Resolutions for granting the Supplies reported to the House

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Monday, March 4, 1776.

Sir Charles Whitworth, according to order, reported from the Committee of the Whole House (to whom it was referred to consider further of the Supply granted to his Majesty) the Resolutions which the Committee had directed him to report, to the House; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same were read, and are as followeth, viz:

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that a sum not exceeding three hundred and eighty-one thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven Pounds four Shillings and five Pence half penny, be granted to his Majesty for defraying the charge of twelve thousand three hundred and ninety-four men, the Troops of the Landgrave of Ilesse Cassel, in the pay of Great Britain, together with the subsidy for the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, pursuant to Treaty.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that a sum not exceeding one hundred and twenty-one thousand four hundred and seventy-five Pounds twelve Shillings and one Penny, be granted to his Majesty for defraying the charge of four thousand three hundred men, the Troops of the reigning Duke of Brunswick, in the pay of Great Britain, together with the subsidy for the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, pursuant to Treaty.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that a sum not exceeding nineteen thousand and six Pounds nineteen Shillings three Pence and three Farthings, be granted to his Majesty for defraying the charge of a Regiment of Foot of Hanau, in the pay of Great Britain, together with the subsidy, pursuant to Treaty with the hereditary Prince of Hesse Cassel, from the sixth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, to the twenty-fourth day of December following, both inclusive, being two hundred and ninety-four days.

A motion was made, and the question being put, That the said Resolutions be now read a second time,

Colonel Barré pointed out several objectionable passages in the treaties. Allowing the hiring of foreign troops, even for argument sake, to be a wise and politick measure, he desired to know, in the first instance, as the treaty provided that the Hessian officers should have every emolument that natives are allowed, and to be put on a footing, in every respect, with our own tried veterans, whether the two-pences, in the clothing to the Colonels, was meant to be included; and, likewise, where the clothing was to be procured — whether in Germany or in Britain? He was very jocular on this species of military profit; and said, he did not doubt but this sale of human blood would turn out as advantageous to the woollen manufactures of Brunswick and Hesse, in the clothing branch, as it was already likely to become lucrative to their respective Sovereigns. He observed, that the treaty might probably continue in force for four years, for it was difficult to fix the period, on many accounts, which he forbore now to mention. If, then, by any accident arising from defeat, pestilence, or the danger of the seas, the Hessians should be reduced to eight thousand men, (perhaps to half their number or less,) in such a possible, nay, all circumstances considered, such a probable event, he should be glad to be informed by the Minister, or his trusty friend the Minister of the War Department, who now and then steals a peep into the Cabinet, though he is never permitted within the hallowed door, whether the Landgrave of Hesse or Duke of Brunswick is to have the full pay, as if their respective quotas continued full and complete?

Lord Barrington could not answer that question till he had taken time to consider. After a little pause, his Lordship said, the best time to answer the honourable gentleman' s question will be when such a reduction actually happens.

Mr˙ J˙ Johnstone said, it was impossible to deal with people who thus played at cross-purposes; and though a young member, he ventured to pronounce it to be the first time such an answer was given in Parliament. He remarked, it was no bad beginning. The noble Lord used to be pretty liberal of his promises; but so many of them had been lately either falsified or overruled, his Lordship, he presumed, was determined, in future, to make only such as he was certain could neither be falsified nor contradicted; for his promise, if it could be at all called one, was such that, let the event be what it might, he could not possibly be charged with a breach of it.

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Lord Clare said, it was the first time he ever heard a Minister called to promise for events it was impossible for any man to foretell. The whole force now sending to America might be cut off, or it might not suffer the loss of a single man; but, in either event, it was plain that we should not be obliged to pay for more men than were in actual service.

Sir J˙ G˙ Griffin allowed that the noble Lord' s observation was very just. It could not be supposed that we were to be at the expense of recruiting, and be obliged to pay for levies that were not complete; but yet it seemed a little extraordinary that the noble Lord in office should have expressed himself so cautiously on a matter, which, if it had not been mentioned, did not, in his opinion, leave the least foundation for ambiguity or misrepresentation.

Governour Johnstone was severe on Administration: whether we had a double Cabinet, or had not, he would not pretend to determine; but he was certain that we had a double Administration, or the same men presented two faces, according as it answered their present convenience, or suited their present views. One Minister [Lord Hillsborough] assured the Americans, in the most solemn manner, that it was never the intention or wish of this country to tax them. The other [Lord North] had the other night, in debate, openly and decisively declared, that America ought and should submit to be taxed by the British Parliament, and to every law this country might think proper to pass for her future government and regulation.

General Conway observed, it was true enough that the noble Lord [Hillsborough] had broken his word with America; and so had Administration, as approving of the Circular Letter, in which every claim to taxation was formally renounced; but, for his part, it appeared to him from the very beginning, whatever assurances to the contrary might have been given or held out to the present moment, that what the country gentlemen avow to be their motives for prosecuting the war against America, were likewise the great objects Administration had in view. Administration told the country gentlemen, Support us, and we will ensure you a revenue from America. The country gentlemen are now giving that support, in expectation of getting a revenue, of which, perhaps, they will never see a shilling; or, if they should, never to be of the least service in lightening those heavy burdens of which they now so loudly complain.

Mr˙ Fox attacked the Minister on his frequent breach of promise ever since he came into office; not but, in his opinion, he was full as much bound by a promise when he was only Chancellor of the Exchequer, as since he became first Lord of the Treasury. He was not deserving of the first, if he could retain an office, the very essence of which was to look into and take care of the publick finances of the nation, and yet permit a letter which at once gave up and surrendered so fundamental a right of the British Parlament as the right of taxation was now contended to be; for either he approved of the letter in question, or he did not. If he did, how can he now come and contradict his former opinion, when he and his colleague' s approbation of that letter is, perhaps, the very cause of the present civil war? Or, if he never approved of the letter, how could he, consistently with his own honour, remain in a situation in which he was virtually pledged for a true and faithful performance of its contents? Why not resign, sooner than give his concurrence in Council to measures which he secretly disapproved?

Lord North denied that he was bound by any man' s promise but his own. It did not become him to disclose the secrets of his office, or betray the confidence that had been reposed in him. It was enough for him now to declare that he never gave either promise or assurance, and that, consequently, he had not broken any.

The House divided. The noes went forth:

Tellers for the yeas,
Sir Grey Cooper,
Mr˙ John St˙ John,
120

Tellers for the noes,
Mr˙ Thomas Townshend,
Mr˙ Hussey,
48

So it was resolved in the affirmative.

The said Resolutions being accordingly severally read a second time, were, upon the question severally put thereupon, agreed to by the House.

Colonel Barré then moved, "That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, humbly to recommend to his Majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to use his endeavours,

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that such foreign Troops as are now, or may hereafter be employed in his service, be clothed with the manufactures of Great Britain."

It was resolved in the affirmative.

Ordered, That the said Address be presented to his Majesty by such members of this House as are of his Majesty' s most honourable Privy Council.