Yeas Mr. Grenville

} }

try, convinced him that he ought not to he had never said the treaty between go out of office. As to his abilities to France and America was not signed; and conduct a war, and direct the helm of the added, that his policy for concealing it was state, he confessed they were such as could good. The French had been the first to be very easily matched. He did not doubt make it known. If it was the interest of but that there were many gentlemen in France to publish it, it was the interest of that House who were possessed of abilities England to conceal it. He called the far superior to any he could boast: his in- French ambassador's rescript insolent and tegrity was all he could plume himself offensive ; and coocluded with saying, it upon; and in that he would be bold to say was his firm unalterable resolution to keep he was inferior to no man in the nation. his place. The Conciliatory Bills he had yet reason

Tellers. to hope would be productive of happy effects; and though a treaty had really

146 been concluded between the colonies and

Mr. Baker France, yet it was natural to expect that NOES

Mr. Charles Townshend

231 it must be ratified by the Congress. He

Sir Grey Cooper did not, therefore, despair that the terms So it passed in the negative. offered, and ensured by the Conciliatory Acts, would so pacify the minds of the The King's Message respecting the people of America, as to prevent a ratifi- Treaty betweren France and America.] cation of the treaty. He was led still the March 17. The following Message from more to expect these effects by the very his Majesty was presented to the Lords circumstance of the time, which the French by viscount Weymouth: ambassador chose to make the declaration, « GEORGE R. namely, when the commissioners were on “ His Majesty, having been informed, the point of setting out. He, therefore, by order of the French king, that a thought that our present difficulties might Treaty of Amity and Commerce has been perhaps be still removed without a war. signed between the court of France, and Our situation was not yet so alarming as certain persons employed by his Majesty's gentlemen might think: our fleets for revolted subjects in North America, has home defence were in a condition to do judged it necessary to direct, that a copy all the service that we could expect, and of the Declaration, delivered by the French to answer all the purposes of securing us

ambassador to lord viscount Weymouth, from an invasion, and repelling the enemy. be laid before the House of Lords; and at The present motion was so contradictory the same time to acquaint them, that his to every idea of justice, public faith, and Majesty has thought proper, in consesound policy, that he certainly would op- quence of this offensive communication on pose it; and as he never would consent the part of the court of France, to send that those persons, who, under the confi- orders to his ambassador to withdraw from dence of the faith of nations, might have that court. given our ambassador information, should “ His Majesty is persuaded, that the be given up to the resentment of those justice and good faith of his conduct towho might punish them, he would there- wards foreign powers, and the sincerity of fore endeavour to get rid of the motion by his wishes to preserve the tranquillity of the previous question.

Europe, will be acknowledged by all the Mr. Grenville said he did not wish to world; and his Majesty trusts, that he expose any man; and amended his motion shall not stand responsible for the disturwith, “ or extracts.”

bance of that tranquillity, if he should Lord North said the amendment could find himself called upon to resent so unnot be received after the previous question provoked and so unjust an aggression on had been moved.

the honour of his crown, and the essential Mr. Fox got up in great warmth, and interests of his kingdoms, contrary to the reprehended the noble lord in the severest most solemn assurances, subversive of the terms, for what he called quibbling and law of nations, and injurious to the rights chicane.

of every sovereign power in Europe. Lord North withdrew his motion; and “ His Majesty, relying with the firmest the amendment was received: after which confidence on the zealous and affectionate he moved the previous question again. support of his faithful people, is deterHe desired the House to take notice, that | mined to be prepared to exert, if it shall



become necessary, all the force and re- • In this just confidence, the undersources of his kingdoms; which he trusts writien ambassador might think it superwill be found adequate to repel every in- fluous to apprize the British ministry, that sult and attack, and to maintain and up- the king his master, being determined hold the power and reputation of this effectually to protect the lawful freedom country.

of the commerce of his subjects, and to A similar Message was sent to the Com- sustain the honour of his flag, his Majesty

At the same time was presented has taken, in consequence, eventual meaCopy of a Paper delivered to Lord Vis- sures, in concert with the United States

of North America. M. de NOAILLES." count Weymouth by the Marquis de Noailles, the 13th March 1778,

“ London, 18 March, 1778." and Translation : viz.

Debate in the Lorils on the King's Mesa The underwritten Ambassador of bis sage respecting the Treaty between France

Most Christian Majesty has received and America.] As soon as the above an express Order to deliver to the Message and Declaration had been read, Court of London the following De- Viscount Weymouth rose for the pur. claration:

pose of moving an Address to his Majesty. “ The United States of North America, He acquainted the House, that his Mawhich are in full possession of the Inde- jesty, in consequence of the above Dependence declared by their act of the 4th claration, had dispatched letters of instant July 1776, having caused a proposal to recall to the British minister at Versailles ; be made to the king, to consolidate, by a that he beheld with indignation this open formal convention, the connections that violation of the established amity between have begun to be established between the the two courts, and though he would not two nations, the respective plenipotentia- be the first disturber of the tranquillity of ries have signed a Treaty of Amity and Europe, yet it was necessary for him to Commerce, intended to serve as a basis take such measures as might secure the for mutual good correspondence.

dignity of his crown, and the welfare of “ His majesty, being resolved to culti- his people, and hoped for their lordships' vate the good understanding subsisting concurrence and support. His lordship between France and Great Britain, by all concludeu with moving, “ That an humthe means compatible with his dignity, ble Address be presented to his Majesty, and with the good of his subjects, thinks to return his Majesty the humble thanks that he ought to impart this step to the of this House for the communication of court of London, and declare to it, at the the Paper presented to the lord viscount same time, that the contracting parties Weymouth, by the order of the French have bad attention not to stipulate any king; and for acquainting this fiouse, exclusive advantage in favour of the that in consequence of this offensive DeFrench nation; and that the United States claration, his Majesty has thought proper have preserved the liberty of treating with to order his ambassador to withdraw from all nations whatsoever, on the same foot the court of France. of equality and reciprocity.

“ To assure his Majesty, that it is with “ In making this communication to the the utmost difficulty this House can recourt of London, the king is firmly per- strain the strongest expressions of the resuaded, that it will find in it fresh proofs sentment and indignation which they feel of his majesty's constant and sincere dis. for this unjust and unprovoked aggression positions for peace; and that his Britannic on the honour of his Majesty's crown, and majesty, animated by the same sentiments, the essential interests of his kingdoms, will equally avoid every thing that may contrary to the law of nations, and injuriinterrupt their harmony; and that he will ous to the rights and possessions of every take, in particular, effectual measures to sovereign power in Europe. hinder the commerce of his majesty's sub- “ That the good faith and uprightness jects with the United States of North of his Majesty's conduct towards foreign America from being disturbed, and to powers, and the sincerity of his intentions cause to be observed, in this respect, the to preserve the general tranquillity must usages received between trading nations, be acknowledged by all the world; and and the rules that may be deemed subsist- his Majesty cannot be considered as reing between the crowns of France and sponsible for the disturbance of this tranGreat Britain.

quillity, if his Majesty should find himself [VOL. XIX.)

[3 N]

called upon to resist the enterprizes of These, his grace remarked, were circumthat restless and dangerous spirit of ambi- stances sufficient to open the eyes of the tion and aggrandizement which has so most incredulous; but, in spite of all this, often invaded the rights, and threatened ministers got majorities to support them, the liberties of Europe.

against the strongest convictions of pro“ That we should be wanting in our bability and common sense.-If we were duty to his Majesty and to ourselves, if to meet our enemies, the spirit of the nawe did not give his Majesty the strongest tion must be as well directed as called assurances of our most zealous assistance forth. The situation of this country was and support; every sentiment of loyalty perilous to the last degree ; but, under to his Majesty, and of love to our coun- ihe conduct of such an administration, ruin try, will animate this House to stand was inevitable. The enquiry into the state forth in the public defence, and to pro- of the nation proved their total incapacity. mote every measure that shall be found Destitute of a military force for the home necessary for enabling his Majesty to vin defence, or of our only true national buldicate the honour of his crown, and to wark, a respectable navy, they laid us at protect the just rights and essential inte- the mercy of our enemies; they wasted rests of these kingdoms.”

our blood and treasure to no purpose; The Duke of Manchester, however and, what was worse, they rendered us great the provocation given by France defenceless. They brought us to the memight be, was totally against their lord- lancholy dilemma of not being in a state ships agreeing with the Address, if the to make peace, or prosecute war. Were approaching war was to be conducted by we prepared for a war? No noble lord the same men who were the authors of all would say we were.

Could we preserve our présent calamities : men, in whose peace? He feared it was impossible. His hands nothing could succeed; and in grace then moved, that after the words, whom it would be madness to confide. is zealous assistance and support," the folHe reminded their lordships of the fre- lowing words be added : “Whenever his quent admonitions ministers had received Majesty shall, from his regard to the hofrom that side of the House, in which al- nour of his crown and safety of his sub. most every progressive step towards na-jects, remove from his councils those pertional ruin had been exactly foretold, sons under whose administration no plan even to the very important business of civil or military has been successful, and that day. They were informed of this the colonies, so valuable a part of the very treaty: they declared their ignorance empire, have been lost to this nation, and of it. He had himself, from time to time, driven into connexions with the court of as an act of duty, communicated whatever France, and whose longer continuance in came to his knowledge respecting the dis- power we are borind to represent to his position of the court of France. He was Majesty may highly endanger the safety satisfied of the truth of the matters con- of his crown, and the remaining parts of tained in those communications; but he his dominions." had no right to expect that their lordships Viscount Weymouth said, the amendwould give credit to private information, ment was in the first place conditional; in in preference to the assurances of ministers the second, it contained an accusation whose special duty it was to be acquainted against ministers. It was the first time he with, and make known to that House, the ever heard an address clogged with a conviews, motives, and disposition of our na- dition which implied, that what was right tural enemies. Indeed, there were some in itself ought not to be pursued, unless leading facts which spoke strongly in fa- something else were granted. For his vour of what he had suggested to their part, if the address met the sentiments of lordships, such as the residence of Messrs. the House, he thought it should receive Franklin and Deane at Paris : the open its sanction entirely on its own intrinsie commerce carried on between France and merits, and not while their lordships were the colonies; the protection given to their acceding to an act of duty, accompany privateers and merchant-vessels; the con- that act with certain compulsory conditract between the Congress delegates, tions. Such a conduct had both an unand the French farmers general, for cet- generous and unjust appearance. tain quantities of tobacco, the growth of Lord Dudley said, he had voted for all the North American colonies, to be deli- the measures of ministers, relative to the vered in France, at a stipulated price, &c. affairs of America, and could justify his conduct to his own conscience. The war | memory another ground of exculpation, was in its principles just, and was founded urged by ministers, who had repeatedly in good policy. The measures, though said they were not responsible, because the they had failed, were wisely planned, and measures pursued' were the measures of must have succeeded, if they had been parliament. He looked upon himself speproperly executed.

cially bound never to permit this doctrine The Earl of Effingham begged to know to pass unnoticed; he pledged himself that if there were any proofs wanting, to shew he would never endure such a ministerial the total incapacity of ministers. Every apology to pass, without properly animadmeasure they planned contained the fullest verting upon its fallacy. Parliament had evidence of their insufficiency. He would been deluded, deceived, abused, and misnot undertake to say who were the proper led. Ministers had misinformed parliapersons to succeed them. One rule how- ment all along; they had misrepresented ever, for chusing ministers, he must adopt, the force we had to contend with: they which was, that they would be such men had acted in like manner respecting our as were most likely to disclaim all subser- state of ability and preparation ; they asviency, dependence and obedience to an sured us, that France was not only pacific, invisible power.

This invisible power was but friendly, but even though she were the great grievance to be provided against. not sincere, that we were prepared for This unconstitutional subserviency was the worst; and above all, they told us that the grand root of all the evils which have America was both weak and disunited, poured in upon us, since the commence and that all we had to do, was to send a ment of the present reign. Whoever re- sufficient force to protect and put arms sisted this secret, concealed impulse, how. in the hands of the friends of governever able, was proscribed; whoever paid ment; consequently, let the fault originate the desired obedience to it, however weak, where it may, in a junto, an efficient caignorant, or incapable, was patronized and binet or private advice; none of those desupported.. To drag this secret, under- scriptions of men could shelter themselves mining power into the face of day, ought behind parliament. They were measures to be the first great object. As long as recommended to parliament, and adopted that power was able to influence, and shift by it, upon assurances repeatedly given; the responsibility annexed to the direction if the facts contained in these assurances of the national councils, a change of men were false or ill-founded, those, and those would avail nothing; the same influence only who gave them, or instructed miniswould continue to produce similar mea- ters to give them, were responsible to parsures. To destroy that influence, it would liament, and the people at large. be first necessary to identify and detect it. Lord Ravensworth said the situation of This could never be the case, while the the nation was to the last degree melandistinctions of an ostensive and efficient choly and alarming, and that whichever cabinet were preserved. He had heard a way we turned, almost insurmountable great deal of an efficient cabinet at the difficulties presented themselves. In such commencement of the present war. He a critical moment of national calamity, had heard a noble and learned lord (Mans. there was but one measure left to save field) acknowledge that he was once a us, which was, that of removing those mi. member of that efficient cabinet, but had nisters who had been sufficiently convicted declined it for some years before. He of every species of ignorance and violence. had heard the same noble lord say, that The Marquis of Rockingham asked, shall we had passed the Rubicon, and could not retreat." He feared doctrines of this kind the whole strength of the House of Bourdid not originate in their proper place; bon united with America against us? Shall he presumed that they came to ministers we desert our attempt on America, and but at second

hand; he was, therefore, for leave the united states at full liberty to only expiation ministers could make to our West-India islands and our northern their country for the ruin they had brought fisheries to fall a prey to some one or all upon it, was to disclose the authors of of these powers? Or shall we, by protectthose measures ; instead of sheltering them ing those places, leave the coasts of these selves behind the name of the King at one kingdoms open to a foreign invasion ? If time, and the parliament at another. This any one of those places were left unpro. Last part of the subject brought into his tected and defenceless, the consequences

we attack France, and thereby draw on us

would be dreadful; and still no noble lord | all Europe ; and when our success and present, in or out of administration, would, territorial acquisitions increased in prohe hoped, venture to say, that we were at portion to the number of our foes, and the present in a state of strength and pre- formidableness of the resistance we met; paration to attend to those several objects. in the very zenith of our naval glory and Was it a fair way of judging what we were military victories, the main argument for equal to, by what we had already done? | making a peace was, the low price of our If that was to be the test, surely our situa- stocks, and the inability and ruinous extion was truly deplorable. What had we pence of prosecuting a war carried on in so done, after three years exertion of our extensive a manner. What is the case now? whole strength both by sea and land ? We Without an ally, baffled and defeated by a had been defeated, or bafħed, which to us part of our own subjects ; half exhausted, was equivalent to defeat. We had lost we are going to enter into a war with the one army, and perhaps, in a few months same great powers, and that for an object might lose the other. ' But who had been impossible to be attained by the force of our adversaries ? A people who had been arms. Here his lordship computed the represented as poltroons and cowards. several sums borrowed for the three last

After reminding the King's servants of years of the late war, which he said, were what he called thefr invincible obstinacy, 12, 18, and 12 millions. The first of those in adhering to measures, the evil conse- years we borrowed at 4, the next at 41, quences of which had been so often fore and the last at 5 per cent. ; whereas now told, he animadverted on what had, in his before the battle is begun, and when we opinion, been so improperly called the want to borrow only six millions, we are Conciliatory Bills. The very day the mo- obliged to pay upwards of 5 per cent. tion was made by a noble lord in the other This, he said, must shew all the living House, for leave to bring in the Bills, the friends of the late peace the madness of noble duke near him (Grafton) reminded going to war. The marquis ascribed administration, that an hon. member in the every one of the disagreeable circumsame House (Mr. Fox) informed the mi- stances which pressed upon this country, nister, that this treaty had been signed to the ignorance, wilful inattention, or the 6th of the same month; and asked, if shameful servility to the instructions of any one of the ministers had heard any those who dare not avow themselves of the thing of such a treaty ? On which the no- ! ministry. France, whatever ministers preble viscount, who now moved the Address, tended, or might still continue to presaid lie had not. Taking this answer tend, acted her part without disguise, and eitlier way, he contended, that ministers it was evident that in her present notificawere equally to blame. If they knew the tion she laughed at the British ministry. report to be true, what a farce was it to The Duke of Richmond said he was hold out terms to America, already uyited astonished at the silence of ministers, one to France by treaty! If they did not know of whom had moved an Address, the conof it, was it not the most unequivocal proof sequences of which might involve the naof their total incapacity ? America would tion in ruin ; yet had declined to offer a laugh at the folly and Aimsy cunning which single reason in its support. It imported dictated those Bills. The truth was, nothing less than a declaration of war on France and the colonies were in alliance. our part; before their lordships, therefore, Nothing we could now do would be suffi- acceded to so hazardous a proposition, he cient to break it, unless we declared Ame thought it behoved ministers to inform the rica independent, and unless we held out parliament and people, how far we were advantages in commerce which would ren prepared for such an event; to acquaint der our offers acceptable; and such too as their lordships with the state of our she could not obtain from any other na- finances, the strength of our armies and tion. A declaration of this kind might fleets, the general resources in men and not, perhaps, repair our injured honour, money, the number of our allies, and their but it would secure much more substantial ability to assist us. It was not because benefits.

France had acted treacherously or un. He observed, that in the midst of the fairly; it was not because she had insultmost glorious successes this or any other ed us, and treated us with derision and country ever experienced, when we had contempt, that we should rush headlong the two most powerful monarchies in Eu. on certain ruin; we should first look to rope to contend with, nay, indeed, almost | the object, to attain which, we were about

« ElőzőTovább »