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to further detail, with the state of the quences; and would probably be made army in America, he could not give a amenable at the bar of the public. He silent vote when he heard the deplorable concluded, by observing, that if parliament state of the navy so ably and so fully continued to disgrace itself
, by upholding proved ; and what was still more to be such an administration, it would necessawondered at, when the noble lord at the rily fall into contempt; the certain consehead of the Admiralty substantially ac- quence of which would be, national ruin. knowledged the facts, though he endea- The Earl of Sandwich said, the number voured to palliate them, or evade the of frigates, if he said they were 90, which conclusions, which they evidently admitted. he did not doubt, as the noble duke It was the most reprehensible conduct seemed to recollect his particular expresimaginable, that ministers had adopted, sion so well, what he meant was, including in the course of the enquiry. In the every other service but that which lord former part of it, when the military force Howe was concerned in ; and he was clear of this island was proved to be very short that he was justified in saying so; for of the lowest peace establishment, the taking the number in the West-Indies and language from the other side, was, “ What Europe, they amounted to nearly 90. our internal defence may be, is of very Here his lordship said, he must have relittle consequence. It is our navy we are course to the information, which he so to depend upon in the day of trial; it is often pressed on their lordships' memory, our great national bulwark; it is invin relative to the state of the British navy, cible, and superior to any thing our na. when he was called to preside at the Adtural enemies can bring against us. We miralty-board. He said, the ships in the are able to cope with the whole united heat of the war, being built in a hurry, of force of the House of Bourbon. The more green timber, suddenly rotted, and were France and Spain know of our navy, the rendered useless ; which, with the scarcity better : : a thorough knowledge of its state of timber, rendered vain almost, all hopes is the best means of securing us against of being able to put our navy once more the designs of our enemies." I recollect upon a respectable footing. However, when a noble earl (Chatham), seemed to having surmounted that obstacle, he turned entertain even a doubt of the boastings of his next attention to the guard ships, the noble earl at the head of the Admiralty, which instead of being of any use, were his lordship was almost hooted out of the become a burden and disgrace to the ser. House. What do we hear this day? That vice: rotten, useless vessels, not half manall those doubts were well founded; that ned, and half the crews unfit for service, all those boastings proceeded from misre. | in case of an emergency. He saw all presentation. The noble earl (Gower) this, and determined to turn this source has told you so, in so many words. He of national weakness and disgrace into a has put a negative on the resolutions, not source of national strength. Instead, because they are not founded on truth, therefore, of wasting the public treasure, but because they would be an avowal of to no purpose, he put the guard-ships upon the naval insufficiency of this country. a respectable footing. He ordered them So, when the nation is proved not to be to be always in a condition and state of in a proper state of military defence, you repair, fit for immediate service; he in. are told, your navy is your sole depen- creased their number to 17, and had three dence. When that is enquired into, you quarters, or nearly three quarters, of their are again told, its weakness must not be complements of able prime sailors, always exposed !
aboard; and managed matters so, that He reminded the noble earl (lord Sand- with the aid of a few days press, he bad it wich) when upon a former occasion, the always in his power to send 20 ships of want of frigates, which he now confessed, the line to sea at a very short notice. His was objected to, at the opening of the lordship adverted to something, which fell preceding session, as 87 of them was said from the noble earl (of Bristol) in a former to be then in America, his lordship re- debate, whose professional abilities he plied, “ that we could, and would have highly extolled ; as importing that he 87, or 90 more, to replace them.” On would not trust himself aboard the ship this ground, as well as the uniform lan- (the Queen) destined for him. He could guage of the noble earl, by which he spe- assure the noble earl, that he need not cially pledged himself to that House, his be afraid to trust himself aboard that ship; lordship was answerable for the conse- for notwithstanding what he might have heard to the contrary, she was completely and suffering them to be run down, to save equipped for sea, and every way ready themselves, for not being capable of giving for immediate service. If however, his proper instructions. I will therefore menlordship still retained any doubt, con- tion those two brave oflicers, the Howes; cerning her condition, he would soon give better, nor more disinterested men, never orders to have another vessel ready for served the King. How are they pulled to him to hoist his flag aboard.
pieces, without cause! Had I not expeThe Earl of Bristol. I should not have rience of the cruel fate of a great, and I risen again to trouble your lordships, but will say, brave admiral, that of admiral that I have been so applied to, and that Byng, who was sent out with a fleet so I think it necessary to say something upon insufficient for the purpose, and who fell it, late as it is. But, my lords, as I shall a sacrifice to screen an infamous ministry? always consider myself as last, so shall My lords, I will be no scape-goat for any I suspend answering that part of the noble administration ; let me go out with proper earl's speech (lord Sandwich) until I have ships, properly manned, and I will defy all wiped off the imputation which his lordship ministers whatever, and will be answerable unjustly has thrown upon as great and for the rest. good an officer, as any in the world; to The Committee divided on the question whom this country is so much obliged, that the chairman leave the chair: Conand whom nothing his lordship or any tents, 64; Not-contents, 26. The House other man can say, can stain. I mean lord being resumed, the Resolutions were all Hawke. The noble lord tells us, when put and negatived. he came to the Board of Admiralty, he found the guard-ships all rotten, fitted with Debate in the Lords on the American rotten stores, and not kept as if intended Conciliatory Bills.] March 5. Previous for service. My lords, this is such an im to the order of the day being read, putation on that great man's character, as The Duke of Grafton rose.
He said I never will admit of. I had the honour he must trouble their lordships with a few of sitting at that board, at that time, with words, relative to a matter exceedingly the present first lord of it: and I never important for the House to be aware of, understood that those were the reasons before they began a debate upon
the Bills for changing those guard-ships. Those which had passed the other House, and ships had been thought long enough in upon which the fate of this country matecommission, and that others would be more rially depended. He had a question to proper ships, and might be better fitted put to the lords in office, which it was as such; but the great reason of all was, their duty to reply to without reserve, that many of the captains had been their and which, from the respect he entertained full three years, and that some practices for their lordships, he should hold himself
into some of them, which was blameable, were he not at that particular necessary to be remedied, by paying them moment to agitate. His grace then said, off
. But this was no more a fault in lord that a hon. kinsman of his (Mr. Fox) Hawke, than if such were to happen now had received information, that the court in some of the ships; and that the noble of France had actually signed a treaty of lord now at the board were to change the commerce with the deputies of the Ame. captains, or the ships. That as to ships rican Congress; that his kinsman had of 74 guns, which his lordship says, 600 communicated that information to no men is more than a sufficient complement other person but himself, and that it had for, I can by no means acquiesce in that made so strong an impression on his mind opinion. The last war I had 650 men in from the channel through which it came, the Dragon, and which was not the largest that if the two secretaries of state, and the class of ships of that rate ; and I could whole cabinet council, were to declare the have dispensed very well with fifty more. contrary, they could not do away that conAs to what his lordship has said of the viction which he felt of its being matter of Queen; I shall be always ready to serve fact. His kinsman had in the other House my king and country when I am wanted; of Parliament put the question to the mibut I will ever persist in my determination nister of that place, who had given an not to go aboard any ship so manned. I evasive answer, but the matter was of too abhor the present mode of ministers and important a nature, and at that time too their hirelings whispering away the cha- immediately critical, to be passed over in racters of their admirals and generals; silence. Some explanation was due to [VOL. XIX.)
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their lordships, previous to their entering treaty being either in contemplation or into debate upon Bills, the effect of which existence. altogether depended on the drift of that The Duke of Grafton said, the noble explanation; he therefore hoped one or viscount had not explicitly replied to his other of the secretaries of state would rise, question; that the noble viscount took is and give their lordships that information up at the time that it was mentioned by on the subject, which they had an un- his hon. kinsman in the lower House; doubted right to be masters of. If the that many days had elapsed since, more information was true, it was absurd to in- than sufficient for ministers to have ascersult parliament, with the appearance of tained the fact; that if they had not got at reconciliation, that was no longer practi- the truth of a matter so exceedingly imcable. If ministers replied in the affirma- portant to be known at this pressing tive, they were culpable in the highest crisis, it must appear to all the world that degree, in concealing intelligence of so the King of Great-Britain was served by important a nature from parliament; and the most shamefully ignorant and uninunder the cover of that concealment, lead- formed ministry that ever undertook the ing it into measures of futility and public management of public affairs. His
grace dishonour. If they reply in the negative, again enforced the idea of its being true their conduct was still, if possible, more that such a treaty had been signed, and reprehensible, their incapacity more glar- urged the King's servants to tell the House ing, in being entirely wanting in that spe- all they knew respecting it. cies of inforination, which it was the duty Viscount Weymouth declared, that the of their stations to procure. His grace noble duke, by mentioning his hon. kinsdesired the House to recollect, that it was man having put the question in the lower on the 5th of March, he put this question House, naturally obliged him to recur to to the King's ministers.
that point of time. That he had precisely Viscount Weymouth said, the noble and plainly stated a fact, namely, that he duke had himself assigned a sufficient rea- really knew not a word of any such treaty son for the silence of every lord in office, having been signed. by declaring, that if they and the whole The order of the day for the second cabinet denied the fact, and that in ever so reading of the American Conciliatory Bills, explicit a manner, he would not be con- was then read. vinced, nor give up his belief of it. Re- The Earl of Radnor said, this country spect, however, to their lordships, and that was wrong in the out-set, and hitherto duty which he always conceived, he was continued obstinately to persevere in imbound to discharge, by giving them every policy and injustice. What the effect of possible satisfaction respecting all sorts of the present Bills might be, he did not prequestions in his power to answer, and fit tend to determine. We had no right to to be answered, would not suffer him to tax unrepresented America. The idea remain silent; he had, indeed, heard of was no less absurd and unjust, than the the treaty from out-door report, and he event had hitherto_proved disgraceful had heard that an hon. gentleman in ano- and unprosperous. Englishmen, as they ther place had asked the minister the carried their rights with them, on their question, and received a satisfactory an- first migration, so they retained the swer. With regard to what the duke had spirit, resolution, and firmness of Englishthrown out, the most convincing way of men, in bravely asserting and mainreply would be not to argue upon it, but taining those rights. The constitution to come immediately to the point, for declared, in so many words, that no Eng. which reason he would fully and fairly lishman can be taxed but by his own speak to it; he did therefore, in the plain- consent. It has been the language of all est and most precise manner, assure their ages, since the first foundation of the molordships, that he knew not of any such narchy. The most weak, cruel, despotic, treaty having been signed or entered into, and ambitious monarchs have acceded to between the court of France and the de- this doctrine, as a first principle, not diputies of the Congress, and he hoped their rectly to be controverted, though they lordships would not fail to remember, that have often attempted to evade it. They it was on the 5th of March likewise, that acknowledged the general rule, and never he stood up in his place, and declared he ventured further than to state exceptions knew nothing of any such treaty, nor had to it. Apply this reasoning to the claims any authentic information of any such of this country, and see whether they can
stand an instant; certainly not, The spect to their several measures. Amongst mode adopted was ingenious and plausible. the most leading of those, were the Acts The King, by his prerogative, pretends to of coercion, passed during the four last no such right; he is no farther concerned years; and, as the epitome of the whole, than as one of the branches of the legisla- that infamous Bill the Quebec Act, by ture in asserting it. _By whom are sub- which the bloody and senseless supersti. jects to be taxed ? By parliament alone. tions of the church of Rome were estaIf, then, parliament is solely vested with blished in so wide an extent of the British the power of levying taxes, who shall deny empire; and our Protestant colonies, as it that power, or refuse to pay those taxes? were, hemmed in on every side by a peoBut here it is clearly perceivable, that a ple inimical to them on account of reliconstitutional power is misapplied in the gion. This preference given to strangers most gross manner, and that, too, on an and Papists, who, by the Act alluded to, idea the most preposterous that ever en- were rendered rivals to them, though no tered into the mind of man.
other provocation had been given, was America, say the friends of this argument, sufficient, in his opinion, to alienate the is represented in England; that is, the affections of the colonies from the parent name of representation is held out, while no state ; but it was no more than a leading essential quality of representation is pre- feature in that system of despotism, inserved. The repeal of the Stamp Act, how- troduced into our counsels since the comever, put an end to this solemn mockery of mencement of the present reign. A every appearance of common sense and system designed to procure submission in common justice; virtual representation every instance in which executive governwas given up; and the next year a more ment was concerned. A submission in rational, though an equally unjust claim, religious, as well as civil matters, and all was set up, the curious distinction between made subservient to the will of the go. internal and external taxation. The su- vernors, not the happiness, prosperity, or premacy of this country, the monopoly of confidence of the governed. Absolute the trade of America, were to be secured ; supremacy, and absolute submission, were but by what means? By port-duties, for the great objects of the reigning politics the purpose of raising a revenue. 'Here, for some years past; but, thank God! it is plain, the principle was the same, that system, however seemingly permathough the mode was varied. Who could nent, was at the eve of a sudden dissolusay, if you laid on one duty and it had tion. Its fate was on the point of being been acquiesced in, but you might lay on determined: and while he was up, he a hundred, and that to any extent, and on could not avoid congratulating their lordwhat commodities you pleased? The ships and his country, that in the midst of principle of both was equally erroneous ; their calamity, they had the consolation to no alternative remained, but that the co- reflect, that the resistance of America lonies should tax themselves, or be slaves. would be the great means of prolonging These, he said, were his sentiments from those national liberties which, in point of the beginning, as well when he had the constitutional effect, though not of form, honour of a seat in the other House, as had been nearly extinguished, and must now, and he should die in them. He was in the end have been overthrown, but for conscious that they were equally just, ex- the exalted virtues and heroic spirit of pedient, and constitutional. I protest, their brethren on the other side of the Atsaid he, I have acted throughout uprightly, lantic. He did not rise to make a perto the best of my judgment; and I appeal sonal attack upon ministers. He la. to God for the sincerity of my declarations, mented the cause of his rising in some to whom I hold myself accountable for my particulars as much as any noble lord prepublic as well as private conduct.
sent. Ministers, he presumed, may have The English constitution binds no man, been deluded or misled themselves. He farther than by his own consent; and í reproached none. If some had acted fairly apply the argument to legislation as from motives of pride or false ambition, well as taxation. His lordship, from spe- he did not accuse nor insult the m in their culative reasoning, adverted to facts; and ideal schemes of folly; they were suffi. shewed, in a variety of instances, the ciently humbled; pride had had a fall. If cruelty, folly, injustice, and even irreli- any had conceived high expectations of gious conduct of ministers. These se- conquest, it was needless to emind them veral charges he maintained, by a retro- that they had ingloriously failed." And if
revenge was the great motive of their con- they were synonimous terms. Who, then, duct, even the very persons whom they were to be the real negociators, or the inhad endeavoured to exterminate or lead in structors of those who would be appointed chains, must pity them in their present to negociate? Most assuredly those very humiliating mortified state, suing for par- ministers who had been the persecutors don at the foot of a triumphant enemy; and oppressors of America! Was it proif it was not rather a just punishment for, bable, then, that the Americans would having suffered so black a passion to be treat, or hold any communication with one of the leading motives of their con- 'commissioners thus instructed ? If any duct. On the whole, he thought, that man could believe it, he pitied his crethe concessions now made, considering dulity. Can the Americans expect justhe inglorious circumstances which ac- tice or good faith, from the very persons companied them, would terminate as in- who have heaped upon them the most uneffectually towards procuring reconcilia- heard of cruelties, and unprecedented option, as they were every way disgraceful. pressions; who have acted with a perfidy
The Duke of Richmond called upon unparalleled, and with an insolence not to some of the King's servants to explain to be endured ? the House the reasons of their silence, The noble duke read the Declaration of and why they had abandoned all their American Independence by the Congress; former high-sounding terms of the su- and after commenting on it paragraph by premacy of parliament, and unconditional paragraph, appealed to ministers, whether submission, and now came to sue to Ame- they meant to concede the several points rica for peace? Such a silence, he ob- : therein set forth, or subscribe to the geserved, was unprecedented in the annals neral assertions therein contained ? This of parliament.
Declaration asserted, that the King was a The Earl of Suffolk replied, that he did tyrant; complained that troops had been not hear any thing specially urged against sent and quartered among them without the Bills; when he did, it would be time their consent; that the Admiralty courts enough for him to combat the objection. were a grievance; that Acts suspending
The Duke of Richmond rose again, he those of their respective. assemblies had said, to deprive the noble earl of the be- been passed in the British parliament; nefit of this apology. He had little more that the King having acted tyrannically, expectations of peace being effected by they had justly withdrawn themselves from the present Bills, than from any of the his allegiance; that the judges enjoying preceding measures adopted by ministers. their offices during pleasure, were thereby He was convinced, that nothing solid was rendered dependent on the crown, &c. In intended; that the Bills were framed with short, his grace, at the end of every sena design to divide America on one side, tence, put the question to ministers, wheand to keep up appearances with those ther in any, all, or which instance, they who supported the measures of govern- would instruct their commissioners to asment here at home. He did not assert sent, acknowledge, or ratify, on the part this on any vague, speculative imagination, of the king and parliament, those several that ministers, though they had changed assertions and claims? their measures, still retained their former After condemning that part of the Desentiments; he reasoned from the Bills claration, which branded the King as a ty, themselves. The preamble of the com- rant, for whose virtues, he said, he entermissioners Bill was the strongest evidence tained the highest opinion, his grace proof the truth of what he asserted. It said, ceeded to shew the reasons why so indethat all the troubles had originated in mis- cent and disrespectful a language was representation-of what? Of the very adopted by the Congress. This was no doctrines contained in the Bill itself, other but the very improper and unconstiwhich maintained the supremacy of this tutional use which had been made of the country in its fullest extent. He said, King's name from the beginning, and prethough there existed no other objection vious to the present unhappy contest. to the measure, the vesting in the crown He affirmed that this was evident, in the appointment of the commissioners was almost every measure which ministers sufficient to defeat the whole scheme, al. thought fit to adopt. Out of a great lowing government to be perfectly sin- number, he should select two, and submit cere. It was ridiculous, in this instance, to their lordships, whether the charge was to separate the crown from ministers: well founded. The first was in the circu.