Abbildungen der Seite

this House. It appears to me that no in- the colonies, according to the number of telligence from general Gage can be de- inhabitants." His lordship says, “ we pended on. I beg the House will attend pay about 25s. a head, and they pay about particularly to what I now say, before 6d.Who is there so unacquainted with they engage their lives and fortunes. It political arithmetic as not to know that the appears general Gage has regularly de. small sum people pay in taxation is often ceived administration. Noevent has turned a proof of their poverty, and the large sum out as he foretold, or gave reason to hope: a proof of their prosperity, by demonthe next letter constantly contradicts the strating the riches from the greatness of expectations raised by the former. He the consumption ? Let this kind of reaseems never to have known what they were soning be applied to Ireland and Scotland, about—no doubt grossly imposed on him- where we know the multitude to be poor self—but the facts are undeniable. When in comparison to the inhabitants of Lon. he first arrived, he writes, the mal-con- don, whom we know to be rich; besides, tents were abashed, and the friends of go- if the colonist does not pay in palpable vernment would soon appear. Next, his cash from his own hand, does not he pay expectations from the assembly were dis- all the taxes on the four millions of manu. appointed, and he dissolves them in sur- factures he receives, and part of those prise: then, there would be no congress ; taxes on the raw materials he sends hinext, though there would be a congress, ther? they would differ and disagree: in short, The other argument is still more extraled on, and leading others by vain expec- ordinary. The noble lord says, “ if we tations, till the last letter, which announces fail in our attempt of forcing America, we a total disaffection, and which I believe to shall still be in the same situation we are be the true state of the provinces. in at present.” What! after our armies

Singling out the province of Massachu- have been disgraced, our fellow subjects aet's Bay, can answer no purpose, but to destroyed, all the irritation of a civil war, expose our partiality. It is the cause of public confidence, and fair opinion lost ! all, and the other colonies can never be so does the noble lord think he will be in the mean as first to encourage and then desert same situation himself? I really speak it them before the general right is settled. with regret; for personally I have much

The noble lord talks next of stopping regard for the noble lord, and particularly their fisheries ; but he says, “ the Act is because I perceive, from his faint manner only to be temporary." Does the noble of stating his propositions, that they are not lord think he can turn the channels of the dictates of his own mind, and that they trade as easily as he can turn the majori. are forced on him. I cannot see my other ties of this House ?_ To explain the idea, memorandums, and therefore I shall consupposing the New England fisheries stopt, clude by heartily concurring with the noble their utensils must waste and destroy. lord who moved for the recommitment of But, will the English merchant madly in. this Address. crease his stock, and fit out new ships, if Sir Robert Smythe spoke of two kinds the Act is merely temporary? If it is per- of connexion which the Americans had petual, the people in America are ruined. with Great Britain. The first, as emiThe consequence is, that the French must grants, they had a political connection : in the end reap the benefit of all this the commercial connexion was next in orstrange policy.

der. If we had stopped to hear the merWe are constantly stating the great chants' petition, it was just the same as if obligation we have conferred on the colo- we had stopped the measures of governnies by our former behaviour towards ment against the rebels, when they were them :'if it was ever so good, we can in the heart of the kingdom, to hear petidaim no merit from hence in private or tions from Preston and Manchester: he public concerns, to do injury in future. was therefore for proceeding. They do not complain of your former be- Mr. Burke applied his argument to that haviour, but they say, you have altered prevalent idea, which alone, he said, can this very system from whence you would make one honest man the advocate for now derive their submission.

ministerial measures, namely, that the There are two arguments of the noble Americans attack the sovereignty of this lord which I must remark upon before I country: He said, the Americans do not sit down ; the first is, “ the comparative attack the sovereignty itself, but a certain view of taxation between this country and exercise and use of that sovereignty. He stated, that no tyranny itself found a jus- the whole, we ought with our eyes open tification in the mere plea of their unlimit- to prepare for that, and not for a scuffle ed authority. He stated seven acts of ty- with Boston. He also put it on its true ranny, which justified resistance. He bottom; you have, said he, your option, shewed, that the cause of the late rebel. America or this ministry; and he exposed lions at home, and those disturbances in with all his wit, the absurdity of balancAmerica, differed widely; that the trade ing in such a choice. of the country was little affected by those Mr. Solicitor General Wedderburn rerebellions; that our trade at present is the plied to Mr. Burke. He spoke largely of primary object; that the object of that re. the goodness of Britain to America. bellion was to set an unnatural tyrant on Thought it highly necessary to enforce the throne; that he feared the Ame- the laws, and complained much of the ricans were now what we were then; and dispositions of the Americans being enwere struggling that an insufferable tyran- couraged from hence by those who avowny should not be established over them. ed their cause in England. He represented the delusion practised by Colonel Barré allowed that the Ameministry, who in all speeches argue that ricans might be encouraged by their confi. Boston alone was in rebellion, and that it dence in having friends at home, when was an affair with Boston only; but he they recollected that a few years ago the shewed that all America was concerned, gentleman's voice who spoke last was from clear and positive facts. He proved, made hoarse in condemning the measures that from one end of the continent to the of this country towards America. He was other, the like resistance had been found; never louder than in his invective against and he pressed the independent members lord Hillsborough for the letter which he to consider that; før he said, if people insisted deserved impeachment. The cowere once convinced that the mischief was lonel went into a fine eulogium on colonels so wide, they would think a little more se- Howé, Burgoyne, and Clinton, destined riously what might have been the cause of to serve against America. He lamented so general discontent, and might wish to that this country should lose their services apply other renredies than fire or sword. when the course of things must call for He said, that their definition of rebellion it ; for a foreign war was inevitable, if we was the oddest he had ever heard; it must incurred a civil one. He insisted that no be the destruction of tea; but burning tea honour could be gained there. He avowed was not in their definition rebellion, for a fear that we should not vanquish, and such a place had burnt it; that spoiling it insisted it was our duty to cherish the in damp vaults was not in their definition; Americans. He reproached the spirit of for it had been so treated in such a place. administration, who in the Falkland's Now to answer their definition of rebel- Island business, and in all foreign transaclion, tea must be drowned like a puppy tions, readily sacrificed the honour of the dog; and even that was not quite enough; nation : but in dealings with our own peoit must be drowned, and drowned at Bos- ple, when the people's good ought to be ton. This was their definition of rebel- the first object, pride and dignity was their lion. He exerted himself to deprecate only principle. He sheved from count de the shameless tyranny we exercised. He Guines's memorial, that we had agreed on abhorred political as much as he did reli- that occasion to disarm first, but now the gious persecution. His heart seemed en- Americans must submit first; and when gaged. He mentioned with horror the they do, they may look to be pardoned idea of tearing a man from his family and whiên the ministers are ashamed to punish. friends the other side the Atlantic, and He said he felt himself connected with tearing bis heart out in Smithfield, stiling America more than any man in the House: it the heart of a traitor, because he would and added, you are this pight to decide, not believe in virtual representation, and whether you are to make war on your because he would not believe that America colonies. was part of the manor of Greenwich. He Lord North professed good intentions, said, he had two years before called their but did not seem to promise much success attention to Virginia, the mother colony; in his measures. He made some distincand shewed that in all their proceedings tions between his administration and the Virginia had taken the lead; and that duke of Grafton's: said he did not mean therefore it was plain it was not Boston, to tax America ; and added, if they would but America ; and if we meant a war with submit, and leave to us the constitutional

Ross{uir. Cooper

} 288

right of supremacy, the quarrel would be marquis of Rockingham both rising to at an end.

speak, a debate arose who should speak " Mr. Mackworth spoke against the Ad- first. dress, and observed, that as the minister In this confusion the Lord Chancellor had declared, he did not mean to tax put the question, “ Is it your lordships' America, he was for stopping short, as he pleasure that the earl of Dartmouth be thought it an idle quarrel about words, now heard?”. This called up the duke of when we were avowedly to get nothing. Richmond, who contended, that it was a

Mr. Sawbridge was against the Address. most slavish position to say, that any lord Two parts in it he could not agree to: in that House should have a preference first, saying the Americans were in rebel- before another; and that the preference lion: the second, promising to risk his life should be determined by the House. aod fortune.

Lord Mansfield replied, that he had always The debate lasted till half past two in understood it was in the option of the the morning; when the House divided on chairman, in either House (the Speaker the question of recommitment: the Yeas in the other, and the Lord Keeper in this) ment forth,

to so far decide, as at least to put the ques

tion on which of the two persons he Tellers.

pleased. To prove this, his lordship cited Yeas {lor. Thomas Townshend } 105

an instance in a committee of the House

of Commons on the Spanish convention General Irwine

in 1739, when two members rising at the

same instant, to make motions of a direct So it passed in the negative, and the contrary tendency, Mr. Winnington, Address was agreed to, and ordered to be the chairman, pointed to one of them in communicated to the Lords at a confer. preference to the other, which gave birth Pice; which was accordingly done on the to the witty observation of Mr. Pulteney, folowing day.*

afterwards earl of Bath, in the course of

the debate, “ That the chairman had made Delule in the Lords on an Address to the the deadest point he ever saw in his life.” king up m the Disturbances in North Ame- Lord Camden urged the necessity and rica.] Feb. 7. The Lord President re

justice of their previously accepting the ported, that they had met the managers stood the noble marquis had to present,

petition of the merchants, which he underfor the Commons at the conference, which; and hearing the merchants' allegations ; o the part of the Commons, was managed he told the House, they not only sat there by the lord North; who acquainted the za anagers for the Lords, « That they in their representative, but in their

judicial having taken into their consideration the capacity, and were therefore bound by all state of his Majesty's colonies in North the ties of official duty, to get every light America, have agreed upon an Address to

and information upon the subject before be presented to his Majesty; to which they mination could not be acting in the spirit

to Then his lordship read the Address, upon for a day, which would not create any

of the constitution. He pressed them but which, the earl' of Dartmouth and the

delay, and in that time he had no doubt * Mr. Gibbon to Mr. Holroyd, Feb. 1, 1775. information founded on the truest proofs,

their lordships would receive that solid "I am not damned, according to lule wishes, because I have not acted; there commercial experience; which would, was such an inundation of speeches, young perhaps, influence their lordships to think Speeches in every sense of the word, both on differently from what they then did. Earl Thurslay in the grand committee, and Monday Gower insisted that such a mode of pro06 the report to the House, that neither lord ceeding was totally unusual and unparlia. Gevrye Germaine nor myself could find room inentary; that very early in life, much for a single word. The principal men both about the period the noble and learned lord days were Fox and Wedderburne, on the op, alluded to, he remembered a circumstance halets ; the former

, taking the vast com which came directly in point; it was on an pies of the question before us, discovered powers intended motion of the late lord Halifax's, for regular debate, which neither his friends when the Lord Keeper decided against hoped, nor his enemies dreaded." Miscella- him, that another noble lord should be neous Works, vol. 1. p. 489.

first heard. [In all this hurry and confu

sion, the true point on which the preference have act or part in, that was, where both contended for rested, seemed to be entirely Houses were to assure his Majesty, they mistaken, till the earl of Denbigh observed would, in support of the measures therein that the preference was with the noble recommended, hazard their lives and for. earl, out of the respect due to the other tunes; for he now openly declared, be branch of the legislature.). The question would neither risk nor hazard life or forwas at length put, and the motion was tune in such a cause. He said the noble carried without a division.

mover, adverted to something which be The Earl of Dartmouth accordingly did not perfectly understand, about una. rose, and after putting in his claim to be nimity. "If every man who opposed this heard to the question at large, moved, Address, was presumed to be actuated by that the blank in the Address presented false notions of popularity or factious moby the Commons at the conference, and tives, he believed four-fifths of the nation now communicated by the Lord President, would fall under that predicament; but should be filled up with the words “ Lords this he could answer for himself, at all spiritual and temporal, and."

events, that he should not tread in the The Marquis of Rockingham acquainted steps of his noble, but ill-fated ancestor, the House, that the matter which he rose (lord Strafford) who first courted popular to was to present petitions, one from the favour, and then deserted the cause he merchants of London concerned in the had embarked in ; for as he had set out commerce to North America, and the by supporting the cause of the people other from the West India merchants and against the tyranny and arbitrary meaplanters ; that he imagined their contents sures of ministers, so he should never, for were of the highest importance, were im- any temptation whatsoever, desert or bemediately relative to the business under tray them, but would persevere to the last, consideration, and were well worthy of in endeavouring to obtain for them a full arresting any determination of this House, reparation for all the injuries they had for at least one day, being certain, that sustained. within that short period, information of in- The Earl of Pomfret contended, that finite consequence would be laid before the sea was our proper element; was their lordships, perhaps sufficient to against a land war, and strenuously urged alter, or at least soften the rigour of the the necessity of sending a naval force sufmeasures they were now madly, hastily, ficient to block up their harbours, and by and blindly proceeding to adopt. His that means to cut off their communication lordship then desired the Petitions might with all other powers, and put a total stop be read, which being complied with, he to their

commerce. observed, as a question was now before The Earl of Denbigh united in this opi: the House, that must be first disposed of ; nion on general principles, but insisted and as consequently the subject matter of that a military force would be necessary petitions could not regularly come under for the protection of his Majesty's loyal the cognizance of the House; and that subjects, who would be otherwise exposed he still hoped the House would be willing to the fury and violence of their merciless to hear the petitioners, as men suffering persecutors. under the heaviest misfortunes, none of Earl Gower adhered closely to the ques. which could be attributed to their own tion before the House, the propriety of misconduct, he would be under the neces- entering into an immediate examination sity, as the only means left, of moving the of the matter contained in the Petitions previous question, which would open a intended to be presented by the noble door for laking into consideration a gene- marquis. He said, the petitioners were ral state of the petitioners' grievances. persons who deserved every mark of at[The previous question was accordingly tention and respect which the House put, and his lordship proceeded.] He could pay them, consistently with the inobserved, that until the previous ques- terests of the empire at large; and altion was first disposed of, he could not though their grievances were imaginary, regularly enter into a discussion of their complaints were nevertheless deserv. the Address; but he would, neverthe- ing of indulgence. He trusted, however, less, in this stage of the business, assure when they maturely considered that the the House, that there was one para- steps now taken were to prevent the rea graph in it, which he totally disclaimed, turn of such evils in future, they would and desired to be understood, neither to cheerfully acquiesce in the wisdom of pare

hament in the present instance, and be charged with setting his Majesty's dockgratefully thankful hereafter ; for if the yards on fire ; for the quartering of sol. supremacy of the legislature was once diers, and one or two more of the same given up, their trade, commerce, and nature; any one of which, if repealed, every possible advantage accruing from would be a total renunciation of the soveeither, would soon be annihilated. He reignty; even if the other proposition therefore hoped, that the merchants were true, that we had no right to tax would, on the present occasion, submit to them. But that claim of non-taxation, it a temporary inconvenience, nay a short was, he said, that introduced all the rest : lived distress, to insure the most perma. if the doctrine was a just one in any inDent and important benefits; and manifest stance, it must of inevitable consequence that degree of magnanimity which a sense extend to all the rest ; for it was to the of their own interests, founded in submis- last degree monstrous and absurd to allow son and acquiescence to the wisdom of they had a right distinct from the British parliament, must, upon mature considera- legislature in any one particular, and not tion and past experience, most certainly in all : if they had such a right, the desuggest.

fence of it would justify resistance; and to Lord Mansfield said, it was impossible contend that subjects had a right of resistto confine the attention of the House ing the government, was a doctrine he merely to the matter of the previous ques. should be glad to hear maintained, on any tion. He perfectly coincided in senti- principle of civil government, reason, exment with the noble earl, who asserted, perience, or common sense. This led his that we were reduced to the alternative of lordship to the subject of the petitions ; adopting coercive measures, or of for ever but he contended, that they did not at all relinquishing our claim of sovereignty or come in the way of the present motion. dominion over the colonies; for consider He did not doubt but the petitioners were the question in ever so many lights, says aggrieved; he did not doubt but they lahis lordship, every middle way, every at- boured under great and singular distempt to unite the opposite claims of the tresses ; he did not doubt but every decontending parties, ends, and is ultimately gree of men, the landed gentleman, the founded in one resolution or the other. merchant, the manufacturer, the mechanic, His lordship observed, that one of the would all heavily feel, in their several simost able American writers, after the tuations, the threatened calamities. Nay, fullest and clearest investigation of the he went further, he did not promise cersubject, at last confesses, that no medium tain success from the present measure. can possibly be devised, which will ex. The army might proceed to hostilities, clude the inevitable consequence of either they might be defeated, the Americans system absolutely prevailing; for that take might prevail, we might be for ever stripit up on which ground you would, the su- ped of the sovereignty of that country; premacy of the British legislature must be but what of that? the events of war were complete, entire, and unconditional; or uncertain : the question was, allowing all on the other hand, the colonies must be the inconveniences as set forth in the pefree and independent. His lordship next titions to be precisely just, and taking proceeded to examine very minutely the into full contemplation every possible conbeveral acts of parliament complained of tingency that human foresight and pruin the congress which assembled at Phila- dence could suggest, whether we should delphia, and endeavoured to prove, that relinquish our rights, or resolve at all every one of them, more or less, confirmed events to resolutely persist in their asserthe principles he had laid down, and the tion ? His lordship again returned to his conclusions he had drawn from them; and former argument, of the Acts they had directly struck at the legislative superin protested against, and observed, that tending power, which it was contended though he was not present when a noble they were willing to submit to, not barely lord on a former occasion (lord Chatham) to the subject of taxation. He more par- had insisted, that in return for their temticularly adverted to the Acts for the es- porary suspension and constant repeal, he tablishing the admiralty courts in that would insist on the most inequivocal decountry; for regulating the rates of claration on the part of America, of the postage of letters ; for ordering persons in supreme legislative controuling power of any part of the dominions of the crown to the British legislature, in every other case be tried in any English county, for being whatever, but that of taxation only, he

« ZurückWeiter »