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nerally raising corn sufficient for their own | titioners beg leave to observe, that the resupport; and by the said Bill they will be straints intended to be laid upon the Newprevented from receiving any supplies foundland fishery of the colonies, menfrom their sister colonies, and precluded tioned in the said Bill, if carried into a from their natural resource, the sea; and law, will not by any means be injurious to that the petitioners have reason to believe commerce, as the petitioners against the that very great numbers of men are bred Bill conceive, because the fu-aign markets and employed in the fisheries, who, in can be amply supplied, by e ending the hardiness and intrepidity, are not ex- Newfoundland fishery of subj. its resident ceeded by any in this extensive empire, in England; and that the annual produce and may be impelled, by the pressing calls of the Newfoundland fishery carried on by of hunger and want, to such a conduct as subjects resident in the mother country, may be productive of devastation and exceeds 500,0001. and that the Newfoundbloodshed, which may endanger the peace land fishery of the mother country is a and welfare of that part of his Majesty's constant nursery of seamen for the navy, American dominions, or be induced to that great bulwark of the nation, every emigrate to the islands of Miquelon and fifth man employed being, by the 10th of St. Pierre, there to fish for the French, William the 3rd, obliged to be a landman, and give our rivals the means of supply- a consideration of infinite weight, the peing the markets in Europe, and thereby titioners imagine ; and this the
more esperender it difficult for us to regain that va- cially, as the profits of the trade center luable branch of commerce; and that intirely in this kingdom ; and that the prothere is now due, from the said provinces fits of the Newfoundland fishery, carried and colonies, to the city of London, a on by the colonies mentioned in the Bill, very large sum of money, and that their do not center here, nor is the Newfoundremittances are principally made by means land fishery of the colonies a nursery of of the fisheries, and consequently the ruin seamen for the fleet, because the Ameribrought on those colonies will últimately cans are not obliged by law to make use of fall on Great Britain; and that, amongst landmen, nor are the American seamen other grievances of which our fellow sub- compellable, like the British seamen, to jects in America so generally complain, serve their country in times of war; the is, their being deprived of trial by jury in petitioners are therefore greatly alarmed, particular cases, and the extension of the lest a Petition from so respectable a body jurisdiction of the admiralty courts; which as the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons grievances, the petitioners with much of London, should operate not only to concern find, are not only continued, but their prejudice, but to the general preju. extended by the present Bill; and they dice of the kingdom, on a point of such think it their duty to represent to the importance to the national prosperity ; House, that it is their firm opinion, that humbly submit the foregoing facts to the the disquietude which universally prevails consideration of the House, and soliciting, in the minds of their fellow subjects in no less for their own immediate advantage America, will not be removed, unless than for the universal benefit of their lenient measures are pursued, and their country, such encouragement of the Brigrievances redressed; and therefore pray- tish fishery to Newfoundland as the parliaing
, that the said Bill may not pass into a ment shall think proper." law."
A Petition of the people called Quakers Mr. Alderman Hayley moved, that the was presented by Mr. Alderman Oliver, petitioners have leave to be heard by them- and read, selves, or counsel; which was agreed to. “ Taking notice of the Bill to restrain
the trade and commerce of the province Feb. 28. A Petition of the merchants, of Massachuset's Bay and New Hampshire, traders, and principal inhabitants, of the and colonies of Connecticut and Rhode town and county of Pool, was presented Island, and Providence Plantation, in to the House, and read ; setting forth,
North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, "That the petitioners observe, that a and the British islands in the West Indies; Petition is presented to the House, from and to prohibit such provinces and colothe lord mayor, aldermen, and commons, nies from carrying on any fishery on the of the city of London, in common council banks of Newfoundland, or other places assembled, against the Bill mentioned in therein to be mentioned, under certain the preceding Petition ; and that the
pe- conditions, and for a time to be limited ;
and that the petitioners are informed, that, \ ty to make a few remarks on the evidence in the island of Nantucket, on the coast of which has been given, trusting, that should New England, there are about 5,000 inI make any improper observations, I shall habitants, pine-tenths of whom are of stand excused, by being in a situation in the people called Quakers; and that the which I am entirely unaccustomed. By said island is for the most part barren and the evidence of Stephen Higginson and sandy, not yielding provision for a twen- captain Jenkins, I'think it was fully tieth part of its inhubitants; and that the proved, that by the operation of this Bill, inhabitants almost wholly depend on the should it pass into a law, the inhabitants of whale fishery for their subsistence, pur- some of the provinces may probably, by chasing with the produce of the said oc- the clause which is to restrain their trade, cupation, grain and other necessaries from be reduced to famine; and that by the de the neighbouring colonies; and that, if privation of their fisheries, that calamity the said Bill should pass in a law, these will not only be encreased, but a great people would unavoidably be exposed to number of innocent subjects undergo & all the hardships of famine as no provi- punishment which they do not deserve, as sions can be imported from any of the by their occupation the majority of them neighbouring colonies, and their trade, by are the most part of the year at sea, and which they subsist, will be totally prohi- consequently must have been absent from bited; and that the said ii abitants, to the disturbances at home. That by the evibest of the petitioners' infiation and be- dence of captain Jenkins, the inhabitants lief, are intirely innocent respect to the of the island of Nantucket, will in a greater present disturbances in America ; where- degree be affected by the barrenness of fore, in consideration of the miseries im- their soil, and they are the more to be pending over so large a part of their commiserated, because, had that island brethren, and others their fellow sub- remained within the district of the projects, in that island and in the neighbour- vince of New York, as it was originally, hood, under the like circumstances, the they would not have been included in this petitioners intreat the House, that the said | Bill, it being but about sixty years since Bill may not pass into a law, as thereby a the island of Nantucket was made a part most grievous punishment would be in. of the province of the Massachuset's Bay, dicted on the innocent, and a body of a circumstance that doubtless many of men, whose occupation is hazardous, their this honourable committee know : to gains uncertain, and their labours neces. which may be added, that as the inhabisary to themselves and the community, tants are peaceable and industrious, and would be subjected to inevitable ruin and by the principles of the majority and the destruction.”
occupation of all, they are innocent subAnd the said Petitions were severally jects, it appears extremely hard that they ordered to be referred to the considera- should be included in this severe punishition of the committee of the whole House ment. When I say principles, I do not to whom the said Bill is committed. mean to be understood, that the people
The order of the day was read for the called Quakers have not the same regard House to go into the said committee. It for civil and religious liberty, as their felwas moved that the Speaker do not leave low subjects, but that their principles lead the chair. The House divided. Noes 24. them to suffer oppression more patiently Ayes 97.
than others, and not without a hope that The House resolved itself into the said their superiors, by proper and respectful Committee ; sir Charles Whitworth in the remonstrances, may give them relief; for chair.
resistance they cannot adopt.-By the Mr. David Barclay was called in. He evidence of both, it appears, how unfaappeared as agent for the committee of vourable are their ideas of the government North American merchants, and wished, and country of Halifax; how certain it with the permission of the committee, to is that these seafaring people will be conexamine some witnesses in support of their strained to emigrate elsewhere for subsisPetition. He then examined Mr. Brook tence, and how probable that some of them Watson, Mr. Stephen Higginson, and Mr. ( may go to the French.-By the evidence Seth Jenkins. After which,
of Brooke Watson, it appears how extenMr. David Barclay addressed the Com- sive the fisheries were in 1764, and by Hig mittee: I will now, with the indulgence of ginson and Jenkins, how very much they this honourable committee, take the liber- are since encreased. By the evidence o
John Lane, the large debt due from the Americans being pressed by parliament's provinces of New England; and that if not chusing to leave them their old privithe fisheries should be stopped, how little is lege, whether that privilege was by law, to be expected from their other means of custom, or mere indulgence, of taxing remittance when compared to the de- themselves internally, they denied only mands on them, from this country.-By our right of internal taxation. However, Watson, Higginson, and Jenkins, the im- it was soon proved to them, by argument practicability of carrying on these fisheries and practice, that an external tax could to an equal extent and advantage from be made to answer all the purposes, and Great Britain ; and how dangerous it will to produce all the mischiefs, of internal be to divert out of its usual channel, a taxation. They then denied the right of certain trade, the advantages of which taxing for supply. Parliainent next procentre in this kingdom.-From all these ceeded violently to deprive them of their combined circumstances, I am led to be charters, and to make them other acts lieve, that this honourable Committee will relative to their trials; then they de. see the impropriety of passing the fishery nied your power of internal legislation. Bill into à law; and I trust will be con. But still in the midst of all their vio. vinced that the merchants and traders of lence and all their provocation to it, they the city of London do not trouble this never hitherto have formally rejected House with petitions, but when the neces- the power of parliament to bind their trade. sity of the case absolutely requires it, and But the British legislature is now to conthat their anxiety to be heard at this bar, vince the Americans, that if but a single before measures are adopted, proceeds from branch of legislative power is left to this the belief, that they have it in their power, country, we can make that single power to give such information as may enable answer all the purposes of a power to tax. the honourable House, consistent with its This Bill, which is to restrain their comwisdom, its justice, and its dignity, to merce until they submit, until they cease adopt measures the most advantageous to to resist our taxing authority, and indeed, the landed and commercial interest of the whatever else is thought fit to be imposed whole British empire.
on them, will convince, he said, the AmeAfter this, the Speaker resumed the ricans, that this power, thus used, may be chair. Sir C. Whitworth reported from made by far the most oppressive, and worse the Committee, that they had heard the than any of those they had hitherto denied. petitioners the merchants, traders, and He was quite satisfied, that the Bill was others, of the city of London, interested in meant for nothing else but to exasperate the American commerce, in support of the colonies into open and direct rebellion. their petition, by their agent: and had Hitherto rebellion was only asserted, and made a progress in the Bill; and asked that ambiguously, of one colony. It would leave to sit again.
from this Bill probably become apparent,
and universal in all, and thus give an opMarch 6. On the motion that the Bill portunity for drawing the sword, and be engrossed,
throwing away the scabbard. He indeed Lord Howe expatiated on the necessity acquitted the ministry of a design of raising of the measure, as the only moderate a rebellion for the mere purpose of havoc means of bringing the disobedient provinces and destruction. But said, that as by their to a sense of their duty, without involving injudicious measures they had brought the the empire in all the horrors of a civil war. colonies into a state of the greatest dis
Mr. Charles Fox said, that this Bill must obedience, disorder, and confusion, withhave been calculated to put an end to all out being at the same time within the that remained of the legislative authority legal description of rebellion, this was a of Great Britain over America. That it state of things full of the greatest difficulmust be intended to shew to the colonies ties, and in which it required the utmost that there was no one branch of supreme nicety to conduct government. But when authority, which parliament might not things were brought to the length of reabuse in such a manner, as to render it bellion, the course of proceeding, however reasonable to deny, and necessary to resist desperate, was simple and obvious. And it. To prove this he went through the now, as by this Aci all means of acquiring history of the several steps, by which the a livelihood, or of receiving provisions authority of parliament was denied, by were cut off, no other alternative was left, having been abused. At first, said he, the but starving or rebellion. (VOL. XVIII.)
Mr. Jenkinson drew a very different in- | they deserved; but whether they might so ference from the fact of the progressive subsist or not, was no part of his considetail of the several parts of our legislative deration. He looked on the Act as coauthority in America. That fact, so ercive, and that the coercion which put strongly stated by Mr. Fox, shewed clearly the speediest end to the dispute, was certhat the colonists aimed at a rebellious in- tainly the most effectual. That when it dependence from the beginning; for have was said no alternative was left to the New ing at first only denied our right of inter- Englanders but to starve or rebel, this was nal taxation, when that right was modelled not the fact, for there was another way, to to their own pretences, they quarrelled submit. He wished, however, that some just as violently with this mode as with test to discriminate the innocent from the the former. Afterwards, when their mul- guilty had been adopted. That this test, tiplied disorders had made internal regula- notwithstanding it had been originally tions necessary, they denied the power of stated as part of the plan by lord North, making these regulations. They first pro- had been dropped by his lordship. That voked penalties by their disobedience, and it might serve to introduce a rule of obethen denied the right of the power which dience for all, and might prevent the innohad been put under a necessity of inflict- cent from being involved with the guilty in ing those penalties. The reasons, he said, a common punishment. But the Act was alleged in censure of the acts of legisla- on the whole so right, and he approved ture, were in reality their strongest justifi- and admired it so much, that he could not cation and best panegyrics. He thought quarrel with it for this defect.-As to what therefore this Act to be in every respect had been apprehended from the loss to the just, and considering the offence of those merchants of Old England, by disabling who are the object of it, merciful. those of the New to pay their debts, he
Mr. T. Townshend urged the cruelty said, that when the colonists had submitted, and injustice of an Act which made no dis- | they might then resume their fisheries and crimination between innocence and guilt, their trade, and thus be enabled to pay which starved all alike, and which had a their debts. In the mean time, that part tendency to fix an eternal hatred of this of the capital stock of England, which was country and its legislature in the minds of now employed in carrying on the fisheries the Americans. With regard to the ori of New England, would be employed in ginal provocation stated to have produced carrying on our own, and thus our merchants the penalties, he denied the fact; but as- could suffer no loss a whatsoever. This was serted, on the contrary, that our violating as clear as any demonstration of Euclid. their privileges, or grossly shocking their Lord John Cavendish was shocked with old respectable prejudices, first produced the perfect ease and alacrity with which the disobedience, and then the disobe. they voted famine to a whole people ; and dience was punished by the most cruel and he was in particular surprised at the ideas unnatural acts.
of clemency, entertained by the learned The Solicitor General of Scotland* said, gentleman who spoke last. He commendthe Act had his most hearty approbation. ed this measure, because it was not sanThat it was just, because provoked by the guinary; but to kill by starving, was not most criminal disobedience: it was mer- cruelty; and provided a man's blood was ciful, because that disobedience would have not shed, he miglit be destroyed with great justified the severest military execution. gentleness-in any other way whatsoever. This measure was not sanguinary: and This Act he considered as alienating the as to the famine which was so pathetically Americans for ever, and rendering uselamented, he was afraid it would not be less any possible plan of reconciliation. produced by this Act. That though pre- Mr. Rice did not adopt this proposition vented from fishing in the sea, the New but with the greatest pain and reluctance. Englanders had fish in their rivers, to He knew it was harsh; but that harsh which this Act did not prevent them from measures were unfortunately necessary. resorting; and that though he understood He was satisfied from a careful comparison their country was not fit for grain, yet they of all the parts of the proceedings of the had a grain of their own, Indian corn, on Americans with each other, that indewhich they might subsist full as well as pendency was their object; that they in
tended to throw off the commercial restricMr. Henry Dundas, created viscount Mel- tions, as well as the taxes : on which latter ville in 1802.
point he was as much inclined to relax as any other gentleman, if he could be tole- where one not being able to conquer anrably assured that such relaxation would other, thinks to reduce its strength granot be introductory to a further, and a dually, by destroying its trade and cutworse opposition on their parts. He ting off its resources. That this mode thought he saw, by the obstinate conduct was never used by princes towards their of Boston in holding out so long, and under subjects in rebellion; the maxim in such such inconveniences, that their designs cases always was, to cut off the rebels but were very deep; and he was convinced to spare the country, because its strength that the satisfaction to custom-house of. is the strength of the sovereign himself. ficers, required as a condition of pardon Here the principle was reversed; the force by the Act wbich shut up their port, was used against the rebels was trifling (though their principal reason for this stubborn op- very expensive) but the trade, which was position. And this pointed clearly to the the wealth of the country, was to be de true object of their resistance.
stroyed. Mr. Edmund Burke was afraid any
de. He then entered into the difference of bate on this subject was to little purpose. expence, and the loss between the two When this parliament, originally disen- modes; and proved, in detail, that these gaged to any system, and free to chuse Bills would, 'in all probability, cost the among all, had, previous to any examina- nation more than the maintenance of an tion whatsoever, begun by adopting army of 40,000 men. That when things proceedings of the last, the whole line of were come to violences he thought the our public conduct was then determined. sword much the most effectual, and [Here the majority raised a great cry of though severe, not so unjust as these uni. approbation.] He said the cry was na- versal proscriptions, because it would fall tural, and the inference from what he had only on those who resisted. But this Act said just; that the road by penitence to confounded all kinds of people, all sexes, amendment was, he knew, humiliating and all ages, in one common ruin. That nodifficult; and that the greater part of man- thing could be at once more foolish, more kind were disposed like Macbeth to think cruel, and more insulting, than to hold
“ I am in blood out, as a resource to the starving fisher“ Stept in so far, that, should I wade no more men, ship-builders, and the infinite number
Returning were as tedious as go v'er;" of other mechanics employed in trade and and thus they pass towards the further fishery, and ruined by this Act, that after bank, be the channel ever so wide, or the the plenty of the ocean, they may poke in food ever so deep and rapid. That as the brooks, and rake in the puddles of this measure was in the same spirit as all their respective countries, and diet on the former, he did not doubt but that it what we considered as husks and draft would be productive of the very same con
for hogs. sequence.
It was, he said, foolish and insulting; That this was, in effect, the Boston Port because, when you deprive a man of his Bill
, but upon infinitely a larger scale. trade and occupation, you deprive him of That evil principles are prolific; this Bos- the means of his livelihood, if there were ton Port Bill, begot this New England ever so much fish in the streams, or corn Bill; this New England Bill will beget a in the fields. That a shoemaker's liveVirginia Bill; again a Carolina Bill, and lihood goes when a fisherman can no that will beget a Pennsylvania Bill: till one longer pay him for his shoes. He has no by one parliament will ruin all its colonies, resource in other people's plenty. How and root up all its commerce ; until the is he to get at horse-beans or Indian.corn, statute book becomes nothing but a black or at the worst of food, for himself and and bloody roll of proscriptions, a frightful his starving family? Then he shewed, that code of rigour and tyranny, a monstrous the ruin of the staple trade of a people, digest of Acts of penalty, incapacity, and involved in it the ruin of the whole comgeneral attainder; and that, open it where munity; and proved, by entering miyou will, you will find a title for destroying nutely into its nature and employment, some trade, or ruining some province. that the British capital employed in the
That the scheme of parliament was new New England trade, could not possibly and unheard of in any civilized nation, be turned to the British fishery; and
to preserve your authority by destroying (treating very lightly the demonstration your dominions. It was rather the idea of Euclid) he shewed, that one year's inof hostility between independent states, termission of the course of the New Eng