Debate

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HOUSE OF LORDS.

Thursday, March 14, 1776.

The Order of the Day being read, for the Lords to be summoned:

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The Duke of Grafton said: My Lords, before I explain to your Lordships the intention of the present motion, and the grounds on which I propose to maintain it, I shall, with your Lordships' permission, explain something which passed in this House the last day I had the honour to address your Lordships, respecting my supposed conduct relative to the Tea Act in the year 1769, when it was proposed in the Cabinet to procure a repeal of it, along with the other duties laid on in 1767. I am within your Lordships' recollection, that I then asserted, that when the matter was debated in Council, I was overruled and out-voted, but was contradicted by a noble Viscount, [Lord Weymouth,] whom I now see in his place. Having spoken from memory, though I was certain I was right, joined to the very late hour of the night when the matter alluded to was mentioned, I declined to answer the noble Viscount, or to corroborate my first assertion with any further facts or particulars. Being, however, uneasy till I had inquired further into the circumstances of that important transaction, I searched among my papers, and there found a note of it, sent me by a noble Lord then at the head of the American Department, [Lord Hillsborough,] by which it appears, that the numbers in the Cabinet were not equal, as the noble Viscount asserted, but that I was overruled and out-voted by a majority on the proposition of repealing that tax, which, as I then foresaw, would be productive of the worst consequences; and which now is the occasion of the present unhappy disputes, that threaten to overwhelm this country in ruin and destruction. I thought it my duty to submit this true state of that momentous business to your Lordships, lest any of you should think that I had either negligently asserted, or designedly misrepresented it. If the noble Viscount should differ from me on the fact, as I now have stated it, I wish it may be understood, that he will rise immediately and contradict me, before I proceed further, or that his silence may be construed into an acquiescence; because I would not wish your Lordships interrupted by any thing which relates immediately to myself, in the course of the debate. As to the measure now proposed, I trust you will perceive the necessity of adopting it; and that you will believe me, when I most solemnly and earnestly assure you, that nothing but a thorough conviction on my part, that it, or some other measure of a similar nature, is the only possible means now left of averting the destruction which seems suspended over the heads of the people of this devoted unhappy country. It is evidently formed on the principles of humanity, equity, and sound policy, and opens a door for reconciliation, and for settling the differences now subsisting between both countries, on terms of lasting amity, founded in reciprocal affection, and cemented by mutual interest. It will be the means of sheathing the sword now drawn, perhaps never again to be returned to the scabbard, till a deluge of blood is spilt, and either Great Britain or America, or both, are brought into such a state as may inevitably produce their separate or total destruction. I contemplate with horrour the consequences of the bloody conflict, should matters be pushed to extremities; in the event of so many thousand men being drawn up against each other, when, on whichever side victory may" declare, all true friends of their country, be their political sentiments what they may, will have the most just and melancholy cause of grief and mourning. I would therefore appeal to your Lordships' humanity, on this supremely critical and important occasion; and implore your interference, for the purpose of averting such dire calamities, and preventing the effusion of human blood; particularly when your Lordships shall take the additional circumstance Into consideration, that the most complete success on our part will produce no other effect than wasting our own strength; and that the blood thus shed will not be that of your natural and dangerous enemies, but of your fellow-subjects, of your brethren, of Britons, of a people united with you by every tie of fraternal affection, every motive of common interest, and every principle of common defence, protection, and support.

In point of equity, my Lords, I believe, since the new doctrine of an unconditional submission has been broached by a noble Lord [George Germaine] in another House, (for I affirm, till he was called to office it was never openly avowed or maintained in either House of Parliament,) your Lordships will be of opinion, that it would be but equitable to let the people of America know what are now the sentiments

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of this country; because, by knowing our ultimatum, they will then have it in their power either to agree to it, or to risk the consequences of resistance. I remember, at the opening of this session, a very different language was held. The idea of taxation was denied or modified. A noble Lord in the other House, who presides at the head of the national finances, disclaimed any such intention. A noble Lord in this House, whom I now see in his place, [Lord Dartmouth,] who then filled a responsible office in Administration, and who, perhaps, for the reason I am going to assign, was not thought so proper a person to carry the designs of Government into execution, repeatedly assured this House that no intention was entertained by Administration of "subduing America." I would appeal to your Lordships, if the newly adopted system has not a most unfavourable appearance, an appearance full of mischief, and big with that overruling secret influence, those dark and dangerous designs, which every now and then betray themselves to publick view, and which create the justest jealousies and suspicions in the breast of every man who is not deaf and callous to the feelings and interests of this devoted country. When I framed the motion with which I shall conclude, I avoided all specifications, because I meant it as a general resolution, to be taken up and considered by your Lordships in a committee, in order, if you should think proper or necessary, that you might decide on particulars, agree upon some specifick terms, some ultimatum to be proposed to the Colonies, or determine on some general resolution to be communicated to the other House of Parliament for their concurrence, as a basis for conciliation or concession. By this means America might know what she had to depend on, and decide accordingly. You would remove that cause, which she assigns for her present want of confidence in general assurances, in Ministerial promises, in loose and undefined claims, which every successive Administration have explained their own way, and scarcely any two of the members of the present seem to be agreed in. As the doctrine of unconditional submission is avowed by the noble Lord alluded to; as the same doctrine has been since repeated in this House by persons who, though not in responsible offices, are nearly connected with those in power, — another view I had in submitting the present motion to your Lordships, was, to induce Ministers to speak out, to say fairly whether their long harangues on intended reconciliation and conciliation, their determinations to concede in some particulars, are all forgotten, or laid aside never again to be taken up; and whether they have any measures, short of unconditional submission, to propose. Should they choose to be silent on this head, and in consequence thereof reject this proposition, I shall then, understand them as perfectly and clearly as if they had spoken out. I shall then be fully convinced that unconditional submission is what they have ultimately in view; that the bloody conflict, I fear long determined on, will follow; and that the present dispute between both countries is finally to be decided by the force of arms. Before I conclude this head, I should wish to be understood that I cannot pay the least attention to any explanation, purporting that the objects pursued by Administration have been the same from the beginning; that they are still willing to sheath the sword, and listen to the terms of accommodation. Such a conclusion is absurd, and impossible in the nature of things. The speech, I allow, held out this idea; the proposition called the Conciliatory Proposition, framed by a noble Lord in the other House, was, it is plain, short of unconditional submission. The bill for interdicting all commerce with America, known by the name of the Capture Act, had a clause towards the end of it, which corresponded with the intentions declared in the speech. By this clause a power was vested in the King to appoint Commissioners to treat with the Colonies, to receive submissions, and to grant pardons. I was not present at the time this bill was debated on the second reading; but though the system which appears now to govern Administration was not then openly avowed, it is plain that the person [supposed to mean Lord Mansfield] who advised or framed this clause, and who, I presume, has had the chief hand in directing and advising the present measures from their commencement, by his personal influence, though not called by his office to a participation of this species of power, had a view to that unconditional submission which is now

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contended for. I was in the country when this act first came to my hands, and on comparing the King' s speech with the clause, I must own I was astonished. What does the clause say? That Commissioners are to be appointed, and that is all. What are they to do? To receive submissions. Does it state what conditions, or, indeed, provide for any condition at all? Have the Commissioners the least shadow of power by this act to make any concession whatever? None; the alternative is resistance or unconditional submission; an eternal war and resistance on one hand, till both or either party are destroyed; or that America shall instantly disarm, surrender, and submit. On this ground, my Lords, I thought it proper to give an opportunity to your Lordships to effectuate his Majesty' s gracious intentions declared in his speech; and the great ostensible object of the Capture Bill, which was to coerce America by destroying her trade, if she obstinately persisted not to agree to such terms of accommodation as the British Parliament, in conjunction with his Majesty, might think most conducive to the securing the claims of this country, the subordinate constitutional rights of America, and the future permanent happiness and interests of both. It is solely to obtain those very desirable objects, that I have this day troubled your Lordships. If your Lordships should not think proper to propose any ultimatum, my motion will have this very salutary effect: it will furnish America with an opportunity of preventing the present calamities, which they must in all events unavoidably feel; it will give them an opportunity of averting that cloud which hangs suspended over their heads, and threatens them with destruction; it will be but a fair and equitable experiment, by way of warning. And if they should refuse to offer any proposition, or tender such only as are inconsistent with the dignity and rights of this legislature, and the interests of the empire at large, it will produce this other very beneficial and most important consequence: it will unite this country in support of measures which are far from being universally approved, and vindicate the justice and honour of the nation, not only in the opinion of its own subjects, but in that of all Europe.

As to the policy of the present conflict, I shall say very little, having before so frequently expressed myself on the subject. But I think Administration should have the most full and unequivocal proofs of the disposition of foreign Powers before they blindly rush into a civil war. I have been a considerable time conversant in matters of this kind. I know the stress that ought to be laid on the language usually held by Ambassadors. I know what credit ought to be given to the general assurances of foreign courts. I am convinced that they are very little to be relied on, if not accompanied by confidential engagements, and a thorough knowledge of the state and condition of those countries from which we have most to dread: not from their pacifick declarations so much as from their known inability to injure. The former may serve, nay, experience in all ages has proved too frequently has served, only to amuse and deceive. The latter, therefore, in my opinion, can only promise that kind of security which a wise Minister will always demand before he undertakes any measure which may expose or render the nation vulnerable to its natural enemies. The Powers, my Lords, which I allude to, are those of France and Spain. None of your Lordships can be ignorant that they are now collecting a great naval and military force to be employed somewhere; and I think it my duty to state to your Lordships a piece of information which I have little reason to doubt, and which, if true, must be the subject of great and just alarm to your Lordships, and point out the caution and reserve with which any general assurances received by our Ministers ought to be depended on or trusted to. The information, my Lords, is shortly this: that two French gentlemen, towards the close of last summer, went to America, and had a conference with General Washington at the Provincial camp, who referred them to the Continental Congress, whither they immediately repaired. On the whole, my Lords, whether you consider the present measures in the light of humanity, equity, or sound policy, I trust your Lordships will agree with me, that the means of conciliation are still within our reach, and that nothing but the most urgent necessity should compel us to imbrue our hands in the blood of our fellow-subjects, at the risk of our ruining our commerce, and of

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involving ourselves in a war with the united strength of the House of Bourbon. For this purpose I move,

"That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, beseeching him that, in order to prevent the further effusion of blood, and to manifest how desirous the King of Great Britain and his Parliament are to restore peace to all parts of the dominions of his Majesty' s Crown, and how earnestly they wish to redress any real grievances of his Majesty' s subjects, his Majesty would be graciously pleased to issue his royal Proclamation, declaring that, in case the Colonies, within a reasonable time before or after the arrival of the troops destined for America, shall present a Petition to the Comrnander-in-Chief in America, or to the Commissioner or Commissioners to be appointed by his Majesty under the authority of an Act entitled ‘An Act to prohibit all trade and intercourse with the Colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three lower Counties on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, during the continuance of the present Rebellion within the said Colonies respectively; for repealing an Act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, ‘to discontinue the landing and discharging, lading or shipping of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the Town and within the Harbour of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay;’ and also two Acts, made in the last session of Parliament, ‘for restraining the trade and commerce of the Colonies in the said acts respectively mentioned; and to enable his Majesty, or any person or persons appointed and authorized by his Majesty to grant pardons, and to issue proclamations, in the cases and for the purposes therein mentioned,’’ — setting forth in such Petition, which is to be transmitted to his Majesty, what they consider to be their just rights and real grievances, that in such case his Majesty will consent to a suspension of arms; and that his Majesty has authority from his Parliament to assure them that such their Petition shall be received, considered, and answered."

The Earl of Dartmouth. The noble Duke having alluded to me personally, it is necessary for me to say a few words as to my own particular sentiments. His Grace has quoted my words in a former debate, to show what was my then opinion, and how far Administration had changed theirs since I quitted the office I had then the honour to fill. For my part, I do not at all doubt but the expression adverted to might have fallen from me; nor do I mean to disavow it now. My opinion, both then and now, was, that it was neither the interest nor the wish of this country to make a conquest of America. If that be what the noble Duke means by unconditional submission, I am sure I should be far from approving of it; but if unconditional submission be a resolution on our part not to cease hostilities till America submits so far as to acknowledge the supreme authority of this country, I am still consistent; for I ever was and ever shall be of opinion that this country cannot, with propriety, concede, nor can we, consistent with the honour, dignity, or essential interests of this country, consent to lay down our arms, or suspend the operations now carrying on, till the Colonies own our legislative sovereignty; and, by acts of duty and obedience, show such a disposition as will entitle them to the favour and protection of the parent State. Besides, I do not hold it perfectly fair or parliamentary to bind a person to expressions and opinions given in one situation of affairs, when that situation comes to be materially altered. I was willing to suppose that the disorders in that country were local, and had chiefly pervaded the hearts of an inconsiderable number of men, who were only formidable because they possessed the power of factious delusion and imposition. I all along expected that the body of the people, when they came to view the consequences closely, and consider them attentively, would soon perceive the danger in which they were precipitating themselves, and of course return to their duty. Urged by those expectations, I was anxious to treat them with tenderness, to give them every reasonable indulgence; and even to give way to their prejudices, so far as it could be done with safety. What has been the consequence? They have treated those marks of favour as so many indications of national imbecility; they have abused this lenity in proportion as it has been liberally and affectionately exercised; and have imputed our humanity and forbearance not to motives of tenderness and maternal

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affection, but to a timid backwardness and want of ability to assert our rights.

The noble Duke grounds his motion on motives of humanity, equity, and policy. I will venture to contend that neither the noble Duke nor any other Lord in this House is more warmly inclined to humane measures than I am. But does his Grace' s motion promise to promote humanity? I am sure it does not; for if there be anything at all in the tenderness he has expressed, or the horrours he has described at the thoughts of the effusion of human blood, the surest way to prevent a calamity, which I as earnestly deprecate as any Lord in this House, will be, to send the armaments now destined for that country with all possible expedition. Their fears may exact a conduct which I am well persuaded their duty or obedience would never have inspired. They will be convinced that we have the ability, as well as the inclination, to compel them to acknowledge the true subordinate and constitutional relation they bear to the mother country. So that, uniting with the noble Duke on the principle of humanity, but differing on the means, I am of opinion that the only sure and solid way of averting the evils of civil war, and all the dreadful consequences which such a melancholy and dreadful state of things would necessarily produce, will be to send such a force as will awe the Colonies into submission; as will lay a lasting basis for the future security of the constitutional rights of that country, the supreme legislative controlling authority of this, and the general interests of the whole empire. In my opinion, every one of those objects would be defeated, should the motion now made by the noble Duke receive your Lordships' approbation. What does it import? That you shall immediately address his Majesty, that a royal proclamation be issued to suspend all future hostilities, in order to await the effect such a proclamation may have in America. Will not this be pursuing that plan of mistaken lenity which has been complained of as one source of our present situation? Will it not be fairly declaring that we are afraid to assert our rights; or that we are conscious of our inability to assert them? I am sure it will have that appearance; and will be so interpreted by the people of America. I would further recommend to your Lordships to consider that although the intended force should be sent out, as I hope and trust it will, that will not preclude an accommodation; it will not prevent us from hearkening to their propositions. It may be the means of restoring the Colonies to their senses; but it will never prevent us from granting such terms as we may deem consistent with the dignity of Parliament and the rights of the parent State. However, as the noble Duke has framed his motion, and supported it by arguments which seem to imply an alternative of war, for the purpose of conquest or unconditional submission, I would wish to move the previous question, in preference to a direct negative; and I will state to your Lordships the reason why I prefer the former, though I do not at all agree with his Grace, that a negative to his motion would show that it was the intention or desire of this House to insist on an unconditional submission, in the exact terms he has described it. My reason is, lest such an idea should get out, and prevail either here or in America. Nevertheless, if any of your Lordships should think otherwise, I am very willing to withdraw the previous question; for whether the motion is negatived in one way or the other, if that should be the event of it, I am determined, for my own part, to give it a negative; because I am convinced it may be productive of great evil, by breaking and interrupting the line of publick measures already agreed on, and can produce no one good consequence whatever, the matter of accommodation lying equally open on the grounds now explained, with or without it; while, on the other hand, should you agree to it, your Lordships would thereby virtually declare a disapprobation of the measures now pursuing against America, or confess your inability to carry them into execution.

The Duke of Manchester. The present state of publick affairs, my Lords, whether considered in the gross or detail, affords sufficient reason for every man who feels for the dignity, honour, and interest of his country, to be most seriously alarmed. The very great expense with which the present measures must necessarily be attended; the uncertainty of the real disposition of foreign powers; and the present state pf our navy, which I am assured is far from being in that respectable situation your Lordships have been given to

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understand by the noble Lord who presides at the bead of that department; all united, give just cause for considering the present question, and adverting to the dangerous consequences which may follow, in case your Lordships should be inclined to give it a negative. I am far from imputing any design in the noble Lord to either mislead or misrepresent. I am persuaded his Lordship has faithfully reported whatever came within his own knowledge; but being obliged to trust, in most of the matters which he has submitted to your Lordships, to the information of others, he has of course been liable to error; and if I have not been grossly misinformed by professional men, his Lordship' s account of the state of the guard-ships, the number of men aboard them, and the facility of procuring them, is indeed very far different from what the noble Lord has asserted. I am informed, for instance, that the Eagle, the very ship in which Lord Howe is to hoist his flag, has not above ninety able seamen aboard her; and that several of the frigates and ships-of-war, destined, or which have sailed for America, have either been obliged to proceed on their respective voyages very indifferently manned, or that alacrity and ardour which the noble Lord told us of, is not founded in fact; for the men who were shipped aboard those vessels destined for immediate service, were obliged to be taken from aboard the guard-ships to complete their complements, which is the very contrary of what his Lordship asserted the last day this matter was made the subject of consideration. This brings me to consider another assertion made by his Lordship, which is, that the deficiency aboard the guard-ships was occasioned by the desire of the seamen to be shipped aboard the men-of-war destined for the American service. How could that possibly be the case, if, in the first instance the complements of these last were to be made up out of the former; and if the drafts, along with the deficiency stated in the complements of the former, were now no greater than before the drafts were made? But, my Lords, I believe neither will be found to be the case. I believe the deficiency aboard the guard-ships will be found to be considerably greater than his Lordship has stated; and further, that the crews are composed of men who should never be entered aboard our men-of-war. If I am rightly informed, small as the numbers are, that is not the worst of it: the crews are composed of landsmen in much too great a proportion, of vagrants, and, I fear, of convicted felons. I should be glad to be set right; but if it be true, it is a most melancholy and alarming circumstance. The navy, my Lords, is our only sure bulwark against our foreign enemies; particularly as we have been obliged to part with the greatest part of our military defence, in order to carry the present proposed measures into execution. If, then, in case of any emergency, an attack should be made on us in our present weak state of internal and naval defence, the consequences might be dreadful. That we have no reason to rest in a state of security, I am well convinced. I have good reason to believe that France and Spain are meditating some blow against us. The matter alluded to by the noble Duke who made the motion, I have reason to think is too true. I heard it above a month ago, and should have imparted it to your Lordships before now, had I not waited to have heard it communicated by Administration. I presumed they would have informed your Lordships of the matter, and either have stated their reasons for paying it no attention, or have told you what steps they had taken in consequence thereof, in order to bring France to an explanation. I would likewise remind your Lordships that great preparations are going on in France and Spain, both by sea and land. It may be said that another attempt is intended to be made on Algiers; or that the disputes subsisting between Spain and Portugal, in South-America, may be the object of this armament. The former may be the case; but if the force now collecting in those countries should be destined against Portugal, your Lordships will please to recollect what was asserted in a former debate by a noble Earl, whom I have in my eye, [Lord Rochford,] not now in office, but who then occupied a high and respectable post in Administration, that if Portugal should be attacked, we must necessarily be made parties in the war, and be bound to afford her every assistance in our power. In short, my Lords, uniting all the causes, circumstances, and probable events which first created, or may be consequent of the present dispute, I am heartily for agreeing with the motion made by the noble Duke; and am for giving the Colonies

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an opportunity of returning to their duty, both as a security to their constitutional rights, and as a means of preventing the calamities every part of this empire is threatened with, in case we should persist in carrying our present ruinous, unjust, and oppressive designs into execution.

The Earl of Sandwich. I did not intend to trouble your Lordships on the subject of this debate, had I not been particularly called on by the noble Duke who spoke last, and who, I can safely affirm, is either materially mistaken in every fact he has stated, or has drawn conclusions which his Grace was by no means warranted, in every instance where his assertions had any ground or colour of reality to support him. I am extremely sorry that my noble relation, before he hazarded any charges of the nature now brought forward, did not consult me, as I could easily and satisfactorily have set him right, and convinced him that he had been grossly misinformed. I am pretty well satisfied, I may venture to say I know the quarter from which his Grace has had the information he has now stated, and so earnestly urged. The authors are known by their daily writings in the papers, by their speeches in another place, by the general tenour of their discourses, and by the motions they have made; but I will tell the noble Duke what perhaps he is ignorant of, that those men are superficial, uninformed, and that every effort they have made to disparage the conduct of that Board at which I have the honour to preside, has only exhibited proofs of their total ignorance, their rancour, and their personal spleen. The noble Duke says, he has received his information from professional men. I beg, however, that his Grace, previous to his giving trust to such assertions and such reasonings, will send those professional men to me, when I promise to convince them that they know nothing at all of the matter. The noble Duke speaks of the Arethusa, the Romney, the Eagle, &c˙, being at present unable to proceed to sea, on account of their being defective in their complements. By the last returns I have received of the state of those ships, I am authorized to say his Grace has been mistaken in point of fact in every one of them. But supposing the facts were true, what would it prove? That, perhaps from the established usage of the service, the men were changed from one ship to another, according as circumstances made such an arrangement necessary; but will it prove the only matter that can possibly deserve discussion or inquiry — that any one ship, since the commencement of the present naval armaments and operations, has been detained a single day for want of hands? The noble Duke says that the Eagle, aboard which ship Lord Howe is to hoist his flag, stands in this predicament. Were the fact strictly true, as he has reported, I make no doubt but the popularity of the noble Lord, and the desire of serving under so able and amiable a commander, would soon procure a number sufficient to make up the deficiency the noble Duke has stated. As to the general assertion on which his Grace has insisted, that the scarcity of seamen is so great that we have been obliged to have recourse to the expedient of supplying it by entering vagrants and convicted felons, I am sure nothing of the kind has happened; and I should be extremely averse to adopting such a scheme, or countenancing any mode of manning our navy under any circumstance of necessity that might lead to the disgusting so useful and brave a set of men; besides, I think it would be very improper on many accounts; it would be the means of corrupting their morals, which, with me, shall always continue to be one of the prime objects of my care to prevent as long as I shall have the honour to remain in my present situation. Our seamen are, in general, men of very commendable conduct, and remarkably good morals, so long as they remain on board. If they are dissipated when on shore, the consequences of their dissipation seldom reach further than spending their money in riot, &c˙, which has this good effect in respect of the service, that when their money is spent they return to their ships with cheerfulness, their means of living on land being at an end. What, then, would be the probable consequence, should vagrants and felons be permitted aboard his Majesty' s ships-of-war, but that the most profligate of their species would mix with the whole body of seamen, and contaminate their morals; render them remiss and careless in their duty while on board, and when on shore; instruct them in their iniquitous modes of obtaining subsistence? All which, whether considered in a political or a moral light, or as being injurious to the service in general, are matters

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that ought to be carefully attended to and prevented. On this account I think the preservation of the morals of the seamen is a matter of no small consequence. I have been always attentive to it. I do not believe that any felons or men of notorious bad characters have been entered; I am sure if they have, it has been without my knowledge; nor should I concur in any scheme of the kind, had I been previously consulted. Taking, however, the facts thrown out by the noble Duke in another light, what do they amount to, allowing them to be true? I am within your Lordships' recollection, that I asserted in a former debate, that the full complement of the twenty guard-ships amounted to six thousand eight hundred men; that there were but six thousand three hundred men actually on the books; that consequently there was a deficiency of five hundred seamen; and that that number could be easily procured, or, in case of emergency, almost instantaneously completed by a press. Do the present facts contradict what I then submitted to your Lordships? I stated a deficiency, I informed your Lordships of the facility of procuring men, of which I have had daily experience, adding, at the same time, that in case of a sudden necessity of sending the ships to sea, a press would furnish me with the means of providing against any possible exigency that could arise. Though I speak of a press, I do not think we shall have any occasion for one. When I spoke last on this subject, I said I believed we should not, nor have I had any reason since to change my opinion; but I did not then bind myself to any positive engagement that press-warrants would not be issued. I am still as far from thinking that they will; but I by no means tie myself down to an unconditional promise that they will not. I repeat what I have said before frequently, that nothing but necessity will oblige me, and that necessity seems as far distant as ever. Pressing, my Lords, is attended with great severity and uncommon hardship; nothing can be more dreadful than to tear a useful member of society from his family and his dearest connexions, when probably his industry and protection is most wanted. I have often turned my thoughts to the subject, and hope in the end to be able to perfect some scheme which will render pressing of seamen entirely unnecessary. I have already had some experience that the usual mode of procuring men is most certainly defective; and while I wish to explain myself, I am glad to have an opportunity of speaking of the worth and merit of two very deserving officers; one of them a near relation to a noble Earl whom I now see in his place, [Lord Abercorn] — the gentleman I allude to is Captain Hamilton; the other, Captain Pownall, who, with a fortune of one hundred thousand pounds, without any temptation to go to sea but what was inspired by a sense of duty and the justice of the cause: both those officers tendered their services unasked, and without any application for assistance from the Admiralty, procured their complements within a few days, so as to be ready to proceed to sea; and that purely by entering men at rendezvous-houses to serve aboard their respective vessels. Such a mode of procuring men creates a confidence between the commanding officer and the seaman. The former is in some measure bound to act humanely to the man who gives him the preference of serving under him; and the latter will find his interest and duty unite, in behaving well under a person from whom he is taught to expect every present reasonable indulgence and future favour. These, and some other instances of a similar nature, which have come to my knowledge, have enabled me to point out one thing, that might, in my opinion, be the means of furthering the naval service; that is, trusting less to the assistance of the Admiralty Board, and giving every possible encouragement to the Captains appointed to the command of ships to complete their own crews. I am sure the happy effects of such a mode of expediting the naval armaments have been felt in the two instances I now allude to; as well as in some others I have forborne to mention. I have only one more word to add on this head before I sit down, and that is, to explain, on a general ground, the little consequence the deficiencies, which have been so pompously magnified, and so seriously insisted on by the noble Duke, can be of to the service. We will suppose a ship is ordered for such a service; while, therefore, she is preparing, her crew may be defective; but as soon as she is under orders for sailing, the deficiency is made up in the manner now mentioned, or taken from the guard-ships, or from other vessels that are not in such a state

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of forwardness; and so it happens successively as occasion requires, without injuring or impeding the service in any degree whatever.

The noble Duke says, that the foreign troops having marched to the place of embarkation, and not finding the transports ready to receive them, have been obliged to return to their quarters. I believe he has been equally misinformed and misled in this, as in every other instance. I am certain the fact is not so, and will tell his Grace that at no time has the transport-service been more expeditiously conducted; for I am certain it was never known in this country that so many tons of shipping were procured in so short a time; and what rendered this circumstance the more extraordinary was, the extreme severity of the weather, which, by the returns made to me, had put a stop to all work and business for a fortnight, during the time of the frost. The noble Duke who made the motion has founded it on motives of humanity, equity, and sound policy. To the first I shall only say, that the present measures, if steadily pursued, will, to every substantial purpose, answer the ends of humanity, and be the most effectual means of preventing the effusion of human blood. In point of equity, I am sure the motives for rejecting his Grace' s motion are equally strong, unless we consent to surrender the most essential and sacred rights of the British Legislature. And as to the policy and expediency, I will venture to say that the noble Duke is no less mistaken; for as we have the right, so I trust we have the power to assert that right, and will be able to convince the Americans that our ability will be made no less conspicuous than the justice of our claims, the humanity we have manifested in the manner we have asserted them, and the measures we mean to pursue in their maintenance and support.

The Duke of Richmond. The noble Earl who lately presided at the head of a certain Department [Lord Dartmouth] seems to doubt, or is willing to explain away, the expression alluded to by the noble Duke who made the motion. I recollect his Lordship' s words precisely: I took a note of them at the time, and they were, "that it was the intention of Administration to relax and conciliate, and never by force of arms to subdue America." This, my Lords, I contend, was the idea thrown out in the speech, and was the ostensible object of the clause the last mentioned noble Duke alluded to; though I perfectly coincide with his Grace, that war alone for the purpose of subduing America lay concealed under that clause, as now manifestly appears. What does the clause import? Does it contain any one specifick provision? Is it not a loose, indefinite jumble of words, meaning nothing, or at least nothing but to vest in the Crown a power of disposing of the rights of Parliament; of leaving Parliament all the odium; and giving his Majesty, should the scheme of coercing America prove impracticable, all the credit of any concession Parliament might hereafter be disposed to agree to? I would desire your Lordships to turn to the clause, and see the condition on which any measure of conciliation is to rest: "whenever any Province, &c˙, shall show a disposition to return to their duty." How is this disposition to be known? Not by the Congress, for you have refused to treat with them; not with any particular description of men, for there can be none legally entitled to answer further than themselves are concerned. There are no Assemblies in being. Who, then, can you treat with, but with individuals whom you mean to detach from their countrymen, in order, by holding out offers of pardon, to create divisions; and by effecting that, forwarding your schemes of either simple conquest or unconditional submission? But I do assure your Lordships, that this scheme, however artfully planned, or deeply laid, will meet with the fate of all the rest. The people, so as to answer the ends you propose, will never permit themselves to be duped. It will be received as the proposition made to the Congress by one of the members of Administration in the other House [Sir Grey Cooper] was. This will never effect what the one hundred thousand pounds, offered by that gentleman to the Congress if they would agree to the noble Lord' s conciliatory proposition, failed to do. Every offer, however covertly made, must be disclosed at last. That is the Constitution of the Congress. They were obliged to impart to their constituents, that they refused the money; and that insidious proposition, though short of the system now pursuing, met with that contempt it deserved. But supposing that the Congress had consented, do your Lordships imagine that

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the people would have submitted to such ignominious terms? I am certain they would not. The Congress is a temporary fluctuating body, chosen for a certain term; and as the people found that the point at issue, had the Congress assented, would have been virtually surrendered, it is probable they would have appointed other Delegates, who would have undone everything that had been agreed to by their predecessors, for they would never acquiesce in a mandate which says you shall tax yourselves, you shall collect those taxes, and send the produce to be deposited in the British Treasury; and we do at the same time reserve to ourselves not only the negative of disapproving of the quantum, but likewise the right of taxing you in any manner, or to any extent, we may hereafter think proper. The noble Earl, my Lords, who spoke last, has made use of a very presumptuous expression in reply to the noble Duke who spoke immediately before him. He tells his Grace not only that he is totally mistaken and misinformed, but supposing him to have received his information from professional men, desires him to send those professional men to him, and he will convince them of their ignorance, and that they know nothing at all of the matter. This, I confess, is a language I have been hitherto unaccustomed to; I always imagined that professional men were supposed to know something of their profession; I always thought that in undertakings of an important and arduous nature, they were consulted. I never expected to have heard so respectable a body condemned in the lump, and included in a general charge of ignorance and incapacity. If the noble Earl is serious, I think this fact ought to be one reason for our desisting from our present design; for if the charge be true, who shall we have to carry it into execution? Or, taking it in another light, if the talents and knowledge of professional men are held so cheap and in so much contempt, and the noble Earl has only relied on his own judgment, which, however transcendent in other respects, I cannot put in competition with those who have devoted their whole lives to a profession, I am not at all surprised that all our operations have hitherto miscarried. The noble Earl has denied that vagrants or convicted felons have been entered and entertained aboard his Majesty' s ships-of-war; but I can, partly from my own knowledge, contradict his Lordship in this assertion. As Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Sussex, I received an order from the Privy Council, signed by the noble Earl in the blue ribbon, [Lord Gower,] as President of that Council, desiring me to cause the laws in being against vagrants, &c˙, to be carried into effectual execution. I believe there is not one of your Lordships who are strangers to the intended operation of this order, or suppose that the proclamation alluded to was issued for any other purpose but to pursue the objects of the law, by causing the persons apprehended under it to be put aboard the ships then fitting out, and which, whatever the noble Earl may have asserted to the contrary, I am well satisfied were detained for want of hands from proceeding to the places of their respective destinations. The noble Earl speaks very pompously of the power, strength, and resources of this country. He may be right; but I think we have not yet given any great proof of them, except in the liberality, I may say in the profusion of our grants. His Lordship says, that our abilities have not been at all exerted; that we are able to employ and provide ten times a greater force than the present. His Lordship is, I confess, very fruitful in expedients; but I suspect he has, in this instance, asserted more a good deal than he will be able to make good. By the votes of the other House, I perceive that six millions, or thereabouts, have been already granted for the service of the present year, in which is included, even for last year, nearly a million for extraordinaries. Now, without computing what the probable expense of the extraordinaries of this year will be, when four times the number of land forces, besides the very formidable fleet the noble Earl has entertained us with an account of, are to be employed, I just confine the expense to what is already granted. I would then ask the noble Earl whether he seriously thinks that we are able to raise sixty millions? for his assertion goes exactly to that. Or supposing that we were, whether it would be wise, prudent, or politick, to involve us in a situation which might render such an exertion of our strength necessary? It is on account of our defenceless state at home, the heavy expense the prosecution of a war at so great a distance must cost, the

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deluge of blood which must of course be spent in such a quarrel, the fear of an attack from our foreign enemies, but, above all, the injustice of the cause, that I am for heartily agreeing with the noble Duke' s motion, as a means of preventing all those accumulated evils with which we are threatened. I trust, should your Lordships agree to it, it would produce all the happy effects so ably stated by the noble Duke; and I, for one, am free to declare, that should the Colonies persist, and, refusing to enter into terms of accommodation, claim rights destructive of the sovereignty of this empire, as one great political body, I should thenceforward be silent in their behalf, and should be as earnest as the most zealous of your Lordships in compelling them to that species of submission in which the strength and power of this country, and all its dependencies, most essentially depend.

Before I sit down, as perhaps it may be the last time I may have an opportunity of addressing myself to the right reverend bench on this occasion, I shall say a word or two to their Lordships. It is true I have been as yet rather unsuccessful in my appeals to that quarter; but when to the motives of humanity, and all the sanctions arising from a love of peace and an abhorrence to the effusion of blood, I shall add the considerations of their Lordships' own personal concerns, I flatter myself I shall be heard with greater attention by the right reverend body. It is possible, my Lords, that in the present conflict, while both parties are warmly contending, the Constitution may be destroyed, the rights and liberties of the people may be annihilated, or, another Revolution may happen, and the Government may be overthrown. In the latter event, what will probably be the consequence, but that, in such a state of things,, you, my Lords, (the Bishops,) may a second time fall a victim to the rage of the people? The golden Prebends, the rich Deaneries, the overgrown Bishopricks, may be sacrificed to appease the wrath and gratify the expectations of the prevailing party. This may be the case, should the Constitution be overthrown; and it always has been in this country a consequence of bad government. Our rulers have first provoked the people, the Constitution has been violated, attempts have been made on their parts to support those violations, and the people have generally prevailed in the struggle: so that the event has been, that, whether the rights of the people have been vindicated or invaded, the Government has been dissolved. It is on this account I now particularly address myself to the right reverend bench, to remind them of their real situation, and to warn them of the consequences of a state of civil confusion, as they, perhaps, will be the first and most material sufferers.

The Earl of Sandwich. I beg your Lordships' indulgence to be permitted to explain myself, relative to what the noble Duke, who spoke last, has imputed to me. I never arraigned the abilities of professional men in general. I never desired that they might be sent to me to instruct them. What I both said and meant, my Lords, was, that the noble Duke was misinformed; that if he had his information from professional men, I knew who they were: I knew they were superficial, and, as such, recommended to his Grace to send those professional men to me, and I would convince them that they were ignorant, and knew nothing at all of the matter. I therefore appeal to your Lordships' candour, whether my words admitted of such an interpretation as the noble Duke has put upon them. I am sure they did not; for as no man has a higher esteem for the profession, so no person can be more perfectly convinced of the very accurate and extensive knowledge of many of those brave and experienced seamen alluded to, who would do honour to any profession or any service.

The Earl of Dartmouth. I cannot think that the noble Duke who spoke last had the least intention of misstating my words in a former debate. His Grace, generally, is pretty accurate; but I do, however, assure your Lordships, that he has imputed sentiments to me which I never entertained, and for which I am alone obliged to his Grace' s ingenuity, who has exercised the miraculous power of transforming what I said on the occasion alluded to, to something on the whole extremely different from what it was my wish and intention at the time to express.

The Earl of Hillsborough. I was not present in the House when the noble Duke who made the motion adverted to me in a matter of explanation, relative to the conduct

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of the Cabinet in 1769, when it was proposed to repeal the act for laying on the Port Duties in America. I have been now informed that his Grace has asserted he was overruled and out-voted in Council, and that I sent him a note stating the transaction. I do not say that the noble Duke did not receive such a note; but I deny that it ever came either directly or indirectly from me. The noble Duke who spoke last [Duke of Richmond] has again adverted to my unfortunate letter, which has afforded such ample matter for discussion, both in this and the other House; and has asserted, that it was done with an intention of amusing the Colonies and deceiving them. There is nothing, I trust, I would be further from being guilty of, than deceit, in any shape or to answer any purpose. I am certain such a charge will be found totally groundless in the present instance. I appeal to the obvious and natural construction of the letter itself; and I would recommend to such of your Lordships as may hereafter think it worth your while to take notice of it, to first desire it to be read, in order that the House may be enabled to judge for themselves, and not be misled by any partial interpretation of it. Such a conduct would be candid; I am sure it would be Parliamentary. The words of the letter, so far as they relate to the present subject, were, that his Majesty' s then Ministers engaged for themselves, and desired the respective Governours to assure the several Assemblies, that it was not the intention of this country to lay any tax on America for the purpose of raising a revenue. Supposing, then, that this promise were binding on all successive Administrations, (which I presume will hardly be contended for,) will any noble Lord produce a single instance in which this promise has been violated or departed from? Has there been any tax imposed, or duty levied, since that period? I will not trouble your Lordships with any particular discussion on the right this country has to tax the Colonies. My general sentiments are already fully known. If sovereignty includes everything essential to its inherent power and exercise, it is to the last degree absurd and ridiculous to distinguish between the general legislative right to govern, direct, and control, and the partial limited object of taxation, which is clearly included in that right, and necessarily forms a part of it. It would ill become me to waste your Lordships' time in pursuing the self-evident consequences which flow from this principle. The point of expediency in the outset of this business might have admitted of argument; the present state of it cannot nor will admit of any. The gentleman [Mr˙ Grenville] who first proposed the Stamp Act saw this point in a very clear light, and determined to couple the maintenance of the right with the necessity of obliging America to contribute to lighten the burdens she had been accessary in creating. He was a worthy, able man, and in some respects a great man; yet if he could have foreseen all the consequences that have since happened, I have strong reason to believe he would have desisted from his design. The gentlemen who succeeded him acted from principle, and were actuated by the best motives: they found that country in a state little short of civil confusion. From a solicitude to preserve the peace of the empire, they consented to the repeal of the law which created those unhappy disturbances; but even that Administration acknowledged the principle laid down by their predecessors in office; for they accompanied the repeal of the Stamp Act with the Declaratory law, which maintains the legislative supremacy of this country in all cases whatever. When the duties were laid on in 1767, I did not attend, nor had I any hand in imposing them; nevertheless, as the right was questioned by America, which is the main point to which I would wish your Lordships to turn your attention, I confess I was of opinion, that unless we resolved entirely to relinquish the sovereignty over that country, we ought by no means to consent to a total repeal. I saw the necessity of retaining a part of the duties, till America should recognize the right of imposing them. I acted strictly up to those ideas; I voted against the total repeal on that ground; and I concurred in advising the latter on the same motives. A full, clear, and specifick acknowledgment of the right I thought necessary; when that was completely secured, I was willing to concede, on the ground of expediency alone. I am still of the same opinion, and shall ever continue to resist, to the utmost of my power, in whatever form it may be brought forward, every proposition for concession or accommodation, short of

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submission and acknowledgment, such as I have described; because I am perfectly convinced, that if the right of taxation be surrendered, every other beneficial right of sovereignty will soon follow, and America in the end be totally separated from this country.

The noble Duke, on a former occasion, expressed his disapprobation very strongly of the law for altering the Charter of Massachusetts-Bay, passed the last year but one. For my part, I think the law was in every respect extremely necessary. First, as to the right, because every Charter, from the very nature of the grant, is controllable and dissolvable by the Supreme Legislature. Only reflect, my Lords, for an instant, what the consequence would be if the contrary were true. The King might grant exclusive privileges by charter; he might name them in such a manner as to render them totally independent of Parliament; and he might, in fact, by this means, parcel out the whole empire into as many independent communities as he pleased. Surely, my Lords, such an absurdity is not to be endured. I contend that all corporations are under the control of Parliament; that it is competent for Parliament to alter, amend, or abridge the privileges thus granted whenever they see that the interests of the empire demand it. Lest us, then, in maintenance of the general principle, make a particular application of it as affecting the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay. Towards the latter end of the reign of Charles II, a policy prevailed which I as heartily disapprove of as any of your Lordships — that of dissolving charters at the mere will and pleasure of the Crown, or at least in a mode nearly as exceptionable. I believe, however, that the matter I am going to allude to happened to be an exception to the general abuse of the power exercised by that Monarch. It was discovered that the Charter granted to Massachusetts-Bay was no more than an incorporation of certain persons, for the mere purposes of carrying on trade, under the description of a Chairman and so many Assistants; the vacancies in the latter to he filled up by the Chairman, and the President' s seat, when a vacancy happened, by the majority of the Assistants. What was the consequence? Why, this body of men usurped all the powers of civil government; and, instead of a trading company, erected themselves into a kind of little republick, disclaiming almost all political relation to the parent State. Actuated by those principles of republicanism, which have prevailed among them in a greater or lesser degree since their earliest settlement in that country, the Chairman soon assumed the name of Governour, and his Assistants that of a Council, over whom, for the reason before assigned, the King had no power, for he was not permitted to appoint either. The Charter, cm this account, was accordingly dissolved; and though, after the Revolution, the people of that Province did everything in their power to obtain a renewal of it, their endeavours proved unsuccessful. King William' s Council, though they had risked their lives and fortunes in support of the constitutional liberties of their country, could never be prevailed upon to establish or renew claims so derogatory to the legislative rights, the sovereign control, and the essential interests of this country. At length, the people of New-England were obliged to submit. Their country was divided into distinct Governments, and the King reserved to himself the power of appointing the Governour in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, and provided in another manner for the election of the Council. So the Constitution of that Government stood at the commencement of the present disputes, when it was found that a defect remained, which was very severely felt, and which caused a continual interruption to the carrying on of the publick business. It was this: By King William' s Charter, though the appointment of the Governour was reserved to the Crown, the Council were chosen by the people. By which means the Governour found himself continually thwarted or overruled in Council; consequently, whatever measures he adopted were either weak or inefficacious, and Government became in a great measure useless or inactive. To remedy that evil, the Charter Bill was framed and passed into a law. I am sorry it was not thought of earlier; for I am certain if it had, none of the consequences which are now so strongly felt and so justly lamented would have happened. The hands of Government would have been strengthened, and the promoters of peace and obedience would have had it in their power to exert themselves; none of the rash acts which gave birth

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to those bills of punishment would have ever happened; or if they had, the mischiefs would have been corrected or suppressed instantaneously, and the Colony, and of course the whole continent, would, by this time, have been in a state of perfect tranquillity and obedience. On the whole, my Lords, so far from disapproving, with the noble Duke, of the Charter Bill, or wishing it had never passed as a measure of Government, all I have now to lament is, as a means of preventing all the ill consequences which have since happened, that it was not thought of and carried into execution at a time when, I will venture to affirm, it would have been productive of the most happy and salutary effects.

The Earl of Shelburne. I came down this day to the House with the intention of seconding the motion made by the noble Duke, because I think it the only measure now left which can possibly extricate us from that inevitable destruction which awaits us, should we obstinately persist in our present wild and romantick system of conquest and coercion, which I perceive is possessed by several who, I fear, have influence enough to cause the dangerous experiment to be made. I have, from the very beginning of this melancholy business, been always of opinion that a middle path might be hit on by which this country may be enabled both to acquit herself with honour, and to diffuse the blessings of her once happy Government to her American subjects, without sacrificing those interests which I shall always be as zealous to retain as any one of your Lordships; meaning, however, to be understood on this clear principle, that the power of taxing themselves, and the rights enjoyed by Charter, must be preserved to the Colonies inviolate. I shall ever think that any attempt to deprive them of either of those will be no less unjust in principle than impracticable in the execution. I know, even after this, after concession on our side and submission and confidence on theirs, a great deal will still remain to be done. Much must be trusted to the wisdom, integrity, and moderation of Ministers. They will have many great and uncommon difficulties to encounter. I foresee many of them. The disposition of the army, in particular, I predict, will be the source of great doubt, and no small contrariety of sentiment both here and in America. I, however, put in my claim to be understood as by no means giving up or being willing to relinquish the right inherent in the Sovereign, of ordering, directing, and stationing the army in whatever part of this empire he may think proper; and I confess it is with no small degree of astonishment and uneasiness I have heard doctrines of a very different nature maintained within this House by several noble Lords, whose more peculiar business it is to watch and take care that his Majesty' s just prerogatives be maintained entire and undiminished in all their parts: I particularly allude to the transactions in Ireland, and the language held by the Parliament of that kingdom. It is true, I have a very considerable property in Ireland, and have its interests sincerely at heart, but nevertheless I would not wish to advance them at the expense of this country. Besides, I am convinced that any partial favour granted to that kingdom, unless in points of local advantage, which do not interfere with the control and supremacy of this, would in the end be no real advantage to it. If the laws against Catholicks be cruel and impolitick; if the monopoly claimed by this country, in some instances, be liable to the same objection; if any laws are wanting which may encourage domestick industry and promote cultivation, — none of your Lordships would be readier to agree to any scheme which might conduce to ends so salutary and desirable: but when I hear it asserted that the military force of this empire is to be divided into separate establishments, not under the immediate control of the Sovereign; when I hear it maintained that it is not competent for his Majesty to send foreigners, under the sanction of a British Parliament, into any part of the empire, for its particular defence or for the safety of the whole; when I hear that a certain local military establishment is fixed, and, as it were, locked up in Ireland so as not to be called forth as the exigencies of affaire may require; I cannot forget my duty so much as to be silent, and not express my most hearty disapprobation of doctrines so derogatory of the prerogative of the Crown, and the controlling and superintending power of the British Parliament. As to the question immediately before your Lordships, I look upon it as the only one now left for our national salvation. It admits of but one plausible objection, which

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is, that should we now recede, it would operate as an encouragement to America to rise higher in her demands, on a supposition that our conceding at this particular crisis would induce her to conclude that timidity and a consciousness of our own inability, not a love of justice, were the true motives. Granting everything which may be built on this argument to have great weight, I would only oppose to it this one consideration urged by a noble Duke, [of Richmond,] that should this turn out to be true, it would give the friends of Government such a superiority, such a concurrence of hearts and hands, as would be more than a sufficient counterbalance for any inconvenience which might arise from the suspension of arms proposed by the motion now on your Lordships' table. On the whole, I can see no solid objection to your Lordships agreeing to it: I perceive innumerable forcible reasons for your acquiescence. I foresee the possibility, if not the strong probability, of our being compelled to engage in a foreign war. I am convinced that the present schemes of conquest and coercion are unjust; I am satisfied they are impolitick; and, as such, heartily unite in opinion that the present motion ought to be agreed to on every principle of humanity, equity, and sound policy.

Lord Lyttelton. Though I do not think that the noble Lords who support this motion, nor any other noble Lord in this House, have any right to desire explanations from Ministers on points which arise and are incidental to their offices, yet, for my own part, as the matter has been pressed pretty forcibly by several of the noble Lords in Opposition, I should be glad to know from the noble Lords in office whether they have specifick assurances from the Courts of Versailles and Madrid sufficient to give them a perfect security that this nation will not be interrupted in the present measures for the purpose of reducing our rebellious subjects in America. I urge this more for the sake of strengthening the hands of Government than for the mere purpose of information; for I am perfectly satisfied that no threats or intrigues whatever should prevent us from reclaiming America from its present disordered state, and securing to us in future its dependance and constitutional submission. But my motive chiefly is, to remind Ministers of what has fallen in the course of this debate, lest their silence may be construed into a positive acquiescence. The noble Earl who spoke last but one [Lord Hillsborough] has exculpated himself very ably from the charge of intentional deceit, imputed to his Circular Letter; but I am far from following that noble Earl in some of the reasoning he resorted to. His Lordship told you that no tax had been since imposed; that if there had, it was not imposed by the same Administration; and that very few, if any, remained in office now, who were in office at the time the letter was written. To me, further than the purpose of mere personal exculpation, all this seems extremely irrelative. I cannot agree that any engagement or promise made by any Administration can be deemed binding on your Lordships. For my part I shall never agree, as a member of this House, to he bound by any such promise. I cannot conceive that it is in the power, nor within the province of any set of Ministers, however able, to compliment away the inherent rights of the British Parliament. It is incompetent to their situation. If the power be in the Parliament, as I am sure it is, they cannot even themselves surrender it, without a manifest breach of trust. I take it to be a right original, co-extensive, and inalienable, not to be parted with or transferred. If so, how much less can Parliament and the nation at large be bound by engagements of this nature made by Ministers? I allow that the right of taxation, which is the leading point in dispute, may, from motives of expediency, be suspended or abstained from; but I do contend that it can never ho abandoned entirely, because it is essential to the very nature and exercise of civil Government. The motion now before your Lordships is indeed of a very extraordinary kind: what does it offer? That, after the most notorious acts of violence, after the most patient forbearance on our part, after giving proofs of moderation never before heard of, we are desired to suspend all further operations. Is this consistent with the wisdom and dignity of a great and powerful nation? Consider, my Lords, what a figure you would cut in the eyes of all Europe, in those of your own subjects, in the opinion of even the very people for whose sake the benefit is intended. Would they not all unite in pronouncing it the summit of folly, of cowardice, and national weakness — not

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lenity and humanity? I am astonished to hear the noble Lords on the other side urge so warmly motives of humanity, in order to induce your Lordships to agree with the present proposition. Are there any people under Heaven who have acted more inhumanly than those very people for whom they now plead? Have they not already destroyed even the very appearance of Government? Have they not ruined, banished, and proscribed every man, who has dared even to differ from them in sentiment? Have they not trampled on every right of personal liberty and private property? Have they not even gone so far as to stifle all free discussion in print, and overthrown that great palladium the liberty of the Press, in the person of Rivington, whose only crime was that he published the thoughts of men who ventured to disapprove of the measures they were pursuing? I do affirm to your Lordships, that I have particular information to support me in these general assertions, from gentlemen of undoubted veracity, who have related a variety of particulars that would astonish you, if they were made known. But, my Lords, besides the great question depending between both countries, I would only ask, what will be the certain effect of this motion? It will only be to give the Colonies time to prepare for more vigorous and effective resistance; and if what has been thrown out this day relative to the real disposition of foreign Powers has any foundation in it, it will answer every end of giving time both to our natural enemies and rebellious subjects, to make such preparations as will for ever after put it out of our power to reduce the latter to a proper state of obedience.

The Bishop of Peterborough. I am not so insensible of my own insignificance, and, I trust, shall not be so forgetful of my duty and my place as ever to become a busy meddler in political matters; but your Lordships will not think it unbecoming my station to say a few words in support of a motion which, notwithstanding what the noble Lord who spoke last, and the noble Earl who spoke sometime before him, have objected to it, appears still to me founded upon principles of humanity, justice, and sound policy. The substance of those objections which have the most colour of argument, is, that it is unbecoming the dignity of Great Britain to treat with subjects that are in rebellion to her authority, while they have their arms in their hands; and that a republican spirit of independence being the real ground of the dispute, to negotiate would be only to delay, and give the Colonies time to strengthen themselves, and thereby become still more formidable than they are.

As to saying the Americans are not to be treated with while they have arms in their hands, it is, in effect, the very same thing as saying they shall not be treated with at all; for it cannot be supposed for a moment that a whole people engaged in what appears to them the very best of causes, who have already committed themselves so far as to incur the censures of rebellion, should, while they have the means of defence left, forego their only hope, and submit themselves unconditionally to the will of those whom they think have injured and oppressed them, without having the least assurance which they can rely upon, given them, either of redress or security. The plain and only inference to be drawn from this argument is, that slaughter and devastation must now necessarily be the only means employed to reestablish mutual confidence and a cordial reconciliation. As to the idea of the noble Earl, that these troubles originated from a republican spirit of independence, and therefore to treat would only be to delay, it seems to me a begging of the question; and to show it is so, I beg leave to recall your Lordships' recollection to what was said in the debate on the Boston Port Bill. Your Lordships were then informed that the discontents in America were confined to the lower order of the people, and were only the idle clamours of an inconsiderable faction, whose chief support was the encouragement they had from persons here at home. In the next session, when the disturbances grew more alarming, they were said to be owing to the defective constitution and turbulent spirit of a single disaffected Province; that constitution was altered, and the evil increased; now it is spread over the whole continent, and it is attempted to persuade your Lordships that it has all along proceeded from one general principle of universal independence.

For my part, my Lords, believing in my conscience, as I do, that we need look no farther for the origin of these troubles than the fatal imposition of the Stamp Act, I can by

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no means admit the notion that absolute independence is even now the object of America. When I first heard the position at the opening of the session, it was altogether novel to me, in any other light than as one of the many hydra-heads that naturally spring from the blood of civil dissension; that some there may have been who have, from the beginning, had it in view, I will not question; but if their party ever becomes general, it will be the consequence and not the cause of our disputes. Ill, however, does it seem to become the wisdom and gravity of your Lordships' counsels to adopt such a persuasion on mere presumptive evidence; and it stands on no other.

For whether America does or does not really aim at absolute independence, is by no means only a speculative idea; it is fraught with consequences of the utmost importance; it is big with all the horrors of war and desolation abroad, with all the evils of dissension here at home. Ill therefore does it accord with your Lordships' wonted caution to decide on so material a point upon bare probability, deduced from doubtful premises, by surmise, inference, and conjecture, while positive proof was to be had; for had, it certainly might have been, and I hope still may be had. if an assurance was given to the Colonies (on laying down their arms, and making restitution for the violence done to private property) of security against the exercise of taxation. It is principally on this, by them deemed a constitutional point, and not on visionary ideas of an independence, which nothing but a perseverance in error on both sides can ever realize, that America is united, and hazarding all the consequences of resistance. The noble Duke' s motion is calculated to prevent the dire conflict between resentment and despair. It proposes no terms which might embarrass Administration, not even such as must be granted whenever an end is put to this war; for there are very few now so sanguine in their expectations as to think that America, if entirely subdued, could be held in peaceable subjection under the exercise of taxation. Should it, however, appear that nothing short of independence will satisfy America, as I fear too many of your Lordships have already concluded, it will at least have this good effect, it will let us all into the real ground of the quarrel, concerning which we so widely differ at present; it will unite the sentiments of all parties; it will give stability to Administration, enable them to unfold their plan of operation, and leave no other subject of debate than whether it is best to conquer or abandon.

His Lordship then added, that it was riot his intention to enter into the discussion of a point that had already been too much agitated, and which he wished had never been agitated at all, namely, the supremacy of Parliament; but as he hoped to trouble the House no more on the subject of America, he begged leave to submit to their consideration a short reflection or two. In whatever light, said he, I have viewed this subject, I have never yet been able so far to confound my ideas as to suppose that power and right are synonymous terms; and to me it appears to avail little that it should be said the power of Parliament extends over the property, when it has ceased to influence the opinion, of the subject. Parliament may indeed call men and things by what name it pleases; it may say that what was formerly considered as an aid, a free gift of the people, shall henceforward be looked upon as an act of legal obligation. It may say this or that is rebellion, and it unquestionably becomes so thus far, that he who counteracts its decisions must suffer the penalties, and may die as a rebel; yet, after all, there is no earthly Government whatever but in a great measure is founded upon, and is co-extensive with, opinion; and when once the whole mass of a people think themselves oppressed, be the case real or imaginary, it is the wisest, because it is the only safe way, for those who govern to change their system, and thereby prevent those struggles which, in the end, if not fatal to liberty, are dangerous to themselves. In every exertion of power, civil or natural, it is right to consider what is, and what is not practicable; it was the glory as well as the policy of imperial Rome, at the summit of her greatness; it has, in more modern times, been the peculiar boast of Great Britain, and may be her practice to the end of time: "Per populas dare jura volentes."

Earl Gower confessed that he had been one of the members in the Cabinet who had advised, and concurred in framing, the Circular Letter written by Lord Hillsborough in 1769, and then read the copy of a letter written by a

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member of Administration in 1765, [General Conway,] to the American Governours, maintaining the very doctrines supported by the noble Lords who spoke against the motion, that America, before she had a right to expect any indulgence from the mother country, must first acknowledge her sovereignty, and the supremacy of this Legislature.

Lord Abingdon said that the right of taxation, insisted on by them, stripped America of her property; and the claim of having a right to alter her Charters, deprived her of her municipal rights; so that, on both accounts, the present war to compel her to an unconditional submission, was a war of conquest, and, if successful, must terminate in the absolute slavery of the vanquished.

Lord Camden. I have so frequently given my opinion on the injustice, on our part, of compelling America to pay taxes without being represented in our Parliament, contrary to the fundamental principles of this Constitution, the privileges the people of that country are entitled to as British subjects, and the inalienable rights of mankind, that I shall not presume to trouble your Lordships on these subjects again, unless they come directly under debate, or make an essential part of the matter under consideration. I shall chiefly confine myself to the object of the present motion; observing, however, before I proceed further, that if there was any colour for the claim of taxing the Colonies, the form, the right which has been attempted to be exercised, is absurd beyond precedent. If it could at all be defended, it must be as an act of sovereign power issuing from the legislature; but the absurdity of the other House, whose power of granting aids arises from representation, granting other people' s money, is a solecism in politicks and legislation, reserved for modern discovery; an idea that every impartial, intelligent man must treat with derision; an idea which our predecessors would hardly believe possible to have entered into the mind of man to conceive, were, they to rise from the dead, to behold the ridiculous scene that is now passing, and the manifest injustice which it involves in it. The light I take the present motion in is, to remedy that extraordinary act called the Capture Act, passed immediately before Christmas. I confess I am astonished how such a law could have ever received your Lordships' sanction. I do not mean to arraign its cruelty, injustice, and impolicy; they do not come within the view I intend to take of it. I was indisposed at Bath the time it passed this House, and I should be glad to know from either of the learned Lords who defended it, how they could possibly permit the clause of pardoning to pass unnoticed; or how they could let such a manifest imposition be put on the House, as that the clause delegated any power whatever of opening an accommodation with the Colonies. What does this celebrated clause say? That his Majesty shall be empowered to grant and receive submissions. I would ask the learned Lord, whether his Majesty can, under this act, empower Commissioners to grant pardons to Provinces, and whole bodies of men? If he should answer, that he can, I will engage to prove that he cannot; and that any person who presumed to act under such a power, would do it at his peril. But if his Majesty could delegate this power in the extent contended, would that answer the professed object of the clause? Would it enable the Commander-in-Chief, or Commissioners, to enter into a treaty, or agree upon conditions? I do maintain it would not. The man who, under such an authority, dare make a single concession, short of receiving an unconditional submission or surrender, would hazard his neck. To what purpose, then, to send out Commissioners to treat, when any treaty, communication, or intercourse whatever, according to the language of this House, would not only be treason against the person of the King, but treason against the State, and the legislative rights of Parliament? The people of America have been declared Rebels: the very act I allude to describes them as such. Where, then, is the man bold enough to accommodate the subsisting disputes, by an authority short of that which declared them so, except, as before observed, America should unconditionally submit? This, then, is the clearest proof that unconditional submission is the object in view, though it was endeavoured to be concealed under the flimsy clause I have been now commencing on; and it is on that account principally that I am desirous the present motion should succeed, to get at the real intentions of Administration; to

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know whether they mean at all to recede from their full demands, or whether they intend to risk everything to pursue war for the purpose of a complete conquest in one event, or unconditional submission in the other. Their refusal will no longer leave a doubt of their ultimate intentions. Concession, treaty, negotiation, &c˙, will have just as much meaning as the word "accommodation" had with the soldier in Shakspeare. Accommodation, when desired to explain it, he said, meant accommodation. But, my Lords, great stress is laid upon the Americans seizing the castles, forts, munitions, &c˙, of his Majesty; and it is said this is rebellion. If this is true at all, the case can only apply to Canada. If, however, we are to examine the law, which in affairs of this nature can be our only guide, I question the truth of this assertion. Previous to Edward VI, it was not punishable as treason; during the reign of that Prince a law was enacted, which made the retaining the King' s castles, fortresses, &c˙, against his consent, high-treason. In the succeeding reign, (that of Queen Mary,) that, with all other laws passed since the 25th of Edward III, were repealed; and I know of none since enacted for the purpose; and, for my part, I cannot see, if the offence was merely confined to that, how a person could be legally punished. In this very strange clause I perceive there has an expression crept in, and but for the whole complexion of this iniquitous affair I should have been inclined to imagine it got there by the blunder of the clerk, as it is rank nonsense; it is the condition on which the pardons are to take place, as soon as the Province shall be in the "King' s peace." The phrase is an unmeaning one, as applied here. The King' s peace, if it means anything, relates to the ancient custom, when the feudatories made war on each other, in avenging personal wrongs, or by way of reprisal and retaliation. When the King thought proper to put a stop to such quarrels, he proclaimed the respective districts which were the seat of quarrel, to be in the King' s peace. I have turned the matter frequently in my mind, and think I have at length discovered the true reason of introducing this antiquated term. It is of a piece with all the rest of this business, which has been directed from the very beginning, to enlarge the powers of the Crown, under the flimsy pretence of asserting the rights of Parliament. Parliament is at all events to be disgraced; and when Ministers have experienced the impracticability of their schemes, all they think they have to do will be to declare the Province to be in the King' s peace. Hostilities will instantly cease, and, as a noble Duke observed early in the debate, Parliament will incur, both here and in America, all the odium of this attack on the liberty and property of their fellow-subjects; and the King' s servants will have the credit of conceding and desisting from an attempt, of which they were the original authors, but which experience had taught them was as impracticable as it was unjust, cruel, and oppressive.

Lord Mansfield. If the noble Lord who spoke last had not so fully explained what the noble Duke who made the motion, and another noble Duke who spoke later in the debate, [Duke of Richmond,] meant by appealing to me, I never could have conceived that I should have been called upon to explain or defend a bill which, I do assure your Lordships, I never saw or was consulted upon till it was debated on the second reading. I remember, I came very late into the House that evening, and should not have said a syllable, if I had not been called upon then, as I am this night. There were but two doubts started on that occasion: one of them was by a noble Duke, [of Richmond,] who wished to know if the ships, their tackle, and apparel, lying in the ports and docks of America, not expressly offending against the principle of the act, by carrying on or intending to carry on any trade, &c˙, came within the intention of the general clause which creates the forfeiture under the description of all ships, goods and merchandise. I informed his Grace, your Lordships, that I thought it did; because any exception might be a source of endless confusion; for if a line were attempted to be drawn in favour of certain persons, or in respect of the mode of incurring the forfeitures, it might probably totally defeat the professed purposes of the bill. The other objection raised was by the noble Lord over the way, [Lord Shelburne.] His Lordship contended against the power of pardoning in the lump, vested in the Crown by the bill. For my part, I am now of the

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same opinion I was then; I thought that the power of pardoning in the lump was a prerogative inherent in the Crown from the earliest date of the Constitution. I knew such a power had been uniformly exercised by the successive Monarchs of this realm, from the Conquest to this day. I knew, likewise, that as they have exercised it themselves, so they have frequently delegated it to others. And on this head I have only to add, that his Majesty' s Ministers were so well satisfied of the power itself, and the competency of the Crown to delegate it, that a noble Lord [Dartmouth] near me, in some successive stage of the bill, moved an alteration in the preamble, for the purpose of reserving that power. I am, therefore, clearly of opinion, that his Majesty might have granted pardons, as well to individuals as in the lump to whole Provinces, if that act had never passed. The learned Lord, from the nature of the commission, has raised arguments and drawn conclusions on the objects to which it may or can be legally directed. This, my Lords, will greatly depend on circumstances, and the prudence and abilities of those to whom the execution of the commission is entrusted. It may be presumed they can have nothing to fear, if they perform their duty faithfully. It can hardly be supposed, that they will incur the displeasure of Parliament, for acting up to their instructions; and it is still less probable that they will risk the censure of both Parliament and their Sovereign, by any improper exercise or abuse of their powers. The learned Lord is at a great loss to know the precise meaning of the phrase "well-disposed;" and the legal definition of that other phrase of being "in the King' s peace." For my part, I am at no loss to comprehend the meaning of both these expressions; the first plainly importing a disposition in any Province, town, or district, to return to their allegiance, and recognise the supreme legislative authority of this country; and the other, a proclamation, on such recognition and acknowledgment on the part of the persons authorized by the act, to declare such Colony or Province to be in the King' s peace; that is, to be deemed to be under the protection of the laws, and be restored to all the privileges of peaceful and dutiful subjects.

My Lords, something very unusual, I mean the extent it has been carried this night, has happened on the present occasion. I could not help observing, in the course of the debate, that almost every matter connected with the affairs of America has been amply discussed, but the very proposition your Lordships have been convened to consider. The Port duties laid on in 1767, and the partial repeal in 1769, have been much dwelt on: there is not a syllable relative to either in the motion. A noble Duke who spoke early in the debate, [Duke of Richmond,] has gone into the state of the navy very largely: there is nothing about the navy in the motion. Another noble Duke has talked a great deal of convicts and vagrants: the motion is quite silent on that head. A fourth, [Lord Shelburne,] endeavoured to prove that the work imputed to Montcalm was a forgery; the same noble Lord found fault with the military arrangements in Ireland: subjects totally unconnected with the motion. And the learned Lord who spoke last, [Lord Camden,] harangued on the improper interference of Government in the affairs of the East-India Company: all matters totally foreign to the immediate subject now before you.

I had no intention when I came into the House, of taking any part in this debate; but as I have been called up, I shall say a few words, but mean to confine myself merely to the motion. I am cautious of delivering my sentiments in this House, because whatever is said here is wafted instantly to America. The arguments are either too frequently misconceived, or misstated; besides there are many things which come out in debate, that are of little consequence and trifling in themselves, and are rendered still more ridiculous in print. I, therefore, clearly unite in sentiments with the noble Earl [Lord Temple] who spoke so ably and so like a true friend to his country, the other night, that little is to be said, and much remains to be done; for that nothing passes within these walls that does not make its way to the other side of the Atlantick, and has been converted to the purposes of counteracting the measures to which it related.

It has been much insisted on this day, that the present is a legislative war, and, therefore, that his Majesty is bound up from exercising his prerogative, and that the matter has been committed to Parliament. Supposing this to be strictly true, has not the act alluded to created the very power

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under which the Commissioners are to act? Supposing it otherwise, will the Crown be denied the exercise of its inherent prerogative in the present instance only, where it is most wanted? But, my Lords, the distinction of a legislative war is perfectly new. Was not the war relative to the succession, and several others of the same kind, legislative wars? May not every war be called so, which has been carried on by the express desire or consent of Parliament? I do not, indeed, recollect one carried on since the Revolution without that sanction.

This country, my Lords, has now arrived at a very tremendous crisis, just commencing a war of a nature entirely new; a war that must necessarily be very expensive, and the issue of which no man can foretell. It is true, that the kingdom will in a great measure bereft defenceless; that we can have no certainty that France or Spain will long preserve their present pacifick dispositions; that we have been reduced to the necessity of hiring foreign troops, and sending to the ports of other kingdoms for transports. But how, my Lords, were these circumstances to be avoided? America has rebelled; America is in arms — not defensively, but offensively; even if we were willing to cease hostilities, they are not. We must therefore act with vigour, and we must at least show ourselves determined to surmount their opposition. Happy would it be for us, if any means could be devised of ending the quarrel without bloodshed; but does the present motion tend to such an effect? Without proposing to save a shilling of the enormous expense the nation has been at, in providing and equipping the armaments to be sent out this year to America, it agrees that the troops should proceed; but when they shall arrive at the place of their respective destinations, they are to remain with their arms folded, inactive, and unemployed. What then? Commissioners are to treat with the Congress; they are to prepare a petition of grievances, which the petitioners are to bring to England, The Congress will laugh in their sleeves at our folly; they will reprint their declaration of war under a new title, for that states what they term their grievances. We shall lose a campaign, of which they will take care to avail themselves, and the next spring we shall have the whole to begin again. This, my Lords, would, I conceive, be the issue of the present motion; I therefore oppose it, as nugatory, ill-timed, and ineffectual.

Lord Camden. I shall not trouble your Lordships at this late hour of the night, in making observations on the many curious matters your Lordships have been now entertained with. I cannot help, however, making one remark, which personally applies to the learned Lord; that is, his saying very little to the question, and a great deal on other subjects, according to his Lordship' s language, not at all connected with the present motion. I shall confine myself to that part of his Lordship' s speech which relates to the power of granting pardons. The learned Lord surely misunderstood me, if he imagined that I questioned the King' s power to pardon. No, my Lords; what I contended was, what I pledge myself to your Lordships I shall be able to prove, that the King cannot pardon in the lump, without the aid of Parliament, offences against the State; much less can he pardon or agree to any terms short of the claims and conditions which Parliament have defined to be the true basis of conciliation. The noble Lord, by the pains he has taken to defend the act; seems to be the father rather than the casual defender of it. He says that the Commissioners will take care not to transgress the limits of their commissions. Will his Lordship, or any other noble Lord in this House, rise and tell me, that the latter extends an inch farther than the mere power of granting pardons, on terms of submission, by the people of America laying down their arms, and throwing themselves unconditionally at the feet of this country? This, then, being the true state of the case, it brings me to the point I set out from; which is, that the present motion is become necessary, to prevent the further effusion of human blood, and as the means of putting an end to a war which must inevitably bring on the destruction of either, if not of both countries; it will supply the defect of the bill I have been now commenting on; it will be the means of drawing forth specifications from the parties, of their respective claims, and will consequently lay a foundation for treaty, which can be the only safe road to peace and conciliation; whereas the clause in the Capture Act is nugatory and delusive. It leaves the matter just as it found it, according to

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the learned Lord' s own ideas; for if the King could delegate the power of pardoning and receiving submissions, the act of Parliament, says no more; and as to any power of conceding or conciliating upon terms short of unconditional submission, which is an explanation too improbable for your Lordships to look for, unless preceded by actual conquest, his Lordship, I dare say, on reflection, is perfectly satisfied that no such power is contained or delegated by the clause in question.

Viscount Weymouth. My Lords, a question has been pressed by a noble Lord [Lyttelton] relative to the present disposition of the Courts of Versailles and Madrid, which I do not think myself at all bound to answer, as a member of this House, nor in any other capacity, unless called upon by an address to the Crown for papers. I am happy, however, to remove the doubts suggested by the noble Lord, by assuring your Lordships, that at no time within my recollection had this country less reason to be jealous or suspicious of the dispositions and intentions of those Courts than at present. His Majesty' s Ministers have received repeated assurances, accompanied by the most unequivocal proofs, of their pacifick intentions; and I am further convinced that, although they should have entertained sentiments diametrically opposite to those they profess, they have it no more in their power than in their inclination to effectuate any measure which might be the means of involving this country in a war, or of impeding the plan of operations designed to be carried into execution for the purpose of reducing our Colonies to a state of constitutional obedience to the power and Government of this country. The noble Duke who made the motion had stated a fact, relative to two French gentlemen arriving in the Rebel camp, and after having an interview with the General, of their proceeding to the Congress at Philadelphia. I have heard that there were two persons at the head-quarters at Cambridge, of the description mentioned; but when I heard it, I was of the same opinion as now, that their presence there proceeded from motives very different from those I hear assigned this day. I looked upon it, that they were gentlemen who were making a tour of the American Continent for their amusement, or merchants, who went there to negotiate matters in the way of trade, on their own private account; and I think so still.

The Duke of Grafton. My Lords, I have long observed, that some persons, from long experience in the modes of controversy adopted in the Courts below, where matters are frequently represented in every light but the true one, have acquired a knack of holding up the weak parts of a debate ludicrously; and when they find themselves pressed in argument, resort to ridicule, in order to draw the attention of the House to extraneous matter. Thus the learned Lord [Mansfield] has claimed a kind of triumph, by commenting upon everything which seemed not immediately to relate to the motion now before your Lordships; and, in the very spirit of the conduct he has reprehended in others, has sat down without saying anything, or next to nothing, on the question under consideration. I differ widely from the learned Lord; for I shall ever be of opinion, that every object connected with the present cause of dispute with America, the different measures which arose in consequence of that dispute, and the conduct of that war, by which the friends and supporters of Administration mean to terminate it, are all subjects well worthy of your Lordships' consideration and investigation; for it is evident, that those several objects are not separate and distinct, but form one great whole, which cannot be properly examined or discussed, unless you consider its several parts at one view. I confess, my Lords, that I find myself much hurt to perceive a question of so much importance treated in so ludicrous and trivial a manner. I therefore trust that your Lordships will impute any warmth I may have betrayed on the present occasion purely to the cause I have now mentioned. I hope I have too great respect for your Lordships, to offer any motion to your consideration which I thought did not merit the attention of Parliament; and, I own, I cannot avoid being much surprised, that an attempt to have it laughed away should be made; when I am conscious that I took every possible precaution in my power, to frame it in such a manner as to leave the subject open, and not by narrowing it preclude every part of the House to unite on some general principle, which might, on the onset, be the means of putting a speedy stop to the further effusion of

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human blood. But, my Lords, nothing which has happened on the present occasion can induce me to desist from what I have so sincerely at heart, the restoration of peace. I am willing to give up any part of the motion which may seem objectionable to those who only have it in their power to give it effectual support. I am ready to alter, omit, or amend, so that the principle of conciliation, which was my motive for submitting it to your Lordships, be preserved. I am desirous, my Lords, in conformity to what I said on the opening of my motion, that it should be sent to a committee to consider of it, and report their opinion thereon to the House. And I once more conjure your Lordships to reflect, that the honour of Parliament, the prosperity and dearest interests of both countries, the lives of thousands of British subjects, are at stake; that the present is probably the only moment you will ever have to snatch them from the ruin which will otherwise inevitably await them; and that the consequences of neglecting this opportunity will be the source of endless mourning and lamentation to ages yet unborn.

The previous question was then put, "Whether the said question shall be now put?"

It was resolved in the negative. Contents 28; Proxies 3. Non-Contents 71; Proxies 20.

Notes

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* This day will, perhaps, hereafter be considered as one of the most important in the English history. It deeply fixed a new colour upon our publick affairs. It was decisive, on this side of the Atlantick, with respect to America; and may possibly hereafter be compared with, and considered as preliminary to, that on which, unhappily, in a few months after, the independence of that continent was declared on the other. Administration now, and their numerous friends, totally changed their style and language upon that subject. All modifications were laid aside; all former opinions and declarations done away; conciliation, they said, was little less than impracticable; and that if anything could be added to the difficulties of such a scheme, it would be by concession. The tone of the House of Lords was much higher than that of the House of Commons had ever been, although the language was grown much more firm and determined there also than it had been at the beginning of the session. No alternative now seemed to be left between absolute conquest and unconditional submission. — Ann˙ Reg.