Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

as it neceffarily muft; they would look tleman who knows any thing of the tem upon us as the aggreffors, and confe- per and disposition of the people of that quently would think themselves obliged kingdom. Some of their thoughtless to grant the ftipulated fuccours to France. young quality may perhaps be fond of a This is a way of thinking which the war with this nation ; but it is well French court will certainly endeavour to known, that the body of their people in lead their allies into ; and if we should general are extremely averse to any such order such a bill as this to be brought war. Among them it is a common, and in, that court will as certainly make it a a true observation, that all their poffef: pretence for saying, that we have treat- fions in Canada neither arë, nor can eed them in such an insolent manner, as ver be made worth the expence of one renders it impoffible for them to treat year's war with England ; and if a comany longer with us. Whether such a putation is to be made, either from the pretence may have any weight with naval strength of the two nations, or thofe courts that are in alliance with from their respective strength upon the France, is a question which none but his continent of America, the chance of Majesty can pretend to judge of ; but e- losing what they have there, is vastly very one must suppose, that it is a pre- superior to the chance they have of gain: tence which the French court will make ing any thing from us in that part of the use of: and, in my opinion, they have world. These confiderations, Sir, make been waiting all this time, in expecta- every thinking man in France, who has tion that, by some step in our conduct, no selfith view to sérve, averse to a war we would furnish them with some such with this nation; and if their minifters; pretence as this.

for fome particular reasons of their own, It is this expectation, Sir, and not are resolved to come to an open rapturé what the Hon. Gentleman who spoke with us, rather than give us fatisfa&tions last was pleased to infinuate, that has they know that they must wait till we made the court of France hitherto bear, have done something to raise the indigo with a Stoical patience, as some unthink. nation of the people : for, even in the ing people amongst ourselves are pleased most absolute monarchies, some regard to call it, all the indignities we have must be had to the humour of the peoi lately put upon them. They are too well ple; because their armies must always, acquainted both with their own strength, in fome degree, partake of that humour; and the ftrength of this nation, not to be and are very apt to motiny, or at least sensible, that, by engaging single and a. they never fight with fpirit, when they lone in a naval war against us, they must are engaged in a war which they think run a great risk of having both their imprudent or unjust. Which maxim was trade and plantations quite ruined in a fo well understood by the ministers of few years; and that after they have loft France in the days of Lewis XIV. that their trade and plantations, it would be when the people of France were reduced impossible for them to render themselves to the utmost distress, and crying out for equal to us at fea; because if they had a a peace upon any terms, the ministers fufficient number of ships of war, they offered such terms to the allies as they could then no where find a sufficient themselves had no mind to submit to, number of seamen; as most of the sea- and offered them only because they exmen they now have, would, in a few pected their being rejected by the allies'; years, be either killed, gone into foreign as they accordingly were: whereupon service, or prisoners in some part of the the minifters got their lovereign to write British dominions; and many of them, a moit moving and artful letter to the perhaps, become Prorettants, and terving governors of the provinces, setting forth on board our navy.

the terms he had offered for obtaining Another realon, Sir, for the late pa- peace, the haughtiness with which they rience of the French court with respect were rejected, and the insolence of the to us, must appear evident to every. gen. terms proposed by the allies; copies of

which letter were industriously dispersed now made to us. And the fame effect among the people of every province ; would as certainly have been produced, and thereby such an indignant spirit was had we declared war against France, or raised among the people, as enabled the begun with a sudden and vigorous at.court to continue the war, till a change tack upon any of the French possessions in the adminiftration, and the death of in America, before convincing the sethe Emperor Jofeph, which followed veral courts of Europe, as well as the soon after, furnished them with an op- people of France, that we were ready portunity for obtaining better terms of and willing to accept of any reasonable peace than the most fanguine French- terms of accommodation. It would have man could have formed any hopes of. united at least all the allies of France,

This thews, Sir; that the court of if not all Europe against us : for in that France, notwithstanding the absolute cafe, the preservation of a balance of power of their sovereign, find it neceffary power at fea, might have had the same to study the temper and disposition of influence, and the fame effect against their people, and it is their attention to this nation, as the preservation of a bathis that has hitherto delayed their ré- lance of power at land had against senting, in a hostile manner, our seizing France, foon after the beginning of this their trading fhips as well as their ships century; which is all I fhall fay, and of war. The people of France do not as much as I have occasion to say, in know the importance of the disputes be justification of our late conduct, as it is tween France and us in America. They not at present the subject of debate. know that Canada has as yet been of I shall therefore conclude, Sir, with very little advantage to them, and there. this observation, that if the court of fore they are unwilling to enter into a France had the direction of this house, war with us on account of those disputes. they could not propose a step more aThis makes them wish that their court greeable to their scheme of politics, or would adjust all those dispates in an ae that could tend more effectually towards micable manner; and in that cafe they enabling them to begin a war against expect, that all the hips we have taken this nation with a high probability of will be restored: but our seeming to take success, than our ordering such a bill as any ftep for appropriating those ships to is now proposed, to be brought in : and the captors, will put an end to that ex- after having said this, I hope no genpectation, and raise among them a ge.. tleman will expect that I should give my neral indignation, which will enable affent to the motion. their ministers to reject any terms of accommodation we can propofe, and the The speech of Sp. Liguftinus, who spoke consequence of this muft be an open war.

next. I therefore concur in opinion, Sir, Mr President, with the Hon. Gentleman who spoke Ith respect to the motion now laft, that the late conduct of the court under our confideration, I must of France is rather to be called pru- confefs I have met with a double disapdence than patience. They have poli- pointment. For when I heard the intical and wife reasons for holding such a tended contents of the bill opened by conduct. But those reafons I have the Noble Lord who made the motion, Thewn to be very different from what and the Hon. Gentleman who feconded the Hon. Gentleman was pleased to his motion, and at the same time confisuggeft. They are waiting till we take dered the circumstances we are in at some such step as may raise a general re. present, I little expected that any oppoSentment among their own people, and sition would have been made to the mogive their allies good reason to look up- tion for leave to bring in such a bill, on us as the aggressors in the war ; whatever might have been made to the both of which would, in my opinion, be bill itself after being brought in, and the effect of our agreeing to the motion reád a second or third time. I recolVOL.XIX.

L

lected,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

lected, that, in the session of 1737-8, happens in the village ; and therefore, much the same sort of bill was moved as soon as it begins to ring, the people for in this house, by the Noble Lord's all assemble, and run to allift in extinfather; and though our circumstances guishing the fire, and removing the peowith regard to Spain had not then near ple's goods. A press-gang having been such a warlike aspect as our circumstan- informed of the use made of this bell, ces now have with regard to France, they came into the village, and began our then minister had too much sense co ring the bell; whereupon the people to oppose the bill's being brought in all affembled as ufual, and three or four He even allowed it to go the length of of them that were known to be seamen, being ingroffed; but as he had then were prefied. The stratagem was in italways a dead majority at his beck, he self innocent enough; but it was attendhad it thrown out upon the third read. ed with a consequence that was fatal to ing; and as we now seem to copy that one family, and might have been fatal minister in every step of his conduct, I to the whole village: for a fire soon af. expected that we would likewise have ter happening, the bell was as usual copied him in this.

rung; but the people, instead of afsemThe other disappointment I have met bling, shut themselves up in their houwith, Sir, is with regard to the argu. ses; and the family where the fire bements made use of against the motion. gan, for want of alistance in time, had If any opposition should appear, I ex- not only their house, but most of their pected that the opposers would endea- goods destroyed. vour to shew, that presling was no way In short, Sir, our method of pressing inconvenient, or that the bill proposed seamen into the government's service, would not in the least remedy any of is always attended with so many irrethe inconveniencies which our seamen gularities, and is, in its own nature, so are thereby exposed to. Some faint at. oppreflive upon that sort of men, whom tempts have indeed been made, to pal- of all others we ought to take the most liate the inconvenience of pressing; but tender care of, that I am surprised to every one knows, that the exercise of find a bill opposed, which so evidently that power is always attended with tends to encourage seamen to enter vonumberless irregularities, and often with luntarily into the King's service. For, acts of cruel oppression. No man can by a bare inspection of the law now look into a tender, where pressed men subsisting, we must see, that no seaman are confined, without pitying those who can have the least pretence to a fare have the misfortune of being shut up in of any prize taken before a declaration such noisome dungeons; and it is cer- of war, even though such prize should tain, that many of them die there, or be condemned and sold, either as soon are afterwards destroyed by the diseases as taken, or after the war has been de. there contracted. Besides the violen- clared. That law can therefore give ces often committed by our press-gangs no encouragement to enter into the themselves, do not we know, that often, King's service till after a declaration of and in many places, a gang of loose war. And how can any, man, much fellows affaciate themselves together, less any seaman, know, that war will affume the character of a press-gang, ever be declared i for his Majesty may and raise contributions upon every pal- carry on all sorts of hostilities as long as fenger, under pretence of pressing him he pleases, without ever declaring war; into the sea-service? I myself know of and may even order the prizes to be a very new sort of irregularity, that was, condemned and fold, as soon as brought this last summer, committed by a press- in, without any declaration of war. gang, at a village in the welt of Eng. Nay, I am surprised, that all the traland. In that village they have one cer- ding ships already taken, were not contain beli, which is called the fire-bell, demned and fold as foon,, or very soon because it is never rung but when a fire after they were brought into any, British

port: hands

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

port: for supposing they were taken the court of France, more than our ha. by way of reprisal, it is the constant ving feized them.' Can any one be fo practice of all nations, to have the ship wrong-headed as to imagine, that a and cargo so taken condemned, and man's felling my property is a greater fold to the highest bidder, as soon as infult upon me than his taking it by brought into port; which practice is violence from me? It is the violence founded upon a most solid reason, be. that is the infolt: the fale is only a dacaufe many forts of merchandises are mage, which I am to compel him to fpoiled by keeping, and every sort of make good, if I can; or, by agreemerchandise fuffers in its value, if not ment, allow him to retain the whole or carried in due time to its proper market. a part of what he fold it for, by way of And this reason we shall find fully con- compensation for fome damage I had firmed by the effect, of our not having before done to him, after having forfollowed this practice, with regard to given the insult which by the violence the ships we have lately taken: for as he put upon me. But if he had allowed the cargoes of many of them confift in what he thus took, by violence, to pe£fh, they will, in a few months, be so rish, our agreement would become much fpoiled, as to be good for nothing; and more difficult; because he could then the targoes of the rest will suffer great- have nothing to retain by way of comly in their value, by not having been pensation, and I maft forgive the loss, carried, in due time, to their proper as well as the insult I fuffered by his vimarket.

olence. Thus, if all the ships and carTo pretend, Sir, that these ships have goes we have taken had been sold to the not been disposed of, because they are highest bidder as soon as brought in, to be restored upon the French court's we should have had fomething to reagreeing to a reafonable accommoda- táin by way of compenfation for the extion, is a ridiculous pretence ; because to pence we have been put to by the French expect, that either the court or people of incroachments; and if there had been France will be satisfied with a reftitution any furplus, we should have had someof the ships themselves with their car- thing to reftore towards that indemnigoes, is a ridiculous expectation. The fication which the people of France expeople, at least the trading people of pect for the loss they have suffered. But France, may perhaps be averse to a war; if we allow all those ships and cargoes but I am sure, that they neither expect to perish in our hands, we shall have nonor defire a reftitution of the ships them- thing to retain by way of compensation; selves with their cargoes. They desire and the French, if they come to an agreeto have an indemnification, equal to the ment with us, muft forgive the loss as value or price which the ships and car. well as the insult they have suffered by goes might have been fold for at the our seizing their ships. Consequently time they were taken by us; and they I must conclude, that our not having expect that their court will procure them condemned and sold thofe thips as soon this indemnification from us, or make it as brought in, tends rather towards magood to them in some other way: there- king a war unavoidable, than towards fore our not disposing of every ship and facilitating any accommodation ; and if cargo as soon as brought in, will only a war should ensue, it will furnish a betadd to the difficulty of our coming to ter pretence to every court in Europe any amicable settlement of the differ- for charging us with having been the ence between the two nations.

authors of the war. It is equally ridiculous, Sir, to fup- Now, Sir, as to the dispofal of the pore, that our having condemned and produce by the sale of the ships, it is fold these ships and cargoes by way of the same thing to the nation in general, reprisal, as toon as brought in, would whether that produce be appropriated to; have raised the indignation of the peo. and lodged in the hands of the captors, ple, or hurt or engaged the honour of or appropriated to, and lodged in the

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

JNE.

L2

hands of those who have the custody of have been doing against us in America, the public treasure. In either case the almost ever since the treaty of Aix-lanation is pofleffed of and benefited by Chapelle. But, Sir, we have for mathe capture ; and if upon balancing ac, ny years given ourselves a much greater counts, a furplus had appeared to have concern about what the other courts of been due to France, the nation could Europe may think of our active, than anot have grudged making good that fur- bout what they may think of our paffive plus out of the next supplies to be grant- behaviour ; and yet there is no nation ed by parliament, in case the whole of in Europe that has lefs reason than we the produce had been appropriated to have, to be cautious of giving a jealouthe captors. I say, the nation could fy to its neighbours: for they all know, not have grudged this, after considering that it is not the interest of this nation, that such numbers of our people, and nay, that it is absolutely inconfiftent those who best deserved it, had been with our happinefs as an illand, to enriched by the produce, and that by make any conquests upon the continent. the quantity of the produce we had pre. Therefore, in our present disputes with vented a dangerous and heavy war: France, we should, in my opinion, for I must observe, that any surplus have thought only of not giving a jaft would have been a strong argument with pretence to any nation in Europe to join the court of France for coming to an with France in a war against us ; for if agreement with us, in order to get that any nation is resolved to do so, no pre. surplus restored; and the larger that caution of ours can prevent their finding surplus had been, the more it would a sham one. And for this reason I join have inclined them to come to an agree with my Hon. friend in thinking, that ment: therefore the only confideration it was wrong in us to begin with repriwe ought to have had, the only conside. fals against France. We should have ration we ought still to have, was, and begun with a declaration of war, and fill is, by what method such a surplus followed that declaration with as fudden was, or is most certainly to be acquired and as vigorous an attack upon them in and increased ? and this method every America as it was possible for us to one must allow to be that of appropria make. Their behaviour towards us in sing all prizes to the captors, after de. Nova Scotia would long since have justis claring, in the most public manner, that fied such a proceeding; and the forts the ships taken, or to be taken, were they have lately built upon the lake Erie only by way of reprisal; and that we had left no nation in Europe any colour were ready to account for, and return of reason for saying, that they were not the surplus, if any fhould arise, after the aggressors. deducting the expence we had been, or If we had begun the war in this mana should be put to, by the French in. ner, Sir, we might long before the end croachments upon us in America. of last fummer have been again in pos

This, I say, Sir, is the method we fefsion of the island of Cape Breton ought to have taken, since we resolved and after our having again recoverto begin with making reprisals for a pu. ed pofieflion of that ifland, a strong blic injury; and therefore fuch a law squadron, with a few small cruisers, ftaas this now proposed ought to have been tioned at Louisburg, and another itrong passed before the end of laf seffion; for squadron, with a few small cruisers, ftan if it had, I am convinced, that there tioned at Jamaica, would have made it would not have been near fo great a ne, impossible for the French to have fent ceflity for presing: and if every hip fufficient supplies or reinforcements, eihad been condemned and sold by public ther to their colony in Canada, or to auction as soon as brought in, no nation, the colony which we of late years fo in Europe could from thence have found tamely allowed them to establish at the a just pretence for calling us the aggref mouth of the Miffifippi, as every gen[crs, after condering what the French tleman may see by a bare inspection of

the

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »