation the other was fed, the minister had effec- to a further exertion, when it seemed altually silenced the hog, and imposed upon ready to have been screwed up to the the honest simplicity and patience of the highest key, without bringing us a jot sheep.
nearer to a conquest of America. He let What America would do now, he would fall some expressions rather injurious to not take upon him to say; but he could the consistency of general Conway's poassure the House from the authority of a litics. dear, but unfortunate relation of his, the He said, so long as there was a prospect unhappy general Lee, that the Americans of success or any real advantage from would, at the beginning of the dispute, conquest, if we should prevail, he suphave been perfectly satisfied to submit inported the measures of administration ; every respect to Great Britain, provided but when it was acknowledged to be imthey should be at liberty to raise, by what practicable, hy the very minister who had means they thought proper, any sum which the conduct of our American affairs ; and the parliament of England should demand that the noble lord owned, that if we of them. He could not tell whether they should subdue America it would not be would make such an offer now: but he worth keeping; he could no longer, conwould put them to the test ; and, by offer-sistent with his conscience, vote for a coning them peace, employ the only possible tinuance of measures which could be promeans to subdue them; and that was by ductive of no good; and would, if per. dividing them: their independence was sisted in, most probably bring on ruin and carried in the Congress but by a majority destruction. The contest with America of two; it was therefore probable, that a struck him in this light before he heard it strong party might be brought over, by acknowledged by the noble lord. Towards granting them honourable terms: etiquette, the conclusion of the last session, he was punctilio, and every consideration of that persuaded of the truth of what he now kind should be given up: the public good said; and as soon as he was, he most earshould overbalance every motive of that nestly recommended peace. He now did nature. The state physicians had em. the same; and sincerely wished, that some ployed wrong remedies to cure them; they person in his Majesty's confidence, having prescribed blisters, and set their patients the salvation of his country at heart, would mad: for his part, as he was but an hum- advise him to consider of the impending ble apothecary in politics, he would apply calamities, which threatened this country, a healing plaister. It might be objected, should the presentruinous system be longer that, perhaps, they would not bear it: he pursued. would in that case make use both of per- Mr. George Onslow insisted, that it was suasion and force. The ingredients of his better to lose America by arms than by plaister were a repeal of all the laws treaty; negociation would put an end to enacted against them since the beginning any further claim, while even a total defeat of the disturbances; and a positive re- did not preclude us from renewing the war nunciation on the part of the parliament to whenever we should find ourselves able to any claim of right to tax the colonies. prosecute it with a probability of success : [VOL. XIX.]
the consequence of American indepen. said he, to hear why such quantities of dence must be the loss of Newfoundland, ordnance, and such numbers of men, were and all our sugar islands; for by their alli- wanted. Some person in the cabinet must ance with France and Spain, their united -shall inform me. I will not leave this Aeets in that part of the world would be seat, por depart from this House, till I am much too powerful for any force we could satisfied. I think I shall be excused by keep there. He voted against the repeal my country, if I speak again and again on of the Stamp Act; because he was of opi- the subject--if I trangress the point of nion, that we had a right to tax America ; order, and urge my suit by many repetiand he was satisfied that the country gen- tions. I shall think myself within the best tlemen were so thoroughly convinced of point of order, if I adhere to the interest the supremacy of parliament over the co-of my constituents, and not suffer their lonies, that they would never have con pockets to be picked for moonshine. I sented to a repeal of the Stamp Act, if promise you, Mr. Speaker, I will not go to it had not been accompanied with the supper, nor regard order, till I am satisfied. Declaratory Act. He did not hesitate What! the enormous sum of 683,0001. for to affirm, that the rebellion in America ordnance, 140,0001. more than was voted was fomented, nourished, and supported for the year 1759, when we were at war by the inflammatory speeches, and other with France and Spain, and had armies in means, used by the incendiaries in that America, in the West Indies, and over all House; but he trusted the nation, not- Europe, and immense fleets full of cannon withstanding ah the disasters which had over all the world, in every sea, and in happened, was still equal to the chastise- every climate! Is it not strange and unment of all
its foreign and domestic foes. accountable ? Ought we not to inquire Mr. T. Townshend insisted upon know. into this new proof of ministerialism? In ing why so immense a sum was necessary, 1759, we employed 250,000 men. This and he hoped some gentlemen in office year we have 89,000, and yet a greater would explain it in a clear and distinct sum by 140,0001. is wanted to supply the
He likewise observed, that we ordnance ! Common sense revolts at the had taken the most effectual method to idealaughs at the absurdity. He then drive the Americans into the arms of went into a long disquisition, and in proFrance and Spain, by the prohibitory, and gressive order enumerated the many meae other cruel and oppressive laws we had sures of government that had induced him passed. They were now no less formidable to be consistent in abominating the war; at sea than land. Their navy had thrown and concluded with calling again for inthe capital of our sister kingdom into the formation. utmost confusion. Liverpool was threat- Mr. Langlois said, one great reason of ened; Glasgow in danger ; and the very the advance was, that the train were actchannel of St. George saw their ships ing in a hostile country in every sense of ride with impunity, nay triumph, along the word, so that every equipment was our coasts.
prepared and forwarded from hence at a Mr. Burke rose, and after expressing greater expence than usual. his surprize at the enormity of the charge, Mr. Burke was obliged to the hon. gen. told the House he was the representative tleman for his explanation. America was of one of the first counties, and most po. an hostile country; and our troops met pulous, commercial town, except London, the most absolute hostility ever known; in the kingdom. He believed his consti- but that was no reason. He wanted to be tuents paid one tenth part of the supplies informed particularly, why such equipgranted by this House; he therefore ments were necessary, and why so many thought it his duty to search into the rea- men were there! sons of the supply called for; and, as this Sir Charles Frederick said, that sending appeared so enormous and unreasonable, the artillery companies in three different 60 unprecedented and unaccountable, he bodies, to serve under as many generals in would have the most particular informa- different places, had been attended with tion—he would be acquainted with every double the expence of what would have item-he would know every reason for been necessary, had they served in one the grant—he should consider himself a corps : that the foreign troops in British thief, without interest, if he permitted his pay in the last war, found themselves in constituents' pockets to be picked without ammunition, and that was the reason why being told for what or wherefore. I want, the estimate in 1759 was not more than double what it appears to have been, as landed and commercial interests of this that was an estimate only for ordnance country, afford any arguments to withhold stores for the British troops.
your hand, now is the time to attend to Lord North said, that though we had them. 250,000 men in pay in 1759, yet the ord- To give you in one view the amount of nance estimate was made only for the the American war hitherto, with the suBritish forces, which were only a very peradded expences of only one more camsmall part of that number. That the sub-paign, will make a stupendous total. Such sidies paid to the German princes included a total, as if the House had been apprized the ammunition, stores, &c. and were pro of it but two years ago, I think the most vided for apart and independent of the bigotted advocate for the war would have ordnance estimate: that he had not ex. hesitated. But it was a master-piece of pected such a motion would have been craft in the administration, to lead us on made, or he would have examined the es- insensibly, concealing from the public the timates of 1759; that he would take the fatal consequences, till we were plunged first opportunity to do it, and imagined in too far to retreat. The House must upon inquiry he should be found to be well remember at the opening of the first right in his opinion. There were a thou- session of this parliament, which was the sand other circumstances, which consti- beginning of the war, that a 3s. land-tax tuted the difference; but the chief was, was voted before Christmas, to take off the the including in the one, and the excluding alarms of the landed gentlemen. Your from the other, the expence of the German seamen were reduced to 16,000 men, artillery. We paid for them at both which is the lowest establishment for properiods; but in 1759, the charge, though found peace. The minister amused the in effect essentially the same, was placed public in that session with paying off a to a separate account. He would, how. million of the national debt. All this was ever, compare the estimates, which would done to lead you insensibly on, by false enable him to give a more particular and pretences, till it was too late to retreat. full explanation on a future day.
Unfortunately, the minister obtained his Mr. Burke was happy, that he had set end : the deception was universally encou. the premier to study; and should de- raged. Those who would have advertised pend upon his honour, for a satisfactory you of these deceptions, and of your dan
gers, were browbeaten and discounteThe Resolutions were then agreed to. nanced; even a patient hearing was de
nied to them. In this particular departDebnte in the Commons on Mr. Hart- ment of the revenue, I have made it my ley's Motion relative to the Enormous Ec- business every year, to lay a true and acpences of the American War.] Dec. 5. Mr. curate state before you, in opposition to David Hartley said :
those premeditated and treacherous fallaSir; the great importance of the sub- cies which have been imposed upon the ject, upon which I shall offer some opi- House by the authority of the administranions to the House this day, will, I hope, tion. I should think myself unworthy of plead my apology, for the trouble which I any farther confidence of this House, if I am going to give them. I wish to call their had been the author of all those fallacies, most serious attention to the extravagant which have brought this country to the and boundless expences of the American brink of ruin. But, Sir, I have never war, which after all is an impracticable deceived you, nor have I offered any idle project, as well as unjust, and universally tales or visionary calculations to the House. destructive. I take this early part of the Your Journals will bear me testimony. session to state the expences of the war, The superior authority of the minister's if it should continue another campaign, opinion in this House overbore mine. that you may be apprized in time. What Upon his authority they gave a negative is called the budget day is usually at the to those estimates and calculations, which, end of the session ; when all measures of however, in the result have proved true. the year are decided upon; it is then too That they have proved true, this House late to consider of the expences; measures and the nation now know to their cost. I that are predetermined must be supported, once more offer myself, in humble defercost what they will. But if the enormous ence to their wisdom, but claiming some expence of this fatal war, and all the confidence in their opinion. I say to you, rainous consequences which await the now; Trust no longer those false prophets,