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sooth, in his usual negligence, avowed, Mr. Solicitor General Wedderburn went that when he was pursuing a measure of upon a proposition of quieting the merthe last degree of importance, though it chants, by passing a law, obliging the se. were treasonable in him, (the strength of veral provinces in America to pay the rethe words he afterwards disavowed) yet spective debts due by the inhabitants of he thought it would be blameable in him the said provinces, to the merchants of so much as to enquire what the effects this country. were to be of his measures. He believed Lord North said the question had been it was the first time any minister dared to so fully discussed, that it would be preavow that he thought it his duty not to en- sumption in him to rise at that late hour quire into the effects of his measures ; but of the night, to trespass on the indulgence it was suitable to the whole of the noble of the House; he should therefore decline lord's conduct, who had no system or plan it: but he thought it nevertheless incumof conduct, no knowledge of business ; bent on him, to say a word in answer to that he had often declared his unfitness for some insinuations, and some general his station, and he agreed that his conduct charges made against him by two honourjustified his declaration; and that the able gentlemen [Messrs. Burke and Fox.] country was incensed, and on the point of He observed, that those gentlemen conbeing involved in a civil war by his inca- stantly made a point, not even of attackpacity. He pledged himself to join Mr. ing, but threatening him. As to general Burke, in pursuing him, and bringing him charges, he could only answer them in geto answer the mischiefs occasioned by his neral terms; and when that black, bitter, negligence, his inconsistency, and his in- trying day should come, which had been capacity: he said not this from resent. propliesied by one of those gentlemen, and ment, but from a conviction of the de- that he should bring any particular charge structive proceedings of a bad minister. against him, he trusted he should be able

Colonel Barré began with a short and to give it a particular answer. As to the spirited history of the late parliament, other, who found so many causes of cenwho, he said, commenced their political sure, and who disclaimed all resentment, life with a violation of the sacred right of he was sure, though he now discovered in election in the case of Middlesex ; they him so much incapacity and negligence, had died in the act of popery, when they there was a time, when he approved of at established the Roman Catholic religion least some part of his conduct. in Canada; and they had left a rebellion Lord George Germaine began with a in America as a legacy. He asserted, in justification of the last parliament; and infavour of the Americans, that they drew a sisted that in their proceedings towards just and reasonable line, which had been America, they had gone upon sufficient a line of peace, and would be so again, if information. "He made a strong declama. we had sense enough to return to it. The tion on dignity. His lordship mentioned Americans, he insisted on it, required no the Declaratory Act, professing not to admore; and they had too much justice on dress himself to those who denied our their side, to be satisfied with less. He right to tax America, but to those who flatly denied that they had objected to the favoured that Act; they, his lordship in. Declaratory Act ; and for proof he refer- sisted, were

bound to support the idea of red to Mr. Dickenson’s pamphlet, entitled subduing America ; the confession of the A New Essay,” &c. on which he passed right implied the propriety and necessity the strongest eulogium. He concluded of exercising it. If the Americans, pointwith a story which his friend Mr. Burke's ing the late Acts out as a grievance

, archer had put him in mind of; than would petition for their repeal, he would which nothing could be more apposite. stretch forth the first hand to present it

; There was another story, he said, of the but,

on the contrary, if they claimed such famous William Tell, who being ordered repeal as a right, thereby disputing the to shoot an apple off his child's head, authority of the mother country, which no effectually did it, and the tyrant who had reasonable man ever called in question, given the inhuman command, seeing him he wished the said Acts might be enforced draw out another arrow, said to him, with a Roman severity. « What, another arrow ?“ Oui, dit-il, Mr. Fox, in reply to lord North, said: il y a une autre; et c'est pour toi, tyran, That my private resentments have not al destinée.” Yes

, tyrant, another arrow, fected my public conduct, will be readily and it is destined for thee!

believed, when I might have long since

justly charged the noble lord, with the sons who signed one of the papers premost unexampled treachery and falshood. sented to the House, by the lord North, -Here Mr. Fox was called to order, and upon Thursday last, by his Majesty's the House grew clamorous. He sat down command, intituled, “ Petition of sundry twice or thrice, and on rising each time, persons, on behalf of themselves and the repeated the same words; but at length, inhabitants of several of his Majesty's coassuring the House he would abstain from lonies in America,” to procure the said every thing personal, he was permitted to paper to be presented to his Majesty; and proceed. He then repeated' his former praying, that they may be heard at the charges of negligence, incapacity, and in- bar of this House; in support thereof, consistency; and added, that though he being offered to be presented to the House. at one time approved of part of the noble The question being put, that the said lord's conduct, he never approved of it Petition be brought up; the House diall; of which a stronger proof could not vided. Yeas 68, Noes 218. be given, than that he differed from him. Petitions from the merchants of Livera He charged all the present disputes with pool; manufacturers of Manchester; traders America, to his negligence and incapacity, of Wolverhampton, &c. relating to the and instanced his inconsistency in the trade of North America, were presented case of the Middlesex election. It was and referred to the same committee that true, he said, the noble lord had often con- the petitions from London were. fessed his incapacity, and from a consciousness of it, pretended a willingness Jan. 27. The committee appointed to to resign; but the event had proved that take the Petitions of the merchants into whatever his consciousness might have consideration, sat. The committee were been, his love of the emoluments of office informed that Mr. Thomas Wooldridge had completely conquered ii.

from the committee of London merchants, Lord North replied, that the high post who had petitioned, attended. He was he now occupied was not of his own seek called to the bar; and addressed the ing, but was submitted to, because he House in the following words : “ I am dithought it his duty to obey the commands rected by the committee of merchants, laid on him ; that whatever interpretation traders, and others, of the city of London, might be put by the honourable gentle concerned in the commerce of America, man, he well knew, that it was no desire of to represent to this honourable committee, his to retain his present situation : that that merchants revealing at this bar the that hon. gentleman was no stranger to state of their affairs is a measure which all how he had been tried on many critical would wish to avoid, unless upon such occasions, particularly when we were great occasions as the present, where the threatened with a Spanish war, in the af- public weal is evidently at stake, when fairs of the East India Company, &c. their duty as good subjects requires it of Mr. Burke rose to explain, but the them: but when the mode of examination clamour and call to order was so great is such as totally precludes them from anthat he was obliged to sit down unheard ; swering the great public object, which in to use his own words, in a “ torrent of their opinion is clearly the case at present; candour, and a storm of moderation." they beg leave humbly to signify, that The House then divided on the motion they wave appearing before the committee for the discharge of the order. The Yeas which has been appointed; and that the went forth.

merchants are not under any apprehenTellers.

sions respecting their American debts, Yeas Mr. Alderman Hayley

unless the means of remittance should

} 89 be cut off by measures that may be adopted Mr. Dundas

in Great Britain.” $250

The committee broke up, and the

Speaker resumed the chair. So it passed in the negative. After which the Petition was ordcred to lie on

Another petition from Birmingham was presented, of the same nature with those

from London, Bristol, &c. setting forth Sir George Savile presented a l'etition the hardships of the petitioners, if the from William Bollan, Benjamin Franklin, trade to North America is not restored. and Arthur Lee, esquires, stating them- This petition was a counter-petition to the selves to have been authorized by the per other from the same place, and said to be

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Mr. Byng

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the table..

(VOL. XVIII.]

from sundry merchants, factors and manu- ment; for, by a conversation he had facturers and others interested in the trade lately with a lord of the Treasury, he was to North America.

acquainted that a petition to lord North

would be much better, he being the only Jan. 31. Mr. Edmund Burke moved, person that could give them redress ; and “ That it be an instruction to the com- that, to his certain knowledge, there was mittee of the whole House, to whom the at that time in the House of Commons, petition of the merchants, traders and four members to one determined to exeothers, of the city of London, concerned cute the laws in force against America. in the commerce of North America, is re- In this manner did Dr. Roebuck endeaferred, that they do enquire into the man- vour to hinder the people from petitioning ner of procuring and signing the petition parliament; but, notwithstanding his en of the inhabitants of the town and neigh-deavours, a committee was appointed, and bourhood of Birmingham, which was pre- a petition prepared, which, after a few sented to the House upon Wednesday last; amendments, met with almost universal apand also the petition of sundry merchants, probation, and public notice, by adver. factors, and manufacturers, of Birming. tisement, was repeatedly given, that it lay ham, in the county of Warwick, on be at the Dolphin in Birmingham to be signed. half of themselves and others in that neigh-In the interim the petition in question was bourhood, who are interested in the trade procured by Dr. Roebuck, and carried from thence to North America, which was about from house to house clandestinely, presented to the House upon Friday last; without the least notice, to be signed.” and how far the persons severally signing Mr. Rice objected to the motion, bethe same are concerned in the trade to cause the Petition in question, according North America.”

to his opinion, contained more good sense This brought on a debate respecting and sound policy than all the other Petithe manner in which the Petitions had tions put together. been signed, and by whom : that the first Mr. Burke desired to know whether it petition from Birmingham was signed by was sound policy for merchants to wish to persons not concerned in the trade to go to war with the people with whom they North America, and therefore ought not dealt? to have the least weight with parliament; Sir John Wrottesley should agree to the that the second petition from Birmingham motion, as he was certain it would redound being signed by the persons really inte to the petitioners' honour; at the same rested, merited a serious consideration. time he begged leave to remind the House,

Sir W. Bagot opposed the motion. that the trade of the neighbourhood of

Mr. Burke replied, that the persons who Birmingham was far more extensive than signed the first petition were not in the that of Birmingham itself. He asked Mr. least concerned in the trade to North Burke, whether he was ready to discuss the America, and that they chiefly consisted Bristol Petition ? Mr. Burke replied, yes. of shopkeepers. He then read a paper, Mr. Fox observed, that if any gentlecontaining an account of the manner in men suggested, that the Bristol Petition which the petition was procured, viz. was surreptitiously obtained, and offered “ On the 11th Jan. 1775, a meeting of the to prove it, the House ought to hear merchants, traders, &c. of Birmingham, it; but that it came with an ill grace from was held, to consider of proper methods ministry, to say, that the motives and manto be pursued on account of the alarming ner of obtaining petitions, was not to be situation of their trade, when it was unani. considered, when their only answer to the 'mously resolved to wait and see what the Petitions disapproving their conduct, was North American merchants in London did, that they were surreptitiously obtained ; and to be guided by them. On the 17th that indeed there was one difference beanother meeting was held, when it was tween the ministers' imputation and Mr. likewise resolved to "petition parliament. Burke's charge ; theirs was a mere volunAt this meeting a Mr. Bolton said, he did tary suggestion of their own; Mr. Burke not think petitioning would have any good offered proof of his. effect; but he had a friend next him, Dr. Mr. T. Townshend was for the motion, Roebuck, who knew more of the matter. saying, that if the allegations set forth Dr. Roebuck, after apologizing for his were true, the persons guilty of procuring neither being a trader nor inhabitant, de- such a Petition ought to be looked on as sired them by no means to petition parlia- criminals.

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Sir Gilbert Elliot contended, that the opinion, carried so much more importance persons who petitioned had not been guilty with it, he should give his hearty affirmaof the least fraud, for they stiled them- tive to the motion. selves only the inhabitants of the town The House divided. The Yeas went and neighbourhood of Birmingham; and forth. certainly no gentleman would deny but

Tellers.
the petitioners were inhabitants, if not
traders.

Yeas
ŞMr. Fox

37

Lord Lumley Mr. Burke admitted they might be in

Lord Lisburne habitants, but contended that the counter- Noes

85 petition, delivered on the 27th, of “ the

Lord Guernsey principal merchants, traders, manufac- So it passed in the negative. turers, and factors of Birmingham,” ought to have a preference to that of the inha. Debate in the Lords on the Earl of bitants only.*

Chatham's Provisional Act for settling the Sir Edward Astley observed, that had Troubles in America.] Feb. 1. The Earl there not been a counter-petition, he of Chatham presented to the House a Bill, should have given a negative to the mointituled, “ A Provisional Act for settling tion, but as the counter-petition, in his the troubles in America, and for asserting

the supreme legislative authority, and suThe thanks of the merchants, traders, and perintending power of Great Britain over the trade to America, were given to Mr. Burke the colonies,” of which the following is an for his conduct in this business. The following is a copy of the letter of thanks :

A Provisional Act for settling the “ To Edmund Burke, Esq.

Troubles in America, and for assert. "Sir; Birmingbam, Feb. 8, 1775.

ing the Supreme Legislative autho" The merchants and manufacturers wbo

rity and superintending power of have had a principal share of the American

Great Britain over the Colonies. trade from this town and neighbourhood, beg your acceptance, through our hands, of their clared, that parliament has full power and

Whereas by an Act 6 Geo. 3, it is desupport of our petition to the honourable House authority to make laws and statutes to of Commous, wherein are stated the evils we bind the people of the colonies, in all already feel, and the greater we have yet to ap- cases whatsoever; and whereas reiterated prebend from a continued stagnation of so im- complaints and most dangerous disorders portant a branch of our commerce as that with have grown, touching the right of taxation North America.

claimed and exercised over America, to " At the same time we also unite in express the disturbance of peace and good order ing our particular thanks for the motion you there, and to the actual interruption of the was pleased to make for an enquiry into the manner of both the late petitions from the town due intercourse from Great Britain and of Birmingham having been obtained, an en- Ireland to the colonies, deeply affecting quiry which could scarcely bave failed to give the navigation, trade, and manufactures of

some useful intelligence, and have fully jus- this kingdom and of Ireland, and announc1

tified our application to parliament at so critical ing farther an interruption of all exports a joncture.

from the said colonies to Great Britain, "We cannot wonder, Sir, that defamation Ireland, and the British Islands in Ameshould bave made its appearance on such an rica : now, for prevention of these ruinous dence of a weak cause, and whose mischiets mischiefs, and in order to an equitable, We are persuaded will be as transient as its honourable, and lasting settlement of efforts have been intemperate.

claims not sufficiently ascertained and cir. We only take the liberty, therefore, of cumscribed, May it please your most ex. adding our sincere wishes, that you may long cellent Majesty, that it may be declared, fill your distinguished place in the British And be it declared by the King's most exSenate, and that your persevering endeavours cellent Majesty, by and with the advice to preserve the rights of the subject, to main and consent of the Lords spiritual and tain the prosperity of our commerce, and to temporal and Commons in this present triotic zeal with which they are animated. rity of the same, that the colonies of Amemeio meet with a success adequate to the pa parliament assembled, and by the authoBeing with the greatest regard,

rica have been, are, and of right ought to " Sir, your's, &c." be dependent upon the imperial crown of

that purpose.

Great Britain, and subordinate unto the according to law, can ever be lawfully British parliament, and that the King's employed to violate and destroy the just most excellent Majesty, by and with the rights of the people. advice and consent of the Lords spiritual Moreover, in order to remove for ever and temporal and Commons in parliament all causes of pernicious discord, and in due assembled, had, hath, and of right ought contemplation of the vast increase of posto have, full power and authority to make sessions and population in the colonies; laws and statutes of sufficient force and and having a heart to render the condition validity to bind the people of the British of so great a body of industrious subjects colonies in America, in all matters touch- there more and more happy, by the sacred. ing the general weal of the whole dominion ness of property and of personal liberty, of the imperial crown of Great Britain, of more extensive and lasting utility to the and beyond the competency of the local parent kingdom, by indissoluble ties of representative of a distant colony; and mutual affection, confidence, trade and most especially an indubitable and indis- reciprocal benefits, be it declared and pensable right to make and ordain laws enacted, by the King's most excellent for regulating navigation and trade through- Majesty, by and with the advice and con. out the complicated system of British sent of the Lords spiritual and temporal commerce ; the deep policy of such pru. and Commons in this present parliament dent acts upholding the guardian navy of assembled, and it is hereby declared and the whole British empire; and that all enacted by the authority of the same, subjects in the colonies are bound in duty That no tallage, tax, or other charge for and allegiance duly to recognize and obey his Majesty's revenue, shall be commanded (and they are hereby required so to do) or levied, from British freemen in America, the supreme legislative authority and su- without common consent, by act of properintending power of the parliament of vincial assembly there, duly convened for Great Britain, as aforesaid.

And whereas, in a Petition from Ame- And it is hereby further declared and rica to his Majesty, it has been represented enacted, by the King's most excellent that the keeping a standing army within Majesty, by and with the advice and con, any of the colonies, in time of peace, sent of the Lords spiritual and temporal without consent of the respective provin- and Commons in this present parliament cial assembly there, is against law : be it assembled, and by the authority of the declared by the King's most excellent same, that it shall and may be lawful for Majesty, by and with the consent of the delegates from the respective provinces, Lords spiritual and temporal and Com- lately assembled at Philadelphia, to meet mons in this present parliament assembled, in general congress at the said city of Phithat the Declaration of Right, at the ever- ladelphia, on the 9th of May next ensuing, glorious Revolution, namely, “ That the in order then and there to take into consiraising and keeping a standing army within deration the making due recognition of the the kingdom, in time of peace, unless it supreme legislative authority and superinbe by the consent of parliament, is against tending power of parliament over the colaw,” having reference only to the con- lonies as aforesaid. sent of the parliament of Great Britain, the And moreover, may it please your most legal, constitutional, and hitherto unques- excellent Majesty, that the said delegates, tioned prerogative of the crown, to send to be in congress assembled in manner any part of such army, so lawfully kept, aforesaid, may be required, and the same to any of the British dominions and pos- are hereby required, by the King's Majesty sessions, whether in America or elsewhere sitting in his parliament, to take into conas his Majesty, in due care of his subjects, sideration (over and above the usual charge may judge necessary for the security for support of civil government in the reand protection of the same, cannot be spective colonies) the making a free grant rendered dependant upon the consent of a to the King, his heirs, and successors, of a provincial assembly in the colonies, without certain perpetual revenue, subject to the a most dangerous innovation, and deroga- disposition of the British parliament, to be tion from the dignity of the imperial crown by them appropriated as they in their wise of Great Britain. Nevertheless, in order dom shall judge fit, to the alleviation of to quiet and dispel groundless jealousies the national debt: no doubt being had but and fears, be it hereby declared, that no this just, free aid, will be in such honourmilitary force, however raised, and kept able proportion as may seem meet and

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