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[lord WESTCOTE] who spoke early, in the heat of his zeal had called it a holy war. For his part, though the honorable gentleman who made the motion, and some other gentlemen, had been more than once in the course of the debate severely reprehended for calling it a wicked and accursed war, he was persuaded, and would affirm, that it was a most cursed, wicked, barbarous, cruel, unnatural, unjust, and diabolical war. It was conceived in injustice : it was nurtured and brought forth in folly : its footsteps were marked with blood, slaughter, persecution, and devastation: in truth, every thing which went to constitute moral depravity and human turpitude, was to be found in it. It was pregnant with misery of every kind. The mischiefs, however, recoiled on the unhappy people of this country who were made the instruments, by which the wicked purposes of its authors were effected. The nation was drained of its best blood and of its vital resources of men and
of it was enormous, much beyond any former experience ; and yet, what had the British nation received in return ? Nothing but a series of ineffective victories, or severe defeats--victories celebrated only by a temporary triumph over our brethren, whom we would trample down and destroy; which filled the land with mourning for the loss of dear and valuable relations, slain in the impious cause of enforcing unconditional submission; or with narratives of the glorious exertions of men, struggling in the holy cause of liberty, though struggling under all the difficulties and disadvantages which in general are deemed the necessary concomitants of victory and success. Where was the Englishman, on reading the narratives of those bloody and well-fought contests, who could refrain from lamenting the loss of so much British blood, spilt in such a cause ? or from weeping on whatever side victory
might be declared ? Add to this melancholy consideration, that on which ever side we looked, we could perceive nothing but our natural and powerful enemies, or luke-warm and faithless friends rejoicing in our calamities, or meditating our ultimate downfall."
He said, “ he had taken the present opportunity of delivering his sentiments on the American war. There was not a point of view in which he considered it, there was not a feature which presented itself to his notice, but served the more and more to confirm him in the opinion he had early formed concerning its mischievous and destructive tendency; and he trusted the present opinion he had given would be received, as it was sincerely intended, as fully expressive of his principles, so far as they might be applicable, or seemed to bear a relation to the American war, in all its future, as well as former stages.”
He made several detached observations on the grounds and motives, on which the honorable gentleman [Mr. Fox] had supported his motion; but seemed chiefly to rest his arguments on the injustice of the war in its outset, the innumerable mischiefs it had already been productive of, and the still more fatal and disastrous events it might bring with it, if ministers or the nation should persevere in urging a war, which, whether successful or not, ought not to be further pursued, because it was totally subversive of the true constitutional connection by which both countries were united.
Mr. Fox's proposition was negatived by a majority of 172-to 99.
We shall close this selection from the debates during the American war with a summary of the speeches of Mr. Fox, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. BURKE, on the address in November 1781, just after intelligence had been received
of the surrender of lord CORNWALLIS's army in Virginia, though the speech from the throne was still expressive of confidence, and called for the concurrence and support
of parliament, and a vigorous, animated, and united exertion of the faculties and resources of the people.
In opposing a ministerial echo of this speech, Mr. Fox said, " he had expected, and he knew it had been expected by many others, to hear on this occasion his Majesty declare from the throne, that he had been deceived and imposed upon by misinformation and misrepresentation ; that in consequence of his delusion, the parliament had been deluded; but that now the deception was at an end ; and requesting of his parliament to devise the most speedy and efficacious means of putting an end to the public calamities; instead of which they had heard a speech breathing little else than vengeance, misery, and blood. Those who were ignorant of the personal character of the Sovereign, and who imagined this speech to originate with him, might be led to suppose that he was an unfeeling despot, rejoicing in the horrid sacrifice of the liberty and lives of his subjects, who, when all hope of victory was vanished, still thirsted for revenge. The ministers, who advised this speech, he affirmed to be a curse to the country, over the affairs of which they had too long been suffered to preside. From that unrivalled pre-eminence which we so lately possessed, they had made us the object of ridicule and scorn to the surrounding nations. The noble lord in the blue ribband had indeed thought fit to ascribe the American war and all its attendant calamities to the speeches of Oppositios. Oh! wretched and incapable minister, whose measures are framed with so litile foresight, and executed with so little firmness, that because a rash and intemperate invective is uttered against them in the House of Commons, they shall in
stantly crumble in pieces, and bring down ruiu upon the country! Miserable statesman! to allow for no contingencies of fortune, no ebullition of passion, no collision of sentiment! Could he expect the concurrence of every individual in that House ? and was he so weak or wicked, as to contrive plans of government of such a texture, that the intervention of circumstances, obvious and unavoidable, would occasion their total failure, and hazard the existence of the empire ? Ministers must ex. pect to hear of the calamities in which they had involved the empire, again and again -- not merely in that House, but as he trusted at the tribunal of justice ; “ for," said he," the time will surely come, when an oppressed and irritated people will firmly call for siGNAL PUNISHMENT on those whose counsels have brought the nation so near to the brink of destruction. An indignant nation will surely in the end compel them to make some faint atonement for the magnitude of their offences on A PUBLIC SCAFFOLD.”
He concluded with moving, “That of the Address proposed, the whole be omitted, excepting the first paragraph, and the following words inserted : “ And we will, without delay, apply ourselves, with united hearts to propose and digest such counsels as may in this crisis excite the efforts, point the arms, and by a total change of system, command the confidence of all his Majesty's subjects."
This amendment was vigorously supported by Mr. Pitt, who declared, “that the duty he owed his Sovereign, and his country, compelled him to exert every effort to prevent the House from precipitately voting an address, which pledged them to the support of that fatal system, which had led his country, step by step, to the most calamitous and disgraceful situation to which a once
flourishing and glorious empire could be reduced. Was it becoming the parliament of a free people to echo back the words which a minister, long practised in the arts of delusion, had dared to put into the Royal mouth ? He implored the House not to vote for an address fraught with treachery and falsehood, which could not have been framed by any who felt for the honour of the King, the dignity of parliament, or the interest of the nation.”
Mr. BURKE drew a most striking picture of the losses and disasters which had been sustained through the egre. gious folly and misconduct of the present administration. s. Under such circumstances, the language held by the noble lord was,” he said, “ audacious; it was insulting." Mr. BURKE declared, “ that he deplored and mourned over the calamities of his country; but to see the noble lord stand up in the face of day, and hear him IMPUDENTLY vindicate the measures which had given birth to them—this was most of all alarming; this it was which froze his blood, and harrowed up his soul."
Mr. Burke ridiculed with keen and exquisite poig. pancy the stress so absurdly laid on the supposed original and inherent right of Great Britain to exercise taxation over America. 6 Oh! inestimable right,” exclaimed Mr. BURKE, “Oh! wonderful, transcendant right, the assertion of which has cost this country thirteen provinces, six islands, one hundred thousand lives, and seventy millions of money! Oh invaluable right! for the sake of which we have sacrificed our rank among nations, our importance abroad, and our happiness at home! Oh right ! more dear to us than our existence, which has already cost us so much, and which seems likely to cost us our all. Infatuated man!” cried Mr. BURKE, fixing his eye on the minister, “ miserable and undone country! not to know that the claim of right, VOL, II,