« ZurückWeiter »
in time of peace, citizen and soldier to open these sluices of expence. It is happily intermixing with each other in therefore in vain to hold out economical equal privileges, yet upon an invasion, or a resolutions in our votes, when our concivil war, when men of high minds come duct must produce a contrary effect. I to assemble in military camps, with the hope, however, that the sentiments of Weapons in their hands, the contagion of gentlemen on the subject of American power will soon spread; nevertheless, we affairs begin to alter. "I hope, they will must maintain (though with a watchful now see what men, uncorrupted by the eye) a necessary force for defence, in case luxurious vices of a great capital, are caof invasion. I speak as a seaman, con. pable of suffering, in support of essential fident, that whenever France shall find an privileges; and that the flattering expecenterprizing officer, capable of conducting tations of seeing America at our feet, are such an attempt with skill and resolution, now vanished. that the landing of an army in this coun- To those who conceive that men are to try is not to be prevented, by all the ships yield their rights from oppression and diswe can arm, while the elements continue tress, I would recall to their memory the so various, and the distance so short. sufferings of the late parliament of Paris. There are several methods to accomplish The haughty mind of a debauched mithis, which I shall not repeat here, from nister and an imperious chancellor had inprudential motives ; but I am so convinced duced the late king of France to violate of the truth of my assertion, that I consider all the ancient and established privileges it as the duty of every man in this country of that august body, the only remaining to be ready to dispute the fate of this check against the despotism of the mokingdom on a battle; and if we are left narch: even men of wit and genuis were without a necessary strength to support found base enough to vilify the claims of wavering minds in such a conjuncture, the parliament; for I am sorry to observe, while we are thinking of depriving our fel- that fortitude of mind does not always low-citizens of their just and legal rights accompany excellent talents; and that in America, we may, as a proper punish- many men possessing those rare gifts are ment, lose our own. It is true, that, by too often induced to lend their ingenuity the present vote, we do not preclude our- to the hand that pays them, in support of selves from an augmentation in the course the doctrines of the day. Is it possible of the session, in case the exigencies of for any of the people of America to unthe state shall require it, and so far I am dergo greater distress than those worthy willing to assent to the present motion; patriots in France have suffered? Debut
, I beg gentlemen in administration prived of their office and subsistence, bawill
, in the mean time, draw no merit nished from their friends, vilified by the from proposing so low an establishment, court, no prospect of a change; yet sup. unless they intend to alter their measures ; ported by principle and a good con. since it is undoubtedly inadequate to our science, they have now seen their day of situation ; and I would likewise caution triumph, and felt the reward of virtue ; the landed interest, not to plume them- securing to their country, by their perseselves on the escape they have made, verance, more essential rights than have since it is equally evident, a further taxa- been obtained by three civil wars. After tion, if not included in the general vote of such concessions from the king of France, this year, must be demanded by extraordi. shall the king of Great Britain be ashamed naries , or a vote of credit
, to meet them to yield to the just cries of two millions of next session, under the multiplied expences his subjects ! of that mode of raising money.
I know all the arguments which are With regard to the navy, I confess it to used to entangle weak men in support of be extremely hard, that the noble lord the present arbitrary tenets. The subshould be attacked in the last session of ject, indeed, is complicated ; and men are parliament for too great profusion, and confounded, more than convinced. It is blamed in this for the reduction that was said that legislation existing in the parliathea deemed necessary: bút I am not one ment of Great Britain, laxation, which is of those who are captivated with a simple a part of legislation, must necessarily be proposition upon paper, when all the included. The various privileges which avenues of extravagance are kept open; subsist in every free state, are hardly to while the situation of our affairs, from the be determined by any reasoning a priori. "est judged policy, necessarily leads us Such dilemmas occur on every subject.
Can any position appear more ridiculous does not proceed from want of health, in to those who maintain the doctrines of which case, no man could feel more sorvirtual representation, than, that a bo- row for his lordship than myself; but, I rough should send two members to parlia- hope, it arises from a more serious and ment, without house or inhabitant? And deep reflection on the subject, where his yet there are many who hear me, strenu- own good sense has had room to operate, ous advocates against American charters, free from those violent associates, who that hold their seats in this House under seem to have precipitated his lordship into such a curious representation.
At the such harsh and cruel measures, contrary same time, I confess the basis of the con- to his own natural good temper. Here, stitution depends on preserving their pri- then, I shall conclude, as I set out, hoping, vileges entire, since no man can say how that generous, just, pacific measures will far the reform would reach; and the be adopted; but still insisting, that no whole art of government consists in pre- man can determine properly on the numserving to every one his established rights. ber of forces to be employed, until we The most certain science we know, is ma- know the measures that are to be pursued thematics; yet, if I was to say to many respecting America. men, that two lines might approach nearer Mr. Fox said, it was proper to include and nearer to all eternity, and never could Ireland in all the debates upon American meet, they would think the assertion ridi- taxation, in order to ascertain the parliaculous and absurd. Nevertheless, there is mentary right of taxation over every part nothing so certain as the truth of that of the British dominions. theorem. It is equally true, that legisla- Lord Clare jocularly complimented Mr. tion may exist without the power of tax- Rigby highly on the exceeding popularity, ation. The kingdom of Ireland, within reverence, and esteem, that gentleman our own dominions, is a proof of what was held in by the whole Irish nation ; these learned gentlemen assert to be so that there was no man in England or Ireimpossible. · A worthy member, in my land more loved or revered. eye (Mr: Rigby) being pressed with this Mr. Rigby said, he acted in that coun. argument in the last session of parliament, try as secretary to the lord lieutenant ; from the fairness of his mind, he avowed, which, on many accounts, was rather an as his opinion, that we could tax Ire- invidious and critical station ; that the sen. land.' I remember there were some gen- timents now alluded to, he maintained tlemen in the gallery when this declara- upon general principles; that his opinion tion was made, whom I immediately per- was not singular, for he was supported in ceived, by the contorsions in their counte- it by a statute, passed in the reign of nance, to be Irish members. Next day George the first; that he begged to be the worthy member chose to make some understood, according to the obvious conapology to his friends. He said, no pa- struction of that statute; and that, acrallel could be drawn between Ireland and cording to that sense of it, he still conthe colonies; for Ireland had a parapher- tinued to be of opinion, that the legislanalia ; and this satisfied both the English ture of Great Britain had a right to make and Irish members. For my part, I do laws to bind Ireland, and all the other not see what difficulty can occur, in leav- members and dependencies of the British ing the different colonies on the same foot- empire. ing of raising money by requisition, as Mr. Cruger, the new member for Bristol, from the people of Ireland. If it is an American by birth, spoke next. I rise, thought this manner of raising supplies Sir, to say a few words on this important might throw too much power into the subject, with all the diffidence and awe hands of the crown, that power might be which must strike the mind, on a first atlimited, so as not to be exerted, except tempt to speak before so august an asupon the address of both Houses of Par- sembly. Had I remained silent on this liament, such as has been lately adopted occasion, I must have condemned myself respecting the prerogative in regulating for seeming to desert a cause which I the coin. I am still hopeful, that the think it my duty to espouse. I cannot tense chord, on which our American creed but be heard with candour by Englishhas been said and sung, will be relaxed. I men, when what I offer is dictated by a think I perceive the tone of the noble love to my country. lord is not so loud, or so lofty, as on some I am far from approving all the proformer debates on this subject. I hope it ceedings in America. Many of their
measures have been a dishonour to their interrupted. If the parental trunk is incause. Their rights might have been jured, the branches must suffer with it. asserted without violence, and their claims A subordination on the part of the colostated with temper as well as firmness. pies is essential to this union. I acknowBut permit me to say, Sir, that if they have ledge, Sir, that there must exist power erred, it may be considered as a failing of somewhere to superintend and regulate human nature. A people animated with the movements of the whole, for the ata love of liberty, and alarmed with appre- tainment and preservation of our common hensions of its being in danger, will un- happiness: this supreme power can be avoidably run into excesses: the history justly and adequately exercised only by of mankind declares it in every page; and the legislature of Great Britain. In this Britons ought to view, with an eye of ten. doctrine the colonies tacitly acquiesced, derness, acts of imprudence, to which and were happy: England enjoyed by it their fellow-subjects in America may have all the advantages of an exclusive trade. been hurried; not as has been unkindly Why, then, strain this authority so much, said, by a rebellious spirit, but by that ge- as to render a submission to it impossible, perous spirit of freedom, which has often without a surrender of those liberties led their own ancestors into indiscretions. which are most valuable in civil society,
Acts of severity are far from having a and were ever acknowledged the birth. tendency to eradicate jealousies : on the right of Englishmen? When Great Bricontrary, they must produce new fears, tain derives from her colonies the most and endanger that attachment and obedi- ample supplies of wealth by her comence, which kindness and gentleness might merce, is it not absurd to close up those have insured.
channels, for the sake of a claim of im. No country has been more happy in its posing taxes, which (though a young colonies than Great Britain. Connected inember) I will dare to say, never have, by mutual interests (till the æra of the and probably never will, defray the exfatal Stamp Act) they fourished in an in- pence of collecting them? tercourse of amity, protection and obedi- The expediency of coercive measures is ence, supporting and supported by each much insisted on by some, who, I am sorry other. Before that hated period, we to say, seem to consider more the distress meet with no instances of disobedience to into which they will involve the Ameriyour laws; no denial of the jurisdiction cans, than the benefits they can procure of parliament; no marks of jealousy and from such vindictive conduct to this discontent.
They ever loved liberty; country. Humanity, however, will prompt their zeal for it is coeval with their first the generous mind to weep over severities, emigration to America. They were per- though they may be even necessary; and secuted for it in this country; they sought a prudent statesman will reflect, that the a sanctuary in the unexplored regions of colonies cannot suffer without injury to that
. They cleared their inhospitable Great Britain. They are your customers ; wilds, cultivated their lands, and poured they consume your manufactures :-by the wealth which they derived from agri- distressing them, if you do not drive them culture and commerce into the bosom of to foreign markets, you will most asthe mother country:
suredly disable them from taking your You protected them in their infant commodities, and from making you returns state, and they returned it, by confining for what they have taken. to you the benefits of their trade. You Should coercive measures reduce them regulated their commerce for the advan- to an acknowledgment of the equity of tage of this country, and they never disco- parliamentary taxation, what are the advered an opposition, either to the autho- vantages which will result from it? Can it rity or the exercise of it. Are these evi- be thought that the Americans will be dences of a spirit of disaffection to Great dragooned into a conviction of this right? Britain, or ingratitude for its protection ? Will severities increase their affection, and Are they not rather proofs, that if the make them more desirous of a connection same line of mild and lenient government with, and dependence on Great Britain ? had been pursued, the same cordiality and Is it not, on the contrary, reasonable to submission would have been continued. conclude, that the effect will be an increase
Every American, who loves his country, of jealousy and discontent; that they will must wish the prosperity of Great Britain, seek all occasions of evading laws imposed and that their union may ever subsist un. on them by violence; that they will be (VOL. XVIII.]
restless under the yoke, and think them- petitions and dutiful remonstrances to t selves happy under an opportunity of fly. parliament or the throne. He said, ing to the protection of any other power, thought it the duty of every member, from the subjection of a mother, whom well in the House as out of it, to interpr they consider cruel and vindictive? what might fall in the heat of debate,
I would not be understood, Sir, to deny warm discussion, in the manner it was e the good intentions of administration. plained by the speaker; that if he h The abilities of the minister, it seems, are been thus candidly dealt with, the auth universally acknowledged ; but I must of a late pamphlet, written in Americ add, humanum est errare. Though an could never have asserted, that he insist American, I applaud his jealousy for that Britain should never recede, till the la the dignity of parliament, and think the and liberties of America were at her fee impolicy and inexpediency of the late for as he never meant one, so he nev measures may reasonably be imputed to said the other. And he wished, that the difficulty of the occasion, and the un- the present occasion he should be unde settled and undefined nature of the de- stood according to his present explan pendence of the colonies on the mother tion, and no other. country; and vice versa, candour must Mr. Hartley was for making the Am admit the same apology for the violences ricans contribute to the general defen and mistakes of America.
of the empire, by way of a requisitio But since these measures have been and read one or two passages in som found, by sad experience, totally inade. American proceedings, to shew their wi quate; since they have widened the lingness to comply with such a measure. breach, instead of closing it; diminished the obedience of the colonies, instead of The Resolution was then agreed to. confirming it; increased the turbulence and opposition, instead of allaying them; Debate in the Commons on continuija it may be hoped, that a different plan of the Land Tax at only Three Shillings conduct
may be pursued, and some firm the Pound.] December 19. The Hous and liberal constitution adopted, by the went into a Committee of Ways an wisdom of this House, which may secure Means for raising a supply to be grante the colonists in their liberties, while it to his Majesty. maintains the just supremacy
Lord North stated from a paper whic liament.
he held in his hand, in detail, the amoun Sir William Mayne drew a melancholy of the grants and services. He said, th picture of the sufferings of the Irish; said former amounted hitherto but to 75,000 that all promises had been shamefully the duty on malt; that the services to b broken with them; that pensions to the incurred were navy and ordnance for se amount of 10,000l. per annum, had been service 830,0001. guards, garrisons, & lately granted on that miserable, ruined, 627,0001. military establishment in Ame and undone country; and that the Castle rica, West Indies, and Africa, 386,000 was an asylum to every needy, servile, difference of pay between British an cringing apostate, that would bow the Irish establishment, 2,8001. staff-officers knee, and barter every thing which should 11,000l. Chelsea, 122,000l. ordnance fo be dear to him, for emolument and court land service, 228,000l. services incurre favour.
and not provided for ditto the presen Lord North took notice, that an hon. year, 32,0001. in all amounting to, wit! gentleman (governor Johnstone) had al. the fractions, 2,244,0001. He observed luded to something he had said on a that the land tax continued at 3s. woul former occasion relative to Great Britain produce 1,500,0001. which added to the never receding or relaxing, till America malt, would amount to no was at her feet; his lordship observed, 2,250,0001. making a surplus of 6,000/ that it was hardly fair to quote what a man He acquainted the Committee further had said seven years before, and what he that the militia money and the general de had explained on the spot before he left ficiencies amounted last year to 580,000/ the House ; this explanation then, and and would for the present be at least now was, he said, that by being at the feet 400,0001. And that for these reasons he of Great Britain, he meant obedience to should move, That the land tax for the the mother country: such as, if they ensuing year be 3s. in the pound, which thought themselves aggrieved, to apply by was agreed to.
December 20. The Report from the information first had, were taken up on Committee of Ways and Means was mature deliberation, and discussed with brought up. On the question for agree coolness, in order in the end to come to ing to the land-tax of Ss. in the pound a wise, deliberate, and rational decision.
Mr. T. Townshend said, that whatever Mr. Hartley rose, and in a mild, sensi- that decision might be, the conduct of ad. ble speech, enlarged upon the very extra. ministration was for the present extremely ordinary conduct of administration con reprehensible; for while we were informed cerning American affairs. He said, the from administration that America was alaccounts from that country were truly most in a state of rebellion, the land, the alarming; that the resolutions of the con- malt, the navy, and the army, were voted tinental congress evidently proved, that with as much ease, and without a single the people were determined not to submit syllable, as if that country was in a state to the late Acts passed in relation to of the most perfect tranquillity and obediAmerica, nor to any other of a like com- ence: for, concluded he, either the infor. plexion ; that the troops now stationed at mation we have had is false, which I can Boston, and the inhabitants of that town, hardly suppose, or the estimates on the liad do means of procuring subsistence but table are by no means proportioned to the by sea, or from the country ; that either objects which are recommended from the method was now equally difficult, as the throne: for instance, if the army now in harbour would be frozen up, and the land America be to be augmented, or the carriage, even if subsistence was to be had, ships stationed there reinforced, the 3s. rendered impracticable, as the country land-tax now voted will certainly be insuf, would be covered with snow; and that ficient; and the deficiencies must be made under such circumstances, the situation of up without the knowledge of parliament, the troops would be no less deplorable by a vote of credit to defray expences inthan that of the niiserable inhabitants.- curred in the support of measures, with He continued to say, that he was not well which at present it is evident we are totersed in sieges, but if he understood tally unacquainted. right, he took it, that the town of Boston Mr. Rigby facetiously replied, Would was surrounded by general Gage with the hon. gentleman have a war establishlines of circumvallation; and that such ment in time of peace? Would he have us being the very critical state of things, re- embrue our hands in the blood of our specting both the situation, the temper, countrymen on the other side of the and disposition, of the military and the water? I dare say no man in this House natives, he submitted it to the gentlemen is ignorant of my sentiments, and yet I on the other side, how they could recon- should shudder at the thought. The hon. cile it to the duty they owed to the nation gentleman complains that the land, the in their public, or to their constituents in malt, &c. is voted without a syllable being their private capacity, to agree to a long said: pray whose fault is that? He would adjournment, while things remained in so not have, I presume, the gentleman who dangerous and alarming a state, without presented the navy estimates, rise and taking any one step to avert the numerous condemn them; he would not desire the and fatal mischiefs which they portended. noble lord, I suppose, who laid the army For his part, he affirmed solemnly, he estimates before you, to tell the House would much rather sit on Christmas-day, that the number of troops to be employed and continue to do so, de die in diem, than in America was insufficient, considering go to the country in so critical a season, the state of that country; nor the noble without, at least, agreeing to some mea- lord who proposed the tax of 3s. in the sures, though they should extend no fur- pound, to inform us in the same breath ther than prevention.
that it ought to be four. Who, then, is Mr. Rose Fuller said, that we were too to blame? Those who are convinced that precipitate in our last measures, and that the estimates and grants are too low, and was the chief reason why they miscarried; will not speak, or those who think them that he foresaw at the time they would sufficient, and declare their opinions? For answer no end, but to infame; nor ever my part, I do not think myself capable of would, while they were continued to be defending the gentleman now alluded to; directed to the same end; on which ac- nor have I, nor do I pretend to speak count he would be much better pleased from any information of my own; but as Abat the affairs of America, the necessary the establishment is a peace establishment,