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believe will happen, unless the harmony | Majesty's command, relative to the Disthat subsisted a few years ago between turbances in North America. this kingdom and the provinces of Ame- Lord North recapitulated the informarica, to the infinite advantage of both, be tion contained in the papers; discriminated restored, the islands, which are supplied the temper of the colonies; pointed out with most of their subsistence from thence, those where moderation prevailed, and will be reduced to the utmost distress, and where violence was concealed under the the trade between all the islands and this appearance of duty and submission; and kingdom will of course be obstructed, to named such as he thought were in a state the diminution of the public revenue, to of actual rebellion. He spoke of arts the extreme injury of a great number of which he asserted were employed on both planters, and to the great prejudice of the sides the Atlantic to raise this seditious merchants, not only by the said obstruc- spirit. ' He drew a comparison between tion, but also by the delay of payment of the burdens borne by the people of Great the principal and interest of an immense Britain and those of America. The annual debt due from the former to the latter; taxes paid by the inhabitants of Great and therefore praying the House, to take Britain, he said, amounted to ten millions into their most serious consideration that sterling, exclusive of the expences of colgreat political system of the colories here- lection; and the number of inhabitants of tofore so very beneficial to the mother Great Britain he supposed to be eight country and her dependencies, and adopt millions, therefore every inhabitant paid such measures as to them shall seem meet, at least 25 shillings annually. The total to prevent the evils with which the peti- taxes of the continent of America amount tioners are threatened, and to preserve to no more than 75,000l. ; the number of the intercourse between the West India inhabitants of America were three millions, islands and the northern colonies, to the therefore an inhabitant of America paid ro general harmony and lasting benefit of more than sixpence annually. He then the whole British empire; and that they proceeded to lay down the legislative may be heard, by themselves, their agents, supremacy of parliament; stated the meaer counsel, in support of their Petition.” sures adopted by America to resist it, and
Ordered to be referred to the consider the almost universal confederacy of the ation of the committee on the Petition of colonies in that resistance. Here, he said, the merchants of London, concerned in he laid his foot on the great barrier, which the commerce of North America.
separated, and for the present disunited
both countries; and on this ground alone Debate in the Commons on an Address of resistance and denial, he raised every to the King upon the Disturbances in argument leading to the motion he intended North America.*] Feb. 2. The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House,t to consider of the several events, I fancy I shall try to expose myself:
make no very intolerable speaker. At all Papers presented to the House, by his
Semper ego auditor tantum ? Nunquamne * Previous to the debate, the avenues leading
reponam ?' to the House were so extremely crowded, that For my own part, I am more and more conthere was not room for the members to pass. vinced that we have both the right and the Complaint being made, the lobby and the gal power on our side, and that, though the effort lery were cleared, and none were allowed to may be accompanied with some melancholy remain, the Irisb'members excepted.
circumstances, we are now arrived at the de
cisive moment of preserving, or of losing for † Mr. Gibbon to Mr. Holroyd. Boodle's, ever, both our trade and empire. We expect
“ Sometimes people do not next Thursday or Friday to be a rery great write because they are too idle, and sometimes day. Hithertó we have been chiefly employed because they are too busy. The former was in reading papers, and rejecting petitions. Peusually my case, but at present it is the latter. Litions were brought from London, Bristol
, The fate of Europe and America seems fully Norwich, &c. framed by party, and designed suficient to take up the time of one man ; and to delay. By the aid of some parliamentary especially of a man who gives up a great deal quirks, they have been all referred to a sepaof time for the purpose of public and private rate inactive committee, which Burke calls a nformation. I think I have sucked Mauduit committee of oblivion, and are now considered and Hutcheson very dry; and if my confi- as dead in law. Our general divisions are dence was equal to my eloquence
, and my elo- about 250 to 80 or 90."* Gibbon's Miscellaquence to my knowledge, perhaps I might neous Works, vol. 1, p. 483.
Jan. 31, 1775.
to make; which he said would be for an constitution of Great Britain; to declare Address to the King, and for a conference that we can never so far desert the trust with the Lords, that it might be the joint reposed in us, as to relinquish any part of address of both Houses. He hinted, that the sovereign authority over all his. Mathe measures intended to be pursued, in jesty's dominions, which by law is vested case the King should comply with their in his Majesty and the two Houses of Paraddress, were, to send more force; to liament; and that the conduct of many bring in a temporary Act to put a stop to persons, in several of the colonies, during all the foreign trade of New England, par- the late disturbances, is alone sufficient to ticularly to their fishery on the banks of convince us how necessary this power is, Newfoundland, till they returned to their for the protection of the lives and fortunes duty; at the same time declaring that of all his Majesty's subjects; that we ever whenever they should acknowledge the have been, and always shall be, ready to supreme authority of the British legislature, pay attention and regard to any real griev pay obedience to the laws of this realm, ances of any of his Majesty's subjects and make a due submission to the King, which shall in a dutiful and constitutiona their real grievances, upon their making manner be laid before us; and whenever proper application, should be redressed. ) any of the colonies shall make a prope His lordship observed, that the other colo application to us, we shall be ready to nies were not so culpable, and he hoped afford them every just and reasonable in might yet be brought to a sense of their dulgence; but that, at the same time, w duty to the mother country by more lenient consider it as our indispensable duty, hum measures. The question, he said, lay bly to beseech his Majesty, that his Ma within a very narrow compass : it was jesty will take the most effectual measure simply, whether we should abandon this to enforce due obedience to the laws an claim, and at once give up every advantage authority of the supreme legislature; an arising both from the sovereignty and the that we beg leave, in the most solem commerce, or to ensure both? Or whe. manner, to assure his Majesty, that it ther we should resort to the measures in- our fixed resolution, at the bazard of ou dispensably necessary on such an occasion lives and properties, to stand by his M He concluded with moving,
jesty, against all rebellious attempts, in th “ That an humble Address be pre- maintenance of the just rights of his M sented to his Majesty, to return his jesty and the two Houses of Parliament. Majesty our most humble thanks, for
Mr. Dunning : having been graciously pleased to communicate to this House, the several papers Sir; the noble lord has ende relating to the present state of the British voured, by every light into which he ca colonies in America, which, by his Ma- throw the question, to prove that the jesty's commands, have been laid before sistance of the Americans, though it h this House, and from which, after taking gone no further than votes and resol them into our most serious consideration, tions, is actual and open rebellion ; a we find, that a part of his Majesty's sub- we are to come to a resolution declarato jects in the province of the Massachuset's of the same idea; I think, Sir, that the Bay have proceeded so far to resist the is no difficulty in proving the direct co authority of the supreme legislature, that trary position; that the Americans a - a rebellion at this time actually exists not in rebellion, that the votes and res within the said province; and we see with lutions of the several congresses, bo the utmost concern, that they have been provincial and continental, are dece countenanced and encouraged by unlawful and moderate, though firm declarations combinations and engagements, entered the estimation in which liberty ought into by his Majesty's subjects, in several be held, and tempered with the high of the other colonies, to the injury and expressions of loyalty and duty to th oppression of many of their innocent fellow sovereign. Against what is it that tł subjects resident within the kingdom of rebel? Do they deny allegiance to Great Britain and the rest of his Majesty's Majesty ? Are they in arms in oppos dominions; this conduct on their part the King's troops By what explanat appears to us the more inexcusable, when or by what misconception their conduc we consider with how much temper his now to be branded with so violent an Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament fatal an epithet, I cannot apprehend. have acted, in support of the laws and passed Acts in the last session, which, stead of governing America, carried ty of the Americans is not that of rebellion. ranny into the bowels of America, and The error of this idea is pointed out, by overturned all legal constitution in one of simply recurring, not to the elaborate artheir provinces; and you utterly ruined guments of so learned a gentleman, but the capital of the empire in that part of to the deduction of common sense only. the world, by way of punishing the inso- The several provincial meetings have orlence of a mob. You executed those Acts dered an arrangement of the militia ; that by force of arms; the people of the colo- the fensible men hold themselves armed, Dies thinking themselves tyrannically used, accoutred, and ready for actual service; and conceiving that the nature of their de- that thirty rounds of powder and ball be pendency upon the parliament of Great provided. And the inhabitants of the coBritain was not well understood, on either lonies are so alert in obeying these orders, side of the water, in order to treat with that they go beyond their commission, this country upon such momentous points, and seize upon the King's artillery and convened a general congress; the depu- stores ; the whole continent joining in one ties met in that congress, came to resolu- universal voice of disobedience to the letions declaratory of their ideas of their gislature of this country. Now, Sir, if subinission unto Britain, full of duty and this is not rebellion, I desire the learned allegiance to the King, and respect to gentleman will explain what is rebellion. wards parliament; but as all free countries Throwing the stress of his argument on have licentious subjects, and freedom in the point of proving that the colonists sithat country is attended with licentious tuation is not that of rebellion, is implying news-papers, we, the parliament of Great that the present proposition is wrong, Britain, are to overlook the conduct of only on that account; and admitting, that the congress, and search for proofs of re- if they were in rebellion, the present meabellion among the American mobs and sures would be perfectly right. By every colony news-papers, which have actually principle of policy, we ought to render been laid before us as state papers, upon ourselves as secure as possible; and if we which we are to form our resolutions ; yet heard that such menacing circumstances in the action of those mobs, and in the ex- as I have mentioned were breaking out in pressions of these news-papers is not re- Scotland, in Ireland, or Cornwall
, would bellion to be found. And it must be by not the ministry deserve impeachment, if the most sophistical of all arguments, that they took no previous measures to smosuch a deduction is to be drawn ; a people ther those seeds of rebellion before they governed by a constitution subordinate' to grew up too powerful for resistance. our own, but the extent and powers of Should they wait till all the parties had which are unknown even to ourselves, joined, and were on one march to Lonprofessing the utmost loyalty and obe-don? The cases are similar: if the colodience to the King, and using no violence nists are allowed to proceed, they join in against his troops, nor being any where one powerful army, to resist which will be in arms, cannot, but by the utmost per- more difficult, and attended with more version of sense and expression, be deno- mischief, than to prevent the evils of such minated rebels. I insist that America is a campaign by vigorous measures, before not in a state of rebellion. I insist that their forces are in the field: I speak every appearance of riot, disorder, tumult, openly upon this point, because I am conand sedition which the noble lord has so vinced their intentions are to open hosfaithfully recounted from news.papers, tility against the troops, and to become arises not from disobedience, treason, or independent of this country; and nothing rebellion, but is created by the conduct can prevent their throwing off their alle. of those, who are anxious to establish giance, and becoming independent states, despotism; and whose views are mani- and this country lusing all the commercial festly directed to reduce America to the advantages from them she ever enjoyed, most abject state of servility, as a prelude but a vigorous adherence to the measures to the realizing the same wicked system in now proposed. the mother country.
Colonel Grant said, he had served in Mr. Attorney General Thurlow :
America, and knew the Americans well,
was certain they would not fight. They Sir; the hon, and learned gentle would never dare to face an English army, man has greatly exerted his eloquence in and did not possess any of the qualificaorder to prove that the present situation tions necessary to make a good soldier ; (VOL. XVIII.)
he repeated many of their common place to adopt with unanimity any salutary proexpressions, ridiculed their enthusiasm in position, regardless of the man or party matters of religion, and drew a disagree that may suggest it. He then endeavoured able picture of their manners and ways of to vindicate the Americans, both as to living
their courage and gallantry, (in opposition Mr. Charles Fox spoke better than to the assertions of the colonel ;) the latusual. He entered fully into the question; ter he did with much good humour and pointed out the injustice, the inexpediency pleasantry, but lost his temper in the and folly of the motion ; prophesied de former, became personal, and was called feat on one side the water, and ruin and to order. He concluded with saying, that punishment on the other. He moved an as many schemes of accommodation were Amendment to omit all the motion, but talked of, he earnestly wished that some the three or four first lines, and to substi, one might be adopted which would tend tute the following words : “ But de to restore the harmony and affection that ploring that the information which they once subsisted between Great Britain and (the Papers) have afforded, serves only to her colonies, and produced so many inva. convince the House that the measures luable blessings to both. taken by his Majesty's servants tend Captain Luttrell. Notwithstanding the rather to widen than to heal the unhappy variety of opinions, information, and argudifferences, which have so long subsisted ments, we have heard from the different between Great Britain and America, and parts of this House, in the course of the praying a speedy alteration of the same.” several debates respecting our differences
Mr. Grenville spoke well in support of with America, I fear, if we venture to conthe legislative power and controuling su- sider them in a right point of view, we premacy of parliament; but entirely dis- shall find they have put this country into approved of the present measures, as a situation we are not yet sufficiently aware every way improper, intemperate and im- of, but which requires a very serious atpolitic.
tention. Sir, I know it is unfashionable, Mr. Cruger said, though interested as and by some it will be reckoned troublehe was in the business before the House, some, to talk of our marine in parliament he should have remained silent, had he in times of peace; but after the recent not conceived that an hon. gentleman proof we have had of the good disposition "(col. Grant) had thrown some undeserved of a great majority of the Commons of reflections on the Americans, which he England towards it, I have no doubt but should take some notice of before he sat they will cheerfully listen to the concerns down, but that he chose first to pay a little of the navy; and 'as the papers now lying attention to the general business. He ob- before us make it very materially neces served, that the dispute between this sary for me to mention them, I must risk country and her colonies was of such in the displeasure of a few individuals, who finite importance to both, that he hoped perhaps from interest or iniquity have he should be forgiven if he said it would shewn an inclination to keep us in the be imprudent to enter into it, but with the dark. Sir, I congratulate administration utmust caution and deliberation ; that we upon the safe arrival of one half of captain were now like men walking on the brink Le Crass's squadron at Boston, because it of a precipice; that there was danger in is attended with this fortunate circumstance, every step, and that in his opinion the that we know where to find those ships, and salvation of this country depended on the so have the power to recall them from a measures that were adopted by the House country where they must prove totally this night. He then apprized the House useless to one that may possibly need their that the settlement of the unhappy dis- protection. Sir, it seems to me very una putes between England and America did accountable, for what useful purposes not particularly concern any set of men, these two deck ships could be sent to Boswhether in or out of administration ; that ton, though I did' indeed expect in the it related to all, was connected with all
, course of the correspondence between and materially affected the interests of the vice-admiral Graves and the board of Ad. whole state. He then strongly recom- miralty, some plausible excuse would have mended to all parties to go into an exami- been offered us for disarming this country. nation of the question, free from resent. But though, Sir, in this respect, and many ment or prejudice; to consider it with im- others, these letters convey but very partiality, to discuss it with temper, and mited and insufficient information, they at least tend to authenticate my assertions. ceived for answer, that her majesty's army For, Sir, admiral Graves, in the very cu being there was the true reason ; for that rious accounts he gives us of his situation their money had found its way into the in his letters to Mr. Stephens, observes, country, which not only enabled her op[Here he read several extracts from the ponents to purchase ammunition, and all American Letters] that the only part of sorts of warlike stores, but even to hire fothe fleet he can employ in actual service, reign officers to act against her. Sir, let is the 20 gun ships and small crafts ; for us look towards America, and see if this which reason he has been obliged to pur. anecdote is not applicable to the present chase several schooners to perform the times. But, Sir, I must express my surKing's service ; that the rest of the fleet prise, when I consider our insular situaare frozen up, and reduced to act upon tion, and the true interest of this great the defensive. But, Sir, I must request, commercial country, at the precipitate that the letter of the 14th of January, and indecent manner in which the reduc. from the lords of the Admiralty to the tion of the navy at this important crisis earl of Dartmouth, may be read. Now, was determined on. Sir, a partial letter Sir, I believe there is not a member in produced from one of the ports, not the this House, that would not expect, as most considerable one neither, and a much as I did, that the information allud- lumped account of a supposed number of ed to in that letter, and the correspond seamen in that country, or in this, was all ence said to accompany it, should of the information the House seemed entitled course follow; and I had indeed some cu. to, to enable us to judge of the eligibility riosity to see by what magic art the admi- of reducing our naval force; but it is true, ral could station and dispose of a fleet, a certain noble lord did afterwards condewhich according to his account, and my scend to re-assume the subject, though in belief, may be long since locked up in the a language which appeared to me strange ice, and attackable from the shore. and ungracious. Sir, his lordship congraLoaded
waggons have been known to pass tulated us upon being able to reduce the upon the ice at Boston at this season of navy establishment to that of the year the year. But, Sir, not one line of this 1769 ; but, Sir, he very ingeniously forgot information is laid before us, though it to remind us, that there are 1,600 effecclearly relates to matters of fact, not of tive men gone in four large ships towards opinion. I conclude there are reasons of America, which are the complement of state for suppressing it, and therefore shall five sail of guard-ships, so that though the make no comments on the subject. The establishment be the same, House will draw their inferences; I, as a
force at home is already a quarter-part inseaman, know how to draw mine. Sir, if ferior to what it was in 1769; and, Sir, I the epithet of traitor be applicable to him am sorry to see this reduction made at a who feels for the commerce and persecu- time when, I believe, it is pretty well tions of America, I think the English lan- known that the Spaniards maintain a large guage wants a name for that man, who fleet, under pretence of being at war, with knowingly and wantonly disarms this the emperor of Morocco; and that the country, with no better view, nor no other | French, without paying them much comhope, than to destroy her colonies. The pliment, are not less formidable in these Americans, however, feel this consolation, seas than we are; for, Sir, from the best that every ship and every regiment you accounts I can procure at the different send to Boston, serves but to add strength ports, the numbers of seamen and marines to their cause ; for without much preten- left for the defence of this country, on sion to prophecy, I think I may venture board the several guard-ships and at quarto foretel, that the history of these dis- ters, do not exceed 6,500'effective men, sentions will be similar to that in the reign out of the 20,000 voted last year by parof queen Elizabeth, when the troubles sub- liament; how many of the remainder are sisted in Ireland. Sir, the queen, as im- in other parts of the world, is neither pospatient to subdue the Irish as you have sible nor necessary for me to determine. been the Americans, sent a large army But, Sir, in this situation, is it sensible, into that country: and did it immediately is it politic, nay, is it safe, to pursue such answer the end proposed ? By no means, coercive measures as, in my opinion, could the Irish continued to gain strength daily; only be justified if America and Great insomuch, that the queen demanding of Britain were contending for the soveher ministers to know the cause of it, re-reignty of another empire ? Are we sure,