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France or any where else, will think of sending goods by any such ship. Before a merchant sends out a cargo, he always first sits down and computes what profit he may probably make by the adventure out and home; and, if the ensurance be so high that no profit he can expect will answer it, and something more for his own trouble and the use of his money, he will certainly resolve to send out no cargo at all
. Therefore, if, by the success of our squadrons and cruisers, we should be able to raise the price of ensurance upon French ships to such a height that no trade could bear it, we shall much more effectually, and more safely, put an end to the French commerce, at least in their own ships, than we can do by this regulation; and, if they should fall upon any way to carry on their commerce in neutral bottoms, this regulation can no way affect it. This we should attempt; this
, I am very sure, our ministers will do all that lies in their power to effectuate ; and therefore, I think, we should suspend agreeing to any such dangerous regu. lation, till we have tried a little further what can be done in this way.
Before I sit down, sir, I must take notice of a suspicion, not a supposition, thrown out by the honourable gentleman, that some of our ensurers have given intelligence to the French of the stations of our men of war and privateers, in order to prevent the French ships on which they had ensured coming in their way. For my own part, I never heard that any such thing was suspected; but, on the contrary, I have heard that some of the richest prizes taken in this war fell into our hands by intelligence communicated by those employed to get ensurances upon them. To this I must add, that it is, in my opinion, impossible for our ensurers to give intelligence of the stations either of our cruisers or privateers; because our cruisers never know their stations till they open their instructions at sea, being, as I have heard, directed first to sail to such a station, and there to open their new orders; and as to our privateers, their station is always left to the direction of the captain, who may change it
as often as he will, and seldom goes out with any fixed design; or, if he does, he will, for his own sake, as well as for the sake of his owners, let no one into the secret.
I must therefore be of opinion, sir, that neither in this respect, nor any other, our ensurers can do us any prejudice if they would; nor can they I think, give the French commerce any advantage, but such a one as the French merchants may meet with at home, the moment we exclude them from it here. How far the popular clamour without doors may prevail upon gentlemen within, I do not know; but, as I look upon the expedient proposed as a very dangerous one, and as an expedient that will certainly be attended with an advantage to the French trade, and a loss to our own; as I hope, and not without just grounds, that the advance of the premium will soon put an entire stop to all French ensurances here or any where else, and consequently to all the French com. merce in their own shipping, I must be against what is proposed; and, though I was sensible of its being at present a little unpopular to oppose such a proposition, I thought I was, in duty to my country, obli. ged to declare my sentiments openly and freely upon the subject.
LORD CHATHAM'S SPEECH,
ON THE BILL, AUTHORIZING THE QUARTERING OF BRİTİSH
SOLDIERS ON THE INHABITANTS OF BOSTON.
CONFORMABLY to the scheme of rigorous coercion which the administration of Lord North had determined to pursue against the refractory colonies, a bill authorizing the quartering of soldiers on the inhabitants of Boston, was introduced into the house of lords on the 27th of May, 1774.
During the two preceding sessions, Lord Chatham had withdrawn from parliament, in utter despair of opposing with any prospect of success the large, resolute, and united majorities of the ministry.
But this bill being considered by him as especially calculated to inflame the temper of the Americans already alarmingly excited, and even indeed, to drive them to the violence of open revolt, he was induced once more to come forward, and by the exertion of his eloquence to endeavour to frustrate the perilous measure, and thus, to stay the current of disasters which he saw was ready to break upon the empire.
The speech was of no avail.
SPEECH, &c. MY LORDS,
THE unfavourable state of health under which I have long laboured, could not prevent me from laying before your lordships my thoughts on the bill now upon the table, and on the American affairs in general.
If we take a transient view of those motives which induced the ancestors of our fellow subjects in Ame:
rica to leave their native country, to encounter the innumerable difficulties of the unexplored regions of the western world, our astonishment at the present conduct of their descendants will naturally subside. There was no corner of the world into which men of their free and enterprising spirit would not fly with alacrity, rather than submit to the slavish and tyrannical principles, which prevailed at that period in their native country. And shall we wonder, my lords, if the descendants of such illustrious characters spurn, with contempt, the hand of unconstitutional power, that would snatch from them such dear bought privileges as they now contend for? Had the British colo. nies been planted by any other kingdom than our own, the inhabitants would have carried with them the chains of slavery, and spirit of despotism; but as they are, they ought to be remembered as great instances to instruct the world, what great exertions mankind will naturally make, when they are left to the free exercise of their own powers. And, my lords, notwithstanding my intention to give my hearty negative to the question now before you, I cannot help condemning in the severest manner, the late turbulent and unwarrantable conduct of the Americans in some instances, particularly in the late riots of Boston. But, my lords, the mode which has been pursued to bring them back to a sense of their duty to their parent state, has been so diametrically opposite to the fundamental principles of sound policy, that individuals, possessed of common understanding, must be astonished at such proceedings. By blocking up the harbour of Boston, you have involved the innocent trader in the same punishment with the guilty profligates who destroyed your merchandise; and instead of making a well concerted effort to secure the real offenders, you clap a naval and military extinguisher over their harbour, and punish the crime of a few lawless depredators and their abettors, upon the whole body of the inhabitants.
My lords, this country is little obliged to the fra. mers and promoters of this tea tax.
of this tea tax. The Americans