« ZurückWeiter »
cutors ; more consistent with the principles | ally acquainted with the great law authothey professed to teach ; but much more rity now quoted, who assured him, he wag particularly suited to the sacred functions present in court at the trial of the offenders they were called to discharge. He said, in queen Anne's time, who pulled down that by the specimen now given, he should the Meeting.Houses, and that Holt, chief not be surprised to see the lawn sleeves justice, and the rest of the court agreed, upon those benches stained with the blood that evidence of an overt act of one species of their innocent and oppressed country- of treason was sufficient proof of an overt men on the other side the Atlantic. act of another species of treason.
The Duke of Manchester animadverted Lord Camden still retained his former with great energy on the very indecent sentiments; he entered into a warm euloand unprecedented attack made by a noble gium on the learned judge alluded to: inlord early in the debate (lord Lyttelton) sisted the doctrine now imputed to him on all those who happened to differ with was not his ; offered to meet the noble him. He said it was a pretty method of and learned lord on the other side on convincing an adversary, to tell him that that ground; and remarked, that the inhis opposition to measures was founded in tended object of the language held this the worst motives ; and that all who enter day, was to bring the unhappy Americans tained contrary sentiments to his own, to England to be tried, under the Act of were weak and wicked counsellors. Such Henry 8, and have them butchered in the language had been always discounte. King's-bench. Early in the debate, lord nanced, and he hoped would always meet Mansfield having said, that the ministers with the strongest marks of discourage- of the Church of England were persecuted ment and disapprobation in that House, as by the fanatics of Boston, and other parts it would otherwise banish all sober delibe- of New England, lord Camden reprehendration and free discussion from within ed him very severely, for using such inthose walls; and introduce in their stead flammatory language. the most improper personalities and dis- The Earl of Dartmouth closed the de. graceful altercations.
bate. He said, that he approved of the Lord Lyttelton endeavoured to excul measure ; that America would be tenderly pate himself from the charges of the two and gently treated, if they would return noble dukes. He said, any thing severe
to their obedience; that he was directed he might have dropped respecting a noble by his own judgment, not by lord Mansand learned lord on the other side, was only field's; and that he believed lord Mans. upon certain suppositions. He had not, field was totally unconnected with the however, changed his opinion relative to the present administration. true interpretation of treason; nor could he The above debate lasted till forty mi. bring himself to subscribe to his lordship’s nutes past one o'clock in the morning; definition of it ; as the more he thought on when the previous question was put, whe: the subject, or heard it argued, the fuller ther the main question shall be now put? he was satisfied that America was in rebel- Contents 90, Proxies 14_-104; Not Conlion. He said, he had a very high autho. tents 29. It was resolved in the affirmative. rity to support him (lord chief justice Foster) and a real friend to liberty, who Protest against the Refusal to receive enumerates several species of treason, be- \ the Petitions of the North American Mersides those expressly defined by the statute chants.] The following Protest was thereof the 25th of Edward 3, and lays it down upon entered : as law, though a consultation to levy war, “ Dissentient in which the person of the king is not “ Ist, The previous question was moved, meant to be injured, may appear not to not to prevent the proceeding in the Adbe treason within the statute of Edward 3, dress communicated at the conference yet that an overt act of one species of with the Commons, but in order to pretreason may be good evidence to prove an sent the Petition of the North American intention to commit the other.
merchants, and of the West India merLord Mansfield assured the House, that chants and planters, which petitions the he had not given the least intimation to House might reject if frivolous, the noble lord of what he now urged; pone if not urgent, as it might seem fit to but that it was nevertheless the general their wisdom; but to hurry on the basis doctrine laid down by those who had ness to which these petitions so materially written on the subject. He was person- and directly related, the express prayer of
which was, that they might be heard be tation in resolving, add much to the sucfore “any resolution may be taken by cess in executing any plan that may be this right honourable House respecting pursued. America ;" to refuse so much as to suffer “ We protest therefore against the rethem to be presented, is a proceeding of fusal to suffer such petitions to be prethe most unwarrantable nature, and di. sented, and we thus clear ourselves to our rectly subversive of the most sacred rights country of the disgrace and mischief which of the subject : it is the more particularly must attend this unconstitutional, indecent, exceptionable, as a lord in his place, at and improvident proceeding. Signed) the express desire of the West India mer- Richmond, Camden, Torrington, chants, informed the House, that, if ne- Archer, Stanhope, Cholmondeley, cessitated so to do, they were ready, with- Rockingham, Wycombe, Craven, out counsel or farther preparation, in- Courtenay, Abingdon, Effingham, stantly to offer evidence to prove that se- Ponsonby, Fitzwilliam, Scarbrough, veral islands of the West Indies could not Abergavenny, Portland, Tankerbe able to subsist, after the operation of ville." the proposed address in America. Justice with regard to individuals, policy with Protest against the Address to the King regard to the public, and decorum with upon the Disturbances in North America.] regard to ourselves, required that we Then the main question was put, “ Wheshould admit this Petition to be presented. ther to agree with the Commons in the By refusing it, justice is denied.
said Address, by inserting the words, " 2dly, Because the papers laid upon Lords spiritual and temporal, and ?!” It our table by ministers are so manifestly was resolved in the affirmative. defective, and so avowedly curtailed, that “ Dissentient' we can derive from them nothing like in- “ 1st, Because the violent matter of this formation of the true state of the object dangerous Address was highly aggravated on which we are going to act, or of the by the violent manner in which it was preconsequences of the resolutions which we cipitately hurried through the House, may take. We ought (as we conceive) lords were not allowed the interposition of with gladness to have accepted that infor- a moment's time for deliberation before mation from the merchants which, if it they were driven headlong into a declarahad not been voluntarily offered, it was tion of civil war. A conference was held our duty to seek. There is no informa- with the Commons; an address of this tion concerning the state of our colonies importance presented; all extraneous in(taken in any point of view), which the formation, although offered, positively remerchants are not far more competent to fused; all petitions arbitrarily rejected; give than governors or officers, who often and the whole of this most awful business know far less of the temper and disposi- received, debated, and concluded in a tion of the people, or may be more dis- single day. posed to misrepresent it than the mer- “ 2dly, Because no legal grounds were chants
. Of this we have a full and me- laid in argument or in fact to show that a lancholy experience in the mistaken ideas rebellion, properly so called, did exist in on which the fatal acts of the last parlia. Massachuset's Bay, when the papers of ment were formed.
the latest date, and from whence alone we " 3dly, Because we are of opinion, that derive our information, were written. in entering into a war in which mischief The overt-acts to which the species of and inconvenience are great and certain treason, affirmed in the Address, ought to (but the utmost extent of which it is im. be applied, were not established, nor any possible to foresee), true policy requires offenders marked out. But a general mass that those who are most likely to be im of the acts of turbulence, said to be done mediately affected, should be thoroughly at various times and places, and of various satisfied of the deliberation with which it natures, were all thrown together to make was undertaken ; and we apprehend that out one general constructive treason. the planters, merchants, and manufactu- Neither was there any sort of proof of the rers
, will not bear their losses and bur. continuance of any unlawful force from thens, brought on them by the proposed whence we could infer that a rebellion civil war, the better, for our refusing so does now exist. And we are the more much as to hear them previous to our en-cautious of pronouncing any part of his gaging in that war'; nor will our precipi- Majesty's dominions to be in actual re
bellion, because the cases of constructive forcing the authority of the British legistreason under that branch of the 25th of lature, is confined to persons of whose Edward the 3rd, which describes the crime capacity, for that purpose, from abundant of rebellion, have been already so far ex. experience, we have reason to doubt; and tended by the judges, and the distinctions who having hitherto used no effectual thereupon so nice and subtle, that no pru- means of conciliating or of reducing those dent man ought to declare any single per- who oppose that authority : this appears son in that situation, without the clearest in the constant failure of all their projects
, evidence of uncontrovertible overt acts, to the insufficiency of all their informa:ion, warrant such a declaration. Much less and the disappointment of all the hopes, ought so high an authority as both Houses which they have for several years held out of Parliament, to denounce so severe a to the public. Parliament has never rejudgınent against a considerable part of fused any of their proposals, and yet our his Majesty's subjects, by which his forces affairs have proceeded daily from bad to may think themselves justified in com- worse, until we have been brought, step mencing a war, without any further order by step, to that state of confusion, and or commission.
even civil violence, which was the natural " 3dly, Because we think that several result of these desperate measures. acts of the last parliament, and several late “ We therefore protest against an Adproceedings of administration, with regard dress amounting to a declaration of war, to the colonies, are real grievances, and which is founded on no proper parliamenjust causes of complaint; and we cannot, tary information ; which was introduced by in honour or in conscience, consent to an refusing to suffer the presentation of petiaddress which commends the temper by tions against it, (although it be the unwhich proceedings so very intemperate doubted right of the subject to present the have been carried on; nor can we per- same;) which followed the rejection of suade ourselves to authorize violent courses every mode of conciliation ; which holds against persons in the colonies, who have out no substantial offer of redress of resisted authority, without at the same grievances ; and which promises support time redressing the grievances which have to those ministers who have infamed given but too much provocation for their America, and grossly misconducted the behaviour,
affairs of Great Britain.- (Signed)“ 4thly, Because we think the loose and Richmond, Craven, Archer, Abergeneral assurances given by the Address, gavenny, Rockingham, Wycombe, of future redress of grievances, in case of Courtenay, Torrington, Ponsonby, submission, is far from satisfactory, or at Cholmondeley, Abingdon, Portall likely to produce their end; whilst the land, Camden, Effingham, StanActs complained of, continue unrepealed, hope, Scarborough, Fitzwilliam, or unamended; and their authors remain
Tankerville.” in authority here, because these advisers of all the measures which have brought on List of the Minority who divided upon the the calamities of this empire, will not be
previous Question. trusted while they defend, as just, necessary, and even indulgent, all the Acts com
Stamford plained of as grievances, by the Ameri. Cumberland
Strafford cans; and must therefore, on their own
Devopshire principles, be bound in future to govern
Portland the colonies in the manner which has
Manchester. already produced such fatal effects ; and
Torrington. we fear that the refusal of this House, so
LORDS. much as to receive previous to determina
Abergavenny tion (which is the most offensive mode of Earls.
Archer rejection) petitions from the unoffending Abingdon
Beaulieu natives of Great Britain and the West Besborough
Craven India islands, affords us but a very dis- Cholmondeley
Fortescue couraging prospect of our obtaining here Coventry
King after any petitions at all, from those whom
Sondes. we have declared actors in rebellion, or Scarborough abettors of that crime.
Shelburne 6. Lastly, Because the means of en- Spencer
The Joint Address of both Houses to of the supreme legislature; and we beg the King on the Disturbances in North leave, in the most solemn manner, to asAmerica.] The Joint Address was as sure your Majesty, that it is our fixed refollows:
solution, at the hazard of our lives and u Most Gracious Sovereign; properties, to stand by your Majesty « We, your Majesty's most dutiful anů against all rebellious attempts in the main loyal subjects, the Lords spiritual and tem- tenance of the just rights of your Majesty poral, and Commons, in parliament as- and the two Houses of Parliament." sembled, return your Majesty our most humble thanks, for having been graciously The King's Answer.] His Majesty repleased to communicate to us the several turned this Answer: papers relating to the present state of the “ My Lords, and Gentlemen, British colonies in America, which, by “ I thank you for this very dutiful and your Majesty's commands, have been laid loyal Address, and for the affectionate before us: We have taken them into our and solemn assurances you give me of most serious consideration ; and we find, your support in maintaining the just rights that a part of your Majesty's subjects in of my crown, and of the two Houses of the province of the Massachuset's Bay Parliament ; and you may depend on my have proceeded so far to resist the autho-taking the most speedy and effectual mearity of the supreme legislature, that a re- sures for enforcing due obedience to the bellion at this time actually exists within laws, and the authority of the supreme the said province; and we see, with the legislature. utmost concern, that they have been coun- " Whenever any of my colonies shall tenanced and encouraged by unlawful make a proper and dutiful application, I combinations and engagements, entered shall be ready to concur with you in afinto by your Majesty's subjects in several fording them every just and reasonable inof the other colonies, to the injury and op- dulgence; and it is my ardent wish that pression of many of their innocent fellow this disposition may have a happy effect subjects resident within the kingdom of on the temper and conduct of my subGreat Britain, and the rest of your Ma- jects in America.” jesty's dominions : this conduct on their part appears to us the more inexcusable, The King's Message for an Augmentawhen we consider with how much temper tion of the Forces.] Feb. 10. The folyour Majesty and the two Houses of Par- lowing Message was presented to both liament have acted in support of the laws Houses : and constitution of Great Britain. We « G. R. can never so far desert the trust reposed “ His Majesty being determined, in in us as to relinquish any part of the sove- consequence of the Address of both reign authority over all your Majesty's do- Houses of Parliament, to take the most minions, which by law is vested your speedy and effectual measures for supportMajesty and the two Houses of Parliament; ing the just rights of his crown, and the and the conduct of many persons in several two Houses of Parliament, thinks proper of the colonies during the late disturbances to acquaint this House, that some addiis alone sufficient to convince us how ne- tion to his forces by sea and land will be cessary this power is for the protection of necessary for that purpose; and his Mathe lives and fortunes of all your Majesty's jesty doubts not but he shall have the consubjects.
currence and support of this House (on We ever have been, and always shall whose zeal and affection he entirely rebe, ready to pay attention and regard to lies), in making such augmentation to his any real grievances of any of your Ma: forces as the present occasion shall be jesty's subjects, which shall, in a dutiful thought to require.” and constitutional manner, be laid before us; and whenever any of the colonies shall Debate in the Commons on bringing in make a proper application to us, we shall the Bill for restraining the Trade and be ready to afford them every just and rea- Commerce of the New England Colonies.] sonable indulgence. At the same time we Feb. 10. The House having resolved consider it as our indispensable duty, hum- itself into a Committee on the Papers rebly to beseech your Majesty, that you will lating to the Disturbances in North Ametake the most efectual measures to enforce rica, due obedience to the laws and authority Lord North moved, “ That leave be given to bring in a Bill to restrain the ants of that colony an opportunity of cartrade and commerce of the provinces of rying on the fishery. The same might be Massachuset's Bay, and New Hampshire; said of Rhode Island; and as the same the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode argument of vicinity might be applied to Island, and Providence Plantation in both the provinces as well as to New North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, Hampshire, in order to prevent the deand the British islands in the West In- feating of the Act, they also ought to be dies; and to prohibit such provinces and included in the prohibition to fish and to colonies from carrying on any fishery on trade. the banks of Newfoundland, or other His lordship added, that he was not places therein to be mentioned, under averse to admitting such alleviations of certain conditions, and for a time to be the Act as would not prove destructive of limited.” He supported his motion, by its great object. 1st, Therefore, he would declaring, that as the Americans had re- move it only as temporary, to the end of fused to trade with this kingdom, it was the year, or to the end of the next session but just that we should not suffer them to of parliament. 2dly, He would permit trade with any other nation. That the particular persons to be excepted, on cerrestraints of the Act of Navigation, were tificates from the governor of their good their charter; and that the several relax- behaviour: or upon their taking a test of ations of that law, were so many acts of acknowledgment of the rights of parliagrace and favour; which, when the colo- ment. nies ceased to merit, it was but reasonable Mr. Dunning thought the Americans the British legislature should recall. In had a right of fishing on the banks of particular, he said, that the fishery on the Newfoundland. He said there was no rebanks of Newfoundland and the other bellion in Massachuset's Bay; nothing banks, and all the others in America, was that could be construed into treason; the undoubted right of Great Britain. even if there was a rebellion in some parts, Therefore we might dispose of them as we why was the whole to be punished? Why pleased. That although the two Houses New Hampshire? Why Rhode Island? had not declared all Massachuset's Bay Why Connecticut? If the fact was true, in rebellion, they had declared, that there that general Gage had attacked, war sack, is a rebellion in that province. It was ing and burning the town of Boston, and just, therefore, to deprive that province the Connecticut people resisting, the latter of its fisheries. That in the province of were not in rebellion. He said the minisNew Hampshire there was still a governor ters were the best authors of a receipt to and a government; but government was maķe a rebellion. weak in that colony; and a quantity of Mr. Attorney General Thurlow said, powder had been taken out of a fort there that no resolutions, though of both by an armed mob. Besides, the vicinity, Houses, can make a fact, or decide the of that province to Massachuset's Bay was law. He had given his opinion upon pasuch, that if it were not added, the pur- pers laid before him, that there was a repose of the Act would be defeated. bellion in Massachuset's Bay. He deRhode Island he stated not to be in a much fended his opinion, by an explanation of better situation than Massachuset's Bay; the facts upon which he gave it ; first as that several pieces of cannon had been taken to treason, next as to rebellion. there, and carried up into the country; Mr. Dunning to explain. Rebellion is and that they were arraying their militia, that state between
government and its subin order to march into any other colony, jects, which between two hostile states in case it should be attacked; and this would be war. could, in the present circumstances, be Mr. Solicitor General Wedderburn rose for no good purpose. That from Connec- to prove a rebellion in America from the ticut had marched a large body of men hon. gentleman's definition. into the Massachusets, on a report that Mr. Speaker Norton gave his opinion the soldiery had killed some people in on the point of law, divested of the facts Boston; and though this body had return- and left the committee to apply the facts
, ed, on finding the falsity of that report, and the opinion. The law does not know an ill disposition had been shewn, and that the word é rebellion. Levying this colony was in a state of great disorder the king is treason ; so is endeavouring and confusion. To this he added, that to wrest the sword out of the hands of the the river Connecticut afforded the inhabit. executive power.