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without the power of enforcing it, is nugatory and idle. We had a right to tax America, the noble lord tells us ; therefore we ought to tax America. This is the profound logic which comprizes the whole chain of his reasoning. Not inferior to this was the wisdom of him who resolved to shear the wolf. What! shear a wolfe ! Have you considered the resistance, the difficulty, the danger of the attempt? No, says the madman, I have considered nothing but the right. Man has a right of dominion over the beasts of the forest; and therefore I will shear the wolf. How wonderful that a nation could be thus deluded. But the noble lord dealt in cheats and delusions. They were the daily traffic of his invention ; and he would continue to play off his CHEATS on this House, so long as he thought them necessary to his purpose, and so long as he had money enough at command to bribe gentlemen to pretend that they believed him. But a black and bitter day of reckoning would surely come ; and whenever that day came, he trusted he should be able, by a PARLIAMENTARY IM PEACHMENT, to bring upon the heads of the authors of our calamities, the punishment they deserved."
PEACE OF 1783.
N the speech from the throne on the sth of December 1782, his Majesty having informed parliament that he had concluded with the Americans provisional articles of peace, by which they were acknowledged free and independant states, some severe remarks were made in the House of Peers on the inconsistency of the minister, [Lord SHELBURNE] who had at a former period strongly opposed the recognition of American independence. To this reproach his lordship replied, “ that he had exerted every effort to preserve America to this country;" and with great animation exclaimed, “ that he had not voluntarily yielded up this independency: he had merely submitted to the controlling power of necessity and fate. It was not I,” said he, " that made this cession: it was the evil star of Britain-it was the blunders of a former administration—it was the power of revolted subjects ; and the mighty arms of the house of Bourbon."
But the minister had to defend himself against much more pointed attacks when the preliminary articles of peace between Great Britain, France, and Spain were submitted to the consideration of the two Houses, in February 1783. The various articles were reprobated as derogatory from the dignity, and in the highest degree injurious to the interests of the nation. The dereliction of the loyalists of America and the Indians our allies,
was said to be a baseness unexampled in the records of history. In the lowest ebb of distress we ought not to have subscribed to terms so ignominious. . FRANCIS I., when conquered and a captive, wrote, “ that all was lost except his honor;" and his magnanimity finally reestablished his fortune. The folly of our negotiations was every where apparent. In Africa, our trade was surrendered to France, by the cession of Senegal and Goree in Asia, Pondicherry was not only given back, but to render the boon more acceptable, a large territory was made to accompany it-in America, the prohibitions against fortifying St. Pierre and Miquelon were removed, and the limits of the French fishery were extended ; and under pretence of drawing a boundary-line the treaty grants to the United States an immense tract of country inhabited by more than twenty Indian nations. In the West Indies, St. Lucia was relinquished, which was of such military importance that so long as we retained this island in our hands, we might well have stood upon the uti possidetis as the basis of negotiation in that quarter. The cession of East Florida to. Spain was an extravagance, for which it was impossible to find even the sha
, dow of a pretence. To complete the whole, France was allowed to repair and fortify the harbour of Dunkirk, which, in the event of a future war, might annoy our trade in its centre, and counteract all the advantage of our local situation for foreign commerce; and, what is most wonderful, all these sacrifices are made upon the professed ground of arranging matters on the principles of RECIPROCITY!
The minister defended himself from these various at, tacks with great vigor and ability. His lordship declared, “ That PBACE was the object for which the nation at large had discovered the most unequivocal desire; the end
he had in view was the advantage of his country, and he was certain that he had attained it. The vast anculti. vated tract of land to the southward of the lakes," his lordship said, was of infinite consequence to America, and none to England; and the retention of it, or even the forts which commanded it, could only have laid the foundation of future hostility. If our liberality to Irés land was the subject of just applause, why act upon prin. ciples of illiberality to America ? The refusal of the Newfoundland fishery would have been a direct manifestation of hostile intentions; and as it lay on their coasts, it was in reality impossible to exclude them from it by any restrictions: it is an advantage which nature has given them, and to attempt to wrest it from them would not only be unjust, but impracticable. Of one objection his lordship acknowledged he deeply felt the force. His regret and compassion for the situation of the unhappy loyalists were as pungent as those of theit warmest advocates. This objection admitted of only one answer, which he had given to his own bleeding heart : “ It is better that a part should suffer, rather than the whole empire perish.” He would have dashed from him the bitter cup which the adversities of his country held out to him, if peace had not been absolutely necessary; if it had not been called for with an unanimity and vigour that could not be resisted. No arts of address or negotiation had been neglected, but the American commissioners had no power to concede farther. The Congress itself had not the power ; for by the constitution of America, every state was supreme, including in itself the legislative and judicial powers ; its jurisdiction therefore was not liable to control. In the mode of interposition, by recom: mendation alone could Congress act. If, after all, the loyalists should not be received into the bosom of their
native country, Britain, penetrated with gratitude for their services, and warm with the feelings of humanity, would afford them an asylum ; and it would doubtless be wiser to indemnify them for their losses, than to ruin the nation by a renewal or prolongation of the calamities of war. The cession of East Florida, his lordship said, was rendered unavoidable by the mistaken and ruinous policy of those ministers who had brought the nation under the miserable necessity of treating with its enemies on terms very different from those it could formerly have commanded. This province, detached from Western Florida already conquered by the arms of Spain, was however of trivial value; and the amounts of its imports and exports bore no proportion to the expence of its civil establishment. We had nevertheless obtained a com. pensation in the restitution of the Bahamas. Although the bounds of the French fishery were somewhat extended, by far the most eligible parts of the Newfoundland coast were left in possession of the English, and a source of future contention removed by the exact ascertainment of limits. In exchange for St. Lucia, France had restored six of the seven islands she had taken, and only retained Tobago, Senegal, and Goree, which had been originally French settlements, but their commerce was inconsiderable ; and the whole African trade was open to the English, by our settlements on the river Gambia, which were guaranteed to us by this treaty. The restoration of Pondicherry, and of our other conquests in the East, must be acknowledged not a measure of expediency so much as of absolute necessity, if the state of the East India Company were adverted to. Such had been the formidable confederacy, against which they had been compelled to contend, such the wretched derangement of their finances, and so exposed to hazard were their vast