Abbildungen der Seite

bages, sour-crout, and a few asparagus, | with the other duties laid on in 1767. I there was no occasion for keeping open a am within your lordships' recollection, that begging subscription for the purpose of 1 then asserted, that when the matter was procuring those necessaries, when the na- debated in council, I was over-ruled and tion had already made such ample provi: out-voted, but was contradicted by a noble sion. On this ground he should submit viscount (lord Weymouth) whom I now two resolutions to the consideration of the see in his place. Flaving spoken from House, which would, he presumed, put memory, though I was certain I was right, this matter in a clear light. They were, joined to the very late hour of the night, 1. “ That the extraordinary expences when the matter alluded to was mentioned, amounting to 845,1631. 148. 8fd. have I declined to answer the noble viscount, been incurred, for the far greater part, for or to corroborate my first assertion, with services within the town of Boston. 2. any further facts or particulars. Being, That anyple provision has been made by however, uneasy till I had enquired fur. the public for the accommodation and ther into the circumstances of that impor. comfort of the troops in Boston, which tant transaction, I searched among my made the levying any further money, or papers, and there found a note of it, sent begging any from the subject, on that me by a noble lord then at the head of pretence, unnecessary.” They both pass the American department, (lord Hillsboed in the negative. After which the Re- rough) by which it appears, that the num. solutions of the committee were agreed to. bers in the cabinet were not equal, as the

noble viscount asserted, but that I was Debate in the LORDS ON The Duke over-ruled and out-voted by a majority on OF Grafton's Proposition for Con the proposition of repealing that tax

, CILIATION WITH America.] March

which, as I then foresaw, would be pro14.* The order of the day being read, ductive of the worst consequences; and

The Duke of Grafton said: My lords, which now is the occasion of the present before I explain to your lordships the in- unhappy disputes, that threaten to overtention of the present motion, and the whelm this country in ruin and destrucgrounds on which I propose to maintain tion. I thought it my duty to submit this it, I shall, with your lordships' permission, true state of that momentous business to explain something which passed in this House the last day I had the honour to think that I had either negligently,

your lordships, lest any of you should address your lordships, respecting my serted, or designedly misrepresented it supposed conduct, relative to the Tea Act If the noble viscount should differ from in the year 1769, when it was proposed in me on the fact, as I now have stated it

, I the cabinet to procure a repeal of it, along wish it may be understood, that he will * « This day will perhaps hereafter be con. fore I proceed further, or that his silence

rise immediately and contradict me, be sidered as one of the most important in the English history. It deeply fixed a new colour may be construed into an acquiescence. upon our public affairs. It was decisive, on As to the measure now proposed, I trust this side of the Atlantic, with respect to Ame- you will perceive the necessity of adopting rica ; and may possibly hereafter be compared it ; and that you will believe me, when I with, and considered as preliminary to that, on most solemnly and earnestly assure you, which, unbappily, in a few months after, the that nothing but a thorough conviction or independence of ihat continent was declared on

my part, that it, or some other measure of the other. Administration now, and their numerous friends, totally changed their style and

a similar vature, is the only possible means language upon that subject. All modifications now left, of averting the destruction which were laid aside; all foriner opinions and decla. seems suspended over the heads of the rations done away; conciliation, they said, people of this devoted unhappy country. was little less than impracticable; and that if It is formed on the principles of humanity, any thing could be ailded to the difficulties equity, and sound policy, and opens, of such a scheme, it would be by concession. door for settling the differences now subThe tone of the House of Lords was much sisting between both countries, on terms higher than that of the House of Commons had of lasting amity, founded in reciprocal afever been, although the language was grown fection, and cemented by mutual interest. much more firm and determined there also than it had been at the beginning of the session. It will be the means of sheathing, she No alternative now seemed 10 be left between swords now drawn, perhaps never again to absolute conquest and unconditional submis- be returned to the scabbard, till a deluge sion.” Annual Register.

of blood is spilt, and either Great Britain

[ocr errors]

or America, or both, are brought into such those dark and dangerous designs, which a state as may inevitably produce their every now and then betray themselves to separate or total destruction. I contem- public view, and which create the justest plate with horror the consequences of the jealousies and suspicions in the breast of bloody conflict, should matters be pushed every man who is not callous to the inteto extremities; in the event of so many rests of this devoted country. When I thousand men being drawn up against each framed the motion with which I shall conother, when, on whichever side victory clude, I avoided all specifications, because may declare, all true friends of their coun- I meant it as a general resolution, to be try, will have the most just and melancholy taken up and considered by your lordships cause of grief and mourning. I would in a committee, in order, if you should therefore appeal to your lordships' huma- think necessary, that you might decide on nity, on this supremely critical and im- particulars, agree upon some specific terms, portant occasion; and implore your inter- some ultimatum to be proposed to the ference, for the purpose of averting such colonies, or determine on some general redire calamities, particularly, when your solution to be communicated to the other lordships shall take the additional circum- House of Parliament for their concurrence, stance into consideration, that the most as a basis for conciliation or concession. complete success on our part, will produce By this means America might know what no other effect, than wasting our own she had to depend on, and decide accordstrength ; and that the blood thus shed ingly. You would remove that cause, will not be that of your natural enemies, which she assigns for her present want of but of your fellow-subjects, of your bre confidence in general assurances, in mithren, of Britons, of a people united with nisterial promises, in loose and undefined you by every tie of fraternal affection, claims, which every successive administraevery motive of common interest, and tion have explained their own way, and every principle of common defence, pro: scarcely any two of the members of the tection, and support.

present seem to be agreed in. As the In point of equity, my lords, I believe, doctrine of unconditional submission is since the new doctrine of an unconditional avowed by the noble lord alluded to, as submission has been broached by a noble the same doctrine has been since repeated lord (George Germaine) in another in this House by persons who, though not House ; (for I affirm, till he was called to in responsible offices, are nearly connected office, it was never openly maintained in with those in power, another view I had parliament) your lordships will be of opi- in submitting the present motion, was to nion, that it would be but equitable to let induce ministers to speak out, to say fairly the people of America know what are now whether their long harangues or intended the sentiments of this country; because, reconciliation, their determinations to con.. by knowing our ultimatum, they will have cede in some particulars, are all forgotten, it in their power either to agree to it, or to or laid aside ; and whether they have any risk the consequences of resistance. I measures, short of unconditional submisremember, at the opening of this session, a sion, to propose. Should they chuse to be very different language was held. The silent on this head, and in consequence idea of taxation was denied or modified. thereof reject this proposition, I shall then A noble lord in the other House, who understand them as clearly as if they had presides at the head of the national spoken out. I shall then be fully confinances, disclaimed any such intention. vinced that unconditional submission is A noble lord in this House, whom I now what they have ultimately in view; that see in his place (lord Dartmouth) who the bloody conflict, 1 fear, long determined hen filled a responsible office in adminis, on, will follow ; and that the present dis. ration, and who, perhaps, for the reason I pute between both countries is to be deIm going to assign, was not thought so cided by the force of arms. Before I conproper a person to carry the designs of go- clude this head, I should wish to be underernment into execution, repeatedly as- stood that I cannot pay the least attention ured this House, that no intention was to any explanation, purporting that the ntertained by administration of " sub- objects pursued by administration have luing America.” I would appeal to your been the same from the beginning ; that ordships, if the newly adopted system has they are still willing to sheathe the sword, lot an appearance full of mischief, and big and listen to the terms of accommodation. with that over-ruling secret influence, Such a conclusion is absurd and impossi(VOL. XVIII.]

[ 4 L)

ble in the nature of things. The speech, have this day troubled your lordships. If I allow, held out this idea ; the proposi- your lordships should not think proper to tion called the Conciliatory Proposition, propose any ultimatum, my motion will framed by a noble lord in the other House, have this very salutary effect; it will furwas, it is plain, short of unconditional nish America with an opportunity of presubmission. The Bill for interdicting all venting the present calamities, which they commerce with America, known by the must in all events unavoidably feel; it will name of the Capture Act, had a clause to give them an opportunity of averting that wards the end of it, which corresponded cloud which hangs suspended over their with the intentions declared in the speech. heads and threatens them with destrucBy this clause a power was vested in the tion; it will be but a fair and equitable esKing to appoint commissioners to treat periment, by way of warning; and if they with the colonies to receive submissions should refuse to offer any proposition, or and to grant pardons. I was not present tender such only as are inconsistent with at the time this Bill was debated on the the dignity and rights of this legislature, second reading; but though the system and the interests of the empire at large, it which appears now to govern administra- will produce this other very beneficial contion, was not then openly avowed, it is sequence; it will unite this country in plain that the person (supposed to mean support of measures, which are far from lord Mansfield] who advised or framed being universally approved; and vindicate this clause, and who, I presume, has had the justice and honour of the nation, not the chief hand in directing and advising only in the opinion of its own subjects, the present measures from their com- but in that of all Europe. mencement, by his personal influence, As to the policy of the present conflict, though not called by his office to a parti- I shall say very little, having before so cipation of this species of power, had a frequently expressed myself on the subview to that unconditional submission ject. But I think administration should which is now contended for. I was in the have the most unequivocal proofs of the country when this Act first came to my disposition of foreign powers before they hands, and on comparing the King's blindly rushed into a civil war. I have speech with the clause, I must own I was been a considerable time conversant in astonished. What does the clause say? matters of this kind. I know the stress That commissioners are to be appointed, that ought to be laid on the language and that is all. What are they to do? To usually held by ambassadors. I know what receive submissions. Does it state what credit ought to be given to the general asconditions, or indeed provide for any con- surances of foreign courts. I am convincdition at all? Have the commissioners the ed that they are very little to be relied on, least shadow of power by this Act, to if not accompanied by confidential engagemake any concession whatever ? None; ments, and a thorough knowledge of the the alternative is resistance, or uncondi- state of those countries, from which we tional submission; an eternal war and re- have most to dread: not from their pacific sistance on one hand, till both or either declarations so much as from their known party, are destroyed; or that America inability to injure. The former may serve, shall instantly disarm, surrender, and sub nay, experience in all ages has proved too mit. On this ground, my lords, I thought frequently, has served only to amuse and it proper to give an opportunity to your deceive. The latter, therefore, in my opilordships, to effectuate his Majesty's gra- nion, can only promise that kind of secacious intentions declared in his speech; rity, which a wise minister will always deand the great ostensible object of the mand before he undertakes any measure Capture Bill, which was to coerce Ame- which may render the nation vulnerable to rica by destroying her frade, if she ob- its natural enemies.

The powers, my, stinately persisted not to agree to such lords, which I allude to, are those of terms of accommodation as the British France and Spain. None of your lordparliament, in conjunction with his Ma- ships can be ignorant that they are now jesty, might think most conducive to the collecting a great naval and military force securing the claims of this country, the to be employed somewhere; and I think subordinate constitutional rights of Ame- it my duty to state to your lordships a rica, and the future permanent happiness piece of information which I have little and interests of both. It is solely to ob- reason to doubt, and which, if true, must tain those very desirable objects, that I be the subject of great and just alarm to

[ocr errors]

your lordships, and point out the caution | Majesty, or any person or persons apand reserve with which any general assur- pointed and authorized by his Majesty, io ances received by our ministers ought to grant pardons, and to issue proclamations, be depended on or trusted to. The infor- in the cases and for the purposes therein mation, my lords, is shortly this ; that two mentioned ;' and setting forth in such peFrench gentlemen, towards the close of tition, which is to be transmitted to his last summer, went to America, and had a Majesty; what they consider to be their conference with general Washington at just rights and real grievances, that in such the provincial camp, who referred them case his Majesty will consent to a suspento the continental congress, whither they sion of arms; and that his Majesty has immediately repaired. On the whole, my authority from his parliament to assure lords, whether you consider the present them, that such their petition shall be remeasures in the light of humanity, equity, ceived, considered, and answered.” or sound policy, I trust your lordships The Earl of Dartmouth. The noble will agree with me, that the means of duke having alluded to me personally, it is conciliation are still within our reach, and necessary for me to say a few words, as to that nothing but the most urgent necessity my own particular sentiments. His grace should compel us to embrue our hands in has quoted my words, in a former debate, the blood of our fellow subjects, at the to shew what was my then opinion, and risk of ruining our commerce, and of in- how far administration had changed theirs volving ourselves in a war with the united since I quitted the office I had then the strength of the House of Bourbon. For honour to fill. For my part, I do not at this purpose I move, “ That an humble all doubt but the expression adverted to, Address be presented to his Majesty, be might have fallen from me; nor do I seeching him, that in order to prevent the mean to disavow it now. My opinion further effusion of blood, and to manifest both then and now, was, that it was nei. how desirous the king of Great Britain ther the interest nor the wish of this coun. and his parliament are to restore peace to try, to make a conquest of America. If all parts of the dominions of his Majesty's that be what the noble duke means by un. crown, and how earnestly they wish to re- conditional submission, I am sure I should dress any real grievances of his Majesty's be far from approving of it; but if uncona subjects, his Majesty would be graciously ditional submission be a resolution on our pleased to issue his royal proclamation; part, not to cease hostilities till America declaring, that in case the colonies, within submits so far as to acknowledge the su. a'reasonable time before or after the arrival preme authority of this country, I am still of the troops destined for America, shall consistent; for I ever was, and ever shall present a petition to the commander in be of opinion, that this country cannot, with chief in America, or to the commissioner propriety, concede, nor can we, consistent or commissioners to be appointed by his with the essential interests of this country, Majesty under the authority of an Act, in- consent to lay down our arms, till the cotitled, An Act to prohibit all trade and lonies own our legislative sovereignty ; and intercourse with the colonies of New by acts of duty and obedience, shew Hampshire, Massachusets Bay, Rhode such a disposition, as will entitle them to Island, Connecticut, New York, New the favour and protection of the parent Jersey, Pensylvania, the three lower coun. state. Besides, I do not hold it perfectly ties on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, fair or parliamentary, to bind a person to North Carolina, South Carolina, and expressions and opinions given in one Georgia, during the continuance of the situation of affairs, when that situation present rebellion within the said colonies comes to be materially altered. I was respectively; for repealing an Act, made willing to suppose, that the disorders in in the 14th year of the reign of his present that country were local, and had chiefly Majesty, to discontinue the landing and pervaded the hearts of an inconsiderable discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, number of men, who were only formidable, wares, and merchandize, at the town and because they possessed the power of facwithin the harbour of Boston, in the pro- tious delusion and imposition. I all along vince of Massachuset's Bay;' and also two expected, that the body of the people, Acts, made in the last session of parlia- when they came to view the consequences ment, for restraining the trade and com- attentively, would soon perceive the danger merce of the colonies in the said Acts re- in which they were precipitating themspectively mentioned; and to enable his selves, and return to their duty. Urged by those expectations, I was anxious to sert our rights; or that we are conscious treat them with tenderness, and even of our inability to assert them? I am sure to give way to their prejudices, so far as it will have that appearance; and will be it could be done with safety. What has so interpreted by the people of America. been the consequence? They have treated I would further recommend to your lordthose marks of favour as so many indica- ships to consider, that although the intions of national imbecility; they have tended force should be sent out, as I hope abused this lenity in proportion as it has and trust it will, that will not preclude an been liberally and affectionately exercised; accommodation; it will not prevent us from and have imputed our humanity and for- hearkening to their propositions. It may bearance, not to motives of tenderness be the means of restoring the colonies to and maternal affection, but to a timid back- their senses ; but it will never prevent us wardness and want of ability to assert our from granting such terms as we may deem rights. The noble duke grounds his mo. consistent with the dignity of parliament tion on motives of humanity, equity, and and the rights of the parent state. Howpolicy. I will venture to contend, that ever, as the noble duke has framed his moneither the noble duke nor any other lord tion, and supported it by arguments which in this House, is more warmly inclined to seem to imply an alternative of war, for humane measures than am. But does his the purpose of conquest, or unconditional grace's motion promise to promote huma submission, I would wish to move the prenity? I am sure it does not; for if there be vious question, in preference to a direct any thing at all in the tenderness he has ex- negative; and I will state to your lordpressed, or the horrors he has described ships the reason why I prefer the former, at the thoughts of the effusion of human though I do not at all agree with his grace, blood, the surest way to prevent a cala- that a negative to his motion would shew mity, which I as earnestly deprecate as that it was the intention or desire of this any lord in this House, will be to send House to insist on an unconditional subthe armaments, now destined for that mission, in the exact terms he has decountry, with all possible expedition. scribed it. My reason is, lest such an Their fears may exact a conduct, which I idea should get out, and prevail either am well persuaded their duty or obedience here or in America. Neverthelesss if any would never have inspired. They will of your lordships should think otherwise, I be convinced, that we have the ability, as am very willing to withdraw the previous well as the inclination, to compel them to question ; for whether the motion is neacknowledge the true subordinate and gatived in one way or the other, if that constitutional relation they bear to the should be the event of it, I am determined, mother-country. So that uniting with for my own part, to give it a negative; the noble duke on the principle of hu- because I am convinced it may be promanity, but differing on the means, I am ductive of great evil, by interrupting the of opinion, that the only sure and solid line of public measures already agreed on, way of averting the evils of civil war, will and can produce no one good consequence colonies into submission ; as will lay a "The Duke of Manchester. The prelasting basis for the future security of the sent state of public affairs, my lords, wheconstitutional rights of that country, the ther considered in the gross or detail, afsupreme legislative controlling authority fords sufficient reason for every man who of this, and the general interests of the feels for the dignity, honour, and inwhole empire. In my opinion, every one terests of his country, to be most seof those objects would be defeated, should riously alarmed. The very great expence the motion receive your lordships' appro- with which the present measures must bation. What does it import? That you necessarily be attended; the uncertainty shall immediately address his Majesty, of the real disposition of foreign powers; that a royal proclamation be issued, to and the present state of our navy, which I suspend alí future hostilities, in order to am assured, is far from being in that rewait the effect such a proclamation may spectable situation your lordships have have in America. Will not this be pur- been given to understand by the noble suing that plan of mistaken lenity which lord who presides at the head of that de has been complained of as one source of partment, all united, give just cause for our present situation? Will it not be considering the present question, and ad. fairly declaring that we are afraid to as- verting to the dangerous consequences

« ZurückWeiter »