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Mr. Hippisley Core said, he had lately left France, and was perfectly convinced a war would very soon break out between Great Britain and that country; that France was arming with the utmost alertness; that the troops were marching in large bodies to the sea-ports; and that every thing wore the appearance of military preparation. Lord North denied this ; and declared that the court of Versailles had checked her ardour, and had ordered the troops to march back from the sea-ports to the interior provinces. Admiral Keppel took occasion to say, that if he had the honour to be employed in the service of his country, he rather wished to have a small fleet well fitted and completely manned, than a large number of ships badly equipped. The previous question was put, and carried without a division.
March 12. Mr. Alderman JWilkes made his annual motion, respecting the Middlesex Election. The question was called for, when the numbers were, Ayes 36: Noes 88.
Debate on Mr. James Luttrell’s Motion ..for an Instruction to the American Commissioners respecting the Removal of obmorious Ministers, &c.] Mr. James Luttrell. The subject which I think it my duty to enter upon, is certainly of importance beyond my abilities to do justice to : but I beg leave to offer my sentiments to this House as a proof, that not only the first and most distinguished of its members, but even down to myself, are equally willing to exert themselves to the best of their abilities, hoping to apply effectual remedies to those evils, which have brought on this nation a crisis of such great danger. That it would always have been more honourable and wise for Great Britain to have offered properterms of peacetothecolonies, than .. held out unconditional submission, I believe every person will admit, who is convinced by this war, that no names, however high sounding, whether the divine institution of prerogative, supremacy of parliament, or dignity of the nation, can sanctify to a free people acts of injustice, tyranny, and oppression. W. respect to the conciliatory plan, that it o have been expedient to have offered such a plan some months ago, nobody can reasonably deny: but how far it is in itself adequate to obtain peace under
the circumstances of the present times, remains to be proved. I sincerely wish it success, and convinced of the ruinous expence and fatal consequences attending the war, I was happy to see any plan brought into parliament, which might tend to declare a disposition towards peace on the part of Great Britain: but I cannot give credit to ministers who seem resolved to make the good which parliament and the nation might agree to, totally impracticable; ministers who, conscious that they are an obstacle to termis, however adequate, proving acceptable in America, are capable of setting higher value on the emoluments of their offices, and gratification of private ambition, than on the peace and prosperity of the empire. For, Sir, we may debate and vote as we please, Americans, not us, are to decide the fate of the conciliatory plan; and undoubtedly they will not only take into their consideration the fairness or artfulness of your proposals for peace, but the men they are to trust to for performance and future consistency of conduct; and let these ministers be ever so much flattered by the extraordinary support they have met with here, they undoubtedly are the men who persecuted and insulted America; therefore, Sir, by what madness can Americans be supposed to conceive that men so rewarded and in favour for having broke through their charters, and trampled on their just rights, will never dare in future to break the faith of any treaty, or by undue influence here attempt to violate the most sacred pledge of legislature? May not America receive every proposal, whilst such men are kept in power, as an insult 2 May not America conceive that now a blow is meditated at liberty through state craft, which force of arms could not effect? Or how can such a wavering ministry be depended on ? who appearing attached to no fixed principles of public justice, can be bound by no system of policy or maxims of government, changing the object of the war with every western breeze, and now assuming the borrowed plumage of the peaceful dove, flattering themselves America will not discern the cruel vultures that have preyed on her. Such ministers may deceive themselves, but to all the world must appear as inadequate to peace, as they have proved themselves incompetent to War. We can only hope, Sir, that America will not think it necessary to guard against an inferior and secondary power, a certain
description of men who appear to act un- jesty; it is rather what men and what meader the responsible ministers, but who sures, can save the rest of America ? But have held out this olive branch in a most supposing the case not totally desperate; suspicious and equivocal manner. I mean, if ruin or separation is not unavoidable, that sort of Janus politician, who has one yet surely it is at least a crisis when the face towards America, another towards measures to prevent it ought to be sent out his Majesty ; one countenance expressing with such an unquestionable appearance peace, harmony and unanimity, and ano- of sincerity, that it may be received as a ther disfigured with the ugly passions of proof of his Majesty's affection and love false pride, hatred and revenge; one voice of justice towards his subjects, rather than to vote in favour of persecuted America, as an assent extorted through fear and another to talk vehemently of insulted, necessity; extorted from ministers openly degraded, powerful Great Britain. Such obstinate and cruel, till disappointed in undecisive support can do service to no their arbitrary views abroad and become country, and I trust they will prove the jealous of their rivals at home. Perhaps last, the least in power; for sooner shall the noble lord in the blue ribbon' expects the two faces of Janus meet, than Ame to be an exception, because he formerly rica and Britons through their mediation. I proposed a conciliatory plan. As to the
I regret, Sir, that parliament was not noble lord's heart, I believe it has never sooner allowed to enquire into the state of been consulted in the cabinet; and as to the nation; for I think that inquiry ought his conciliatory plan, it appeared to the to have been finished, as a solid foundation Americans indeed more plausible than upfor a treaty of peace, as I trust the object conditional submission, but not more exof that inquiry is to redress grievances, by pressive of peaceful intentions; for the removing all obstacles, whether men or theory of parliament's desisting from taxameasures, in order to prevent a perse- tion as long as the American tribute should verance in inevitable ruin. When ministers amount to as much money as a vote of this are found guilty, surely to correct vice by House should require, was a mockery of cherishing it is a new experiment; and freedom, and the practice of exacting perhaps a ministry, wlio by their present such a tribute by force of arms, tyranny conduct bear fatal testimony of their past and oppression. ruinous and bloody errors, may be thought We know that ministers must govern more in character as patrons of the sa- the nation ; the duty of parliament is to vages, than examples of British integrity, see they do it honestly and wisely, or to humanity and virtue, worthy of American endeavour to remove them from his Maconfidence and esteem. Some, indeed, jesty's councils. It is likewise the duty pretend, that it is inconsistent with our of parliament to support and look up to duty to shew the weak and perilous situa- men who have more honourable pretention of this country. Good God, Sir, was sions to the confidence and esteem of the there ever an inquiry into the state of the sovereign and the people: in such men it nation, because ministers were virtuous is meritorious to seek places of trust; for and Great Britain in prosperity ? Amidst the crime cannot consist in holding a puball the glories of the last war, who would lic office; the vice is in employing the have moved an inquiry into the state of power to bad purposes. Lord Chatham the nation ? It can only be called for when was a truer patriot for having availed great calamity requires immediate redress. himself of that power which enabled him Such is now the situation of public affairs : by his wisdom and virtue to raise his and it is, therefore, our duty to open the country to the highest pitch of glory and eyes of our sovereign to misfortunes, in prosperity, than if he had indolently conwhich he is not less a sufferer than his tented himself with the duty of a private people, and to convince him that those member; and it is reasonable to suppose, ministers who lost his dominions, by endea that his Majesty may find able, vigilant, vouring to make the prerogative of the and experienced statesmen, capable of crown incompatible with the happiness governing with infinite more steadiness of the subject, have proved theniselves and judgment, more for his Majesty's hoequally an enemy to both.
nour and peace of mind, upon sounder If the treaty with France has taken principles of public justice, more likely to place, 1 fear it is not a question that thir- be confided in by Great Britain and by teen provinces, and the hearts of a brave America, than these ministers who have and powerful people, are lost to his Ma- lost one half the empire and nearly ruined
the other half. It was long, too long, I most essential claims of this country upon thrown out to the public, that those who | America, that they will not be indecently contended in parliament for equal liberty tenacious of objects which are certainly of and equal happiness in every part of the infinitely less importance, though not less British empire, were an American faction: | necessary to be relinquished, if parliament whilst peace was attainable on such terms, bope to keep or to acquire some friends in ministers were accustomed to allow that America, or conceive that for less than America could only depend on such a independence any part of the 13 provinces faction for performance; a faction, Sir, will now submit to make peace with Great who still must have the credit of not being | Britain: “ That an humble Address be preapt to give up their opinions of public sented to his Majesty, to beseech his Ma. justice, nor affect to change their princi- jesty that he will be graciously pleased to ples; a faction, who warned these minis- instruct the Commissioners, whom his Maters over and over again, not to delay a jesty may name for the purposes of carrytreaty till such time as it should be ne- ing into execution the Act, entitled, 'An cessary to exchange unconditional sub. Act to enable his Majesty to appoint mission in America for unconditional sub Commissioners, with sufficient powers to mission in Great Britain ; and most of treat, consult, and agree upon, the means whom I believe still look with astonishi- l' of quieting the Disorders now subsisting ment at persons who seem to persevere in in certain colonies, plantations, and propersuading Majesty, that nothing is in- , vinces of North America,' that in case glorious for a king to be reduced to con- | the said commissioners shall find that the sent to, except to change his ministers. continuance in office of any public minister,
By every intelligence from America, or ministers of the crown of Great Britain, and by the nature of man, I think it ap- shall be found to impress such jealousies pears that America is not blind to past or mistrust in one or more of the revolted injuries. I think it is evident, that these colonies, as may tend materially to obministers are odious, mistrusced, and ab- struct the happy work of peace and sinhorred there; and from that I infer, that cere conciliation between Great Britain the Americans will refuse to enter into any and her colonies, that the commissioners negotiation with the commissioners, if such | may be enabled to promise, in bis Maministers are to remain in power. Then, jesty's name, the earliest removal of such what will be the use of the conciliatory minister or ministers from his Majesty's plan, even suppose it to be ever so perfect councils.” Sir, is it not reasonable to believe the Ame. / Mr. J. Johnstone seconded the motion. ricans will refuse to put any future con- Lord Beauchamp objected to the mode fidence in men who have already betrayed of proceeding; asserting that the only them, murdered them with savage cruelty, parliamentary one was, to address his Maabused them with the tongue of hatred, ljesty to dismiss those ministers who were and appear to be rewarded instead of odious to the people, or suspected of mal. punished for having so done? May not the | administration. But there was no occasion confidence with which such ministers for such address, as he believed the present trample on the subjects, cause them to go ministers were highly approved by the
farther than mistrust of the minister, and whole people of Great Britain and Ireland. • materially affect his Majesty's honour? Mr. Rigby said, that he liked to hear
Must we force the Americans to give us gentlemen speak out, as they now did; more fatal proofs that they are neither crying out against men, and not measures : cowards nor fools? Will they not justly that if they had not told him, they looked attribute to a want of spirit in this coun- more to men than measures, he should try, not a want of spirit in that country, nevertheless have been sure of it: that the any idea of putting future confidence in Americans respected no one set of men such a ministry? And the delay of expla- more than another, and had as soon enter nations and altercations would only tend into treaty with the present ministers, as to cement their connection with the House with those who passed the Declaratory of Bourbon, and tempt all America to be | Act. unanimous for independency. In order, ! Mr. Fox observed, that he thought, that Sir, to counteract such misfortunes as much since the time of old Cato, the doctrine of as is now possible, I shall move the fol. “ peccata omnia sunt paria" had been exlowing Address, trusting that as ministers | ploded: that he should not have thought the are grown so very liberal in giving up the hon. gentleman had so particularly been [VOL. XIX. ]
given to the maxims of that order, as impli-, of America, without their consent; but citly to adopt them; for that he himself saw that the motion tended to give up the great difference between the grievances, if honour of this nation, in its essential there were any in the Declaratory Act, points, without any possible advantages to and those which had been the cause of the ourselves. present war.
1 Mr. Aubrey said, that he believed the Sir Cecil Wray, though he wished the last hon. gentleman who spoke, might find ministry should be removed, and even re. commissioners having power of dismissing moved out of the world, for the mischiefs ministers, and that of negociating for the they had brought on this country, if it repeal of all acts whatsoever, in the same could be done legally and constitutionally, page of the Journals; that notwithstandyet opposed this motion as unconstitutional; ing what a right hon. gentleman had said, if carried, it would not effect the purposes of all sets of men being alike to the Ameintended, of promoting a conciliation with ricans, he could assert from authority, the colonies. That to remove a minister, that the Congress had repeatedly declared, it must either be on the petition of the that they never would treat with our prepeople who conceived themselves ill go- sent set of ministers, which was a strong verned or oppressed, or on the address of implication, at least, that they would treat the Houses of Parliament; but to give a with another ; that whether, indeed, they power to a part of the empire to do this did this in imitation only of the magnaniagainst the opinion of the rest (for that mous resolutions of our ministers that they the ministry had acted in conformance to would never treat with the Congress, he the opinion of the people he inferred, from could not tell; that however, as the dethe impossibility they would have had of lenda est Carthago had been a favourite prosecuting their plans if contrary to it) maxim on the Treasury-bench, when Eng. would be perfectly unprecedented, and land had the superiority, he thought it might be a most dangerous example to fu might be reasonably expected, that the turity; as on every disgust in our own do. cry of the Americans would, in return, be minions, every ambassador to foreign parts at least the dismission of our ministers; might negociate away the undoubted con- that policy directed us to take every step to stitutional rights of the executive power. regain the affections of the Americans, but
Nor did he think it would be attended that it could not be hoped for, while our with any good consequence, in respect to affairs were entrusted to those hands by the treaty now to be negociated with the which their country had been ravaged, colonies, if they entered into a treaty; and their friends and relations put to the what they would expect would be good sword. What reliance would the Ameterms, and good security for the perform ricans put in the most pacific and most ance of them. That" he apprehended / amicable declarations, when uttered by America would demand better terms for those mouths who had hitherto never herself when treating with her most talked of any thing less than checking the avowed enemies, than she might from growth of the colonies, which he took to those whose general sentiments had been be only a milder and modester expression in favour of her proceedings; but that a for what they afterwards, in fact, atremoval, perhaps temporary, of any mi-tempted, the starving and extirpating nister, could give no security for the per- them. That it was with the concurrence formance of them. Had the motion gone of this ministry that lord Hillsborough not only to the removal, but to the utter pledged the faith of parliament, as well exclusion, of all those who had poured as the honour of his sovereign, that no alpoison into the ears of Majesty, with an Iteration should be made in the system of appointment of men, and adoption in the taxation : a promise, which, as soon as it King of different principles, some security | had served the purpose of allaying the dismiglit be desired from her ; but that the contents of America, they no longer resecurity of the terms to America must be garded, or thought of, when interest from the removal of the British armies, and prompted them to break it. And that inthe appointment of her own governors, and terest was so trivial that it demonstrated to this he apprehended we must agree. they either thought very lightly of their He did not apprehend we had given up honour, or else meant to introduce by deany thing, in the laws lately passed, which grees an important and an oppressive of right belonged to us; that we never had 'taxation : the very reverse of what they any right to tax, or regulate the charters had so solemnly promised through the
medium of lord Hillsborough. That he prove, that the Treasury had, in the years was convinced, that, unless it were ima- | 1775, 6, and 7, also taken up ships; and gined, that the sentiments of a whole peo- others to shew the price of the freight paid ple could change as suddenly as the con- by the Treasury, with such other matters duct of the noble lord (North) had done, as went to ascertain the accounts on the the Americans would never agree to any table; by which means their lordships negociation, while the present ministers would be enabled to judge which method remained in power.
was the most æconomical. The House divided :
Here his lordship took an opportunity Tellers.
to complain of the very slovenly manner was Mr. James Luttrell -->
the accounts were drawn up in; whether Yeas "Mr. Fielde .... 0
through negligence or design he would
| not pretend to determine ; though, he SLord Beauchamp -
believed he might be well justified in Sir Herbert Mackworth
saying, that they bore the strongest apSo it passed in the negative.
pearance of being rendered loose, inaccu
rate, intricate, or confused, in order to deDebate in the Lords on the Enquiry feat the ends of the enquiry, which was into the Conduct of the Transport Service to procure certain premises, whence conMarch 12. The House went into a Com- clusions might be unquestionably drawn mittee on the State of the Nation
to the satisfaction of every side of the The Earl of Effingham opened the na- House. This was evident throughout the ture of the business he meant that day to whole ; and had, indeed, been so successagitate, namely, to shew that there had fully effected, that it would baffle the inbeen a most scandalous want of economy dustry of almost any man, at least, one of in one department of the management of his size of abilities, within the time limited, the public finances. The whole of the to arrange, connect, and fully digest the sum expended under the head which he papers from the state they appeared in was about to consider, the noble earl when laid on the table. He would menstaced to be only 600,0001. which, as their tion a single instance; which was, that the lordships had been of late used to talk of clerks so far forgot their duty, or purmillions as trifles, would probably to some posely with-held the performance of it, of them appear so very a trifle, as scarcely that they omitted to cast up a single acto be worth their notice. He begged count, or state a single total. This omisleave, however, to remark, that if a large sion he was under the necessity of supplypart of so small a sum as 600,0001. was ing, by getting a Mr. Heard, who would disposed of extravagantly, as he doubted be called to authenticate the totals, to cast 'not he should make appear, he was fully them up, in order, as he observed before, justified in argument, and if not otherwise to found his resolutions on certain presatisfactorily cleared up, to conclude in mises. Having then stated the tendency fact, that the waste of the public money, of the questions he meant to propose, he upon the gross sum expended, must be moved, that sir Richard Temple, a comenormous; and therefore every point mnissioner of the navy, be called in. which served to elucidate a matter of so Sir Richard Temple proved, that it was much importance, was well deserving their customary for the Navy board, when ships. lordships' attention. He proceeded to were wanted for the public service, to ad. observe, that during the present fatal war, vertise in the news-papers for so many tons. the Treasury, contrary to precedent, had of shipping as were necessary. That the assumed to itself a power, which he had contract was always made with the person ever understood to belong to the Navy | wlio sent in the cheapest terms. That board; the power of taking up ships for when it was made, an officer of one of the the Transport Service. As there ap- public dock-yards surveyed the ships, peared from the papers on the table, to be measured them, and reported whether they a considerable diHerence in the amount were such as were described in the conof the sums expended by the Navy board, tract. That the Navy-board had paid 10s. and by the Treasury, upon this kind of a ton for freight in the beginning of the service, he meant to call witnesses to prove war, but that in April 1776, they took up the custom of taking up ships for trans- 25 ships, for the purpose of carrying the ports by the Navy office, and the price cavalry to America, for which they paid that office paid for freight; others to 12s. 6d. That those ships were of a par