Abbildungen der Seite

an ideot if they are not repealed. Avoid then this humiliating, disgraceful necessity. With a dignity becoming your exalted situation, make the first advances to concord, to peace, and to happiness. Concession comes with better grace and more salutary effect from superior power : it reconciles superiority of power with the feel ings of man, and establishes solid confidence on the foundations of affection and gratitude. On the other hand, every danger and every hazard impend to deter you from perseverance in the present ruinous measures : foreign war hanging over your heads by a slight and brittle thread--France, and Spain watching your conduct, and waiting for the maturity of your errors, with a vigilant eye to America and the temper of your colonies, MORE THAN TO THEIR OWN CONCERNS, BE THEY WHAT THEY MAY. To conclude, my lords, if the ministers thus persevere in misadvising and misleading the King, I will not say, that they can alienate the affections of his subjects from the crown; but I affirm, they will make the crown not worth his wearing. I will not say that the King is BETRAYED, but I will pronounce, that the KINGDOM is UNDONE.

This motion for the immediate removal of the troops from Boston was ably seconded by lord CAMDEN, whose speech was distinguished by the following bold assertions :

“ King, Lords, and Commons, áre grand and sounding names, but King, Lords, and Commons may become tyrants as well as others. Tyranny in one or more is the same: it is as lawful to resist the tyranny of many, as of one: this has been a doctrine known' and acted upon in this country for ages.

When the famous Selden was asked, by what statute resistance to tyranny could be justified? his reply was; It is to be justified by the custom

of England, which is a part of the law of the land. I will affirm, my lords, not only as a statesman, politician, and philosopher, but as a common lawyer, that you have no right to tax America. No man, agreeably to the principles of natural or civil liberty, can be divested of any part of his property without his consent; and whenever oppression begins, resistance becomes lawful and right.” The motion was rejected by 68 voices against 18.

On the 20th of November 1777, just at the time that government had received some dispatches of an unfavourable nature from general BURGOYNE, but not ex. tending to the catastrophe of Saratoga, parliament assembled ; and the speech from the throne expressed not

! only a confidence that the spirit and intrepidity of his Majesty's forces would be attended with important success; but “ a determination steadily to pursue the measures in which we were engaged,” with a hope

" that the deluded, and unwary multitude would finally return to their allegiance."

In moving an amendment to the address, lord CHAT. HAM spoke as follows :

« It has been usual on similar occasions of public difficulty and distress, for the crown to make application to this House, the great hereditary council of the nation, for advice and assistance. As it is the right of pa: liament to give, so it is the duty of the crown to ask it. But, on this day, and in this extreme momentous exigency, no reliance is reposed on your vice is asked of parliament ; but the crown from itself, and by itself, declares an unalterable determination to pursue its own preconcerted measures ; and what measures, my lords ? measures which have produced hither, to nothing bụt disappointments and defeats.. I CANNOT,


[ocr errors]

my lords, I WILL NOT join in congratulation on misfor. tune and disgrace. This, my lords, is a perilous and tremendous moment: it is not a time for adulation : the smoothness of dattery cannot save us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to instruct the throne, in the language of TRUTH. We must, if possible, dispel the delusion and darkness which envelope it ; and display, in its full danger and genuinc colors the ruin which is brought to our doors. Can ministers still presume to expect support in their infatuation! Can parliament be so dead to its dignity and duty as to give their support to measures thus obtruded and forced upon them? Measures, my lords, which have reduced this late flourishing empire to scorn and contempt. But yesterday, and England might have stood against the world-Now, none so poor to do her reverence.” The people whom we at first despised as rebels, but whom we now acknowledge as enemies, are abetted against you, supplied with every military store, their interests consulted, and their ambassadors entertained by your inveterate enemy; and our ministers do not, and dare not, interpose with dignity or effect. The desperate state of our army abroad is in part known. No man more highly esteems and honors the English troops than I do: I know their virtues and their valor : I know they can achieve any thing except impossibilities ; and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility. You CANNOT, my lords, you CANNOT conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst, but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing, and suffered much. You may swell every expence, and strain every effort, accumulate every assistance, and extend your traffic to the shambles of every German despot ; your attempts for ever will be vain and impotent; doubly


s0 indeed from this mercenary aid on which you rely ; for it irritates to an incurable resentment the minds of your adversaries to overrun them with the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the capacity of hireling cruelty. If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms—NEVER ! NEVER ! NEVER! But, my lords, who is the man, that in addition to the disgraces and mischiefs of war, has dared to authorize, and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping knife of the savage-to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhuman inhabitant of the woods ?-to delegate to the merciless Indian the defence of disputed rights, and to wage the horrors of his bar. barous war against our brethren? My lords, these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment. Familiarized to the horrid scenes of savage cruelty, our army can no longer boast of the noble and generous principles which dignify a soldier. No longer are their feelings awake to the pride, pomp, and circumstance of GLORIOUS war;"_but the sense of honor is degraded into a vile spirit of plunder, and the systematic practice of murder, From the ancient connection between Great Britain and her colonies, both parties derived the most important advantage. While the shield of our protection was extended over America, she was the fountain of our wealth, the nerve of our strength, the basis of our power. It is not, my lords, a wild and lawless banditti whom we oppose ; the resistance of America is the struggle of free and virtuous patriots. Let us then seize with eagerness the present moment of reconciliation. America has not yet finally given herself up to France : there yet remains a possibility of escape from the fatal effect of our delusions. In this complicated crisis of danger, weakness,



and calamity, terrified and insulted by the neighbouring powers, unable to act in America, or acting only to be destroyed, WHERE is the man who will venture to flatter us with the hope of success from perseverance in measures productive of these dire effects? Who has the effrontery to attempt it? Where is that man? Let him if he D&R E, stand forward and shew his face.

You cannot conciliate America by your present measures : you can. not subdue her by your present or any measures. Whác then can you do? You cannot conquer, you cannot gain ; but you can ADDRESS : you can lull the fears and anxieties of the moment into ignorance of the danger that should produce them. I did hope, instead of that false and empty pride; engendering high conceits and presumptuous imaginations, that ministers would have huma bled themselves in their errors-would have confessed and retracted them, and by an active, though a late re. pentance, have endeavoured to redeem them. But, my lords, since they have neither sagacity to foresee, nor jus tice nor humanity to shun those calamities---since not even bitter experience can make them feel, nor the im minent ruin of their country awaken them from their stupefaction, the guardian care of parliament must interpose. I shall therefore, my lords, propose to you an amendment to the address to his Majesty-To recommend an immediate cessation of hostilities, and the commencement of a treaty to restore peace and liberty to America, strength and happiness to England, security and permanent prosperity to both countries. This, my lords, is yet in our power; and let not the wisdom and justice of your lordships neglect the happy and perhaps the only opportunity."

Lord SUFFOLK, Secretary of State, in the course of the debite, contended for the employment of Indians in.

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »