By command of their Excellencies


"By command of their Excellencies:


On this extraordinary Declaration , he said, he had some observations to make. There was no man more zealous for preserving the liberty of the press than he was. It was always with grief and indignation he beheld it abused, or employed to improper purposes. It was with reluctance he should complain of the abuse of it in the present instance, if the authenticity of the paper now alluded to were disavowed, which he must continue to think it would; because if such a paper really existed, it might be well expected its first publick appearance would be either in the Gazette or the Journals of the House. If the paper was a forgery, or was spurious, it was a most daring attempt to impose on the publick. Before he proceeded therefore any further, he thought proper to call on the noble Lord in the blue ribbon, [Lord North,] or his noble colleague in office who sat next him, [Lord George Germaine,] to tell the House whether the paper was genuine.

Lord NORTH said, he believed it was; that he heard the contents read, and believed it corresponded pretty faithfully with that which appeared in the publick papers. It was not properly in his department; he therefore referred the noble mover and the House, to the noble Lord who sat next him, and to whose office it was transmitted, for further information.

Lord GEORGE GERMAINE confessed the authenticity of the paper in question; said he had seen it in print the preceding evening, and believed it to be a faithful copy of that issued at New-York by Lord Howe.

Lord JOHN CAVENDISH then congratulated the House on this gleam of peace and conciliation, though he could not but express his astonishment at both the contents of the Declaration, and the extraordinary manner it became first communicated to the publick. He observed, that Parliament had been used all along by Administration with the most mortifying contempt; Commissioners are sent out with an intention of carrying a certain act of Parliament into execution, armed at the same time with certain parliamentary powers for restoring peace; these extend no further than granting pardons and receiving submissions; yet, wonderful to relate, the first account Parliament hear, and that through the channel of a newspaper, is, that those Commissioners are authorized to answer directly for the Sovereign; and obliquely for the two other branches of the Legislature, that he will concur in the revisal of all acts, by which his American subjects are aggrieved. He said, Parliament were rendered cyphers in the whole conduct of the business from its commencement; when their name is wanted, they are called on by Way of requisition, to sanction acts which render them abhorred by their fellow-subjects in every part of the empire; when the least appearance of lenient measures is to be held out, the merit is all to be attributed to the King and his Ministers. It is to originate from them alone. Notwithstanding all this, he felt a dawn of joy break in on his mind. If Ministers were serious, he should not stand upon mere punctilios; yet, he thought, to give the negotiation the greater weight and efficacy, that House should, as the first proof of their disposition to peace, cooperate with Administration, in so desirable a work. It would, besides, restore Ministers to confidence; their professions were disbelieved in America; the motion, therefore, he was about to make, would be the means of removing the almost universal opinion that prevailed in America, that every Ministerial promise was given with some insidious intention of treachery, deceit, imposition, or to divide them, in order the more easily to break their strength, and subdue them. To remove so strong an impediment to peace and conciliation; to show we were in earnest, and wished sincerely for both; his Lordship moved, "that this House will resolve itself into a committee, to consider of the revisal of all acts of Parliament, by which his Majesty' s subjects in America think themselves aggrieved."


Mr˙ BURKE seconded the motion. He begged to know from the noble Lord over the way, [Lord North,] whether the instructions to the Commissioners went the length of the offer of revisal held out in the Declaration; for without intrenching on that part of the prerogative which promises a revision of such of the Royal instructions as may be construed to lay an improper restraint, &c˙, it was in his apprehension pretty evident, that the latter part of the sentence on which the motion was framed, held out a promise of concurrence on the part of the Crown, to revise all acts by which his Majesty' s subjects in America think themselves aggrieved. This he looked upon to be leading Parliament, not following it; he should, however, suspend any decisive opinion on the passage, till the noble Lord had explained it. The text was before us; he wished the noble Lord would rise and give us the comment; for certainly, either the idea held out in the Declaration meant that Great Britain intended to revise and concede, or desired the people of America to lay down their arms, and submit to state their grievances, and we will remedy them, if we think proper.

Lord NORTH said, he should not enter into a critical, literal, or philological interpretation of the passage in the Declaration, which gave rise to the present motion. He would, however, assure the honourable gentleman, that Administration never meant to relax in pursuing the claims of this country, so long as its legislative authority was disputed. He referred the honourable member to the commission under which the Commissioners acted, to their first proclamation, and desired him to compare them with the present, and see if they did not all substantially correspond; whether they did not all tend to the same point, to the restoration of peace to America. This Declaration invited the people of America to that restoration; and as a motive of encouragement, as well as with a view of establishing a lasting union, to be rendered permanent and cemented by mutual advantage, a revisal of all acts, by which his Majesty' s subjects in that country think themselves aggrieved, was held out. His Majesty has promised to concur in those acts or Royal instructions that depend immediately on himself; he is more explicit: he has engaged that they shall be revised, and tells his Colonies that he has already directed his Commissioners to that effect. As to the motion made by the noble Lord, he must be obliged to dissent from it for several reasons. Before, however, he proceeded to state those reasons, he would take the liberty to set his Lordship right, as he supposed the errour he meant to allude to, led him to make the motion, and support it throughout, in his opinion, on very wrong grounds. The noble Lord' s mistake was this: that the promise contained in the Declaration was the first of the kind. Nothing could be more erroneous. It was the great principle that pervaded the conduct of Administration from the beginning. It was the language of Parliament at the very outset. In the address of both Houses early in February, 1775, the conduct since so faithfully pursued, was strongly pressed and warmly recommended. One great object, nay, the leading one, was to hear grievances, to transmit an account of them home, and to engage, on the part of the Legislature, that redress would be granted, wherever a just cause for redress existed. That this was the first opportunity the Commissioners had to discharge that part of their duty, with any prospect of success; and why any communication of a plan already sanctioned by Parliament, or, more properly speaking, originating from it, should be insisted on till some of the Fruits of the measure thus recommended, became necessary, was more, he confessed, than he could possibly perceive. His reasons for giving a negative to the motion, on this state of the whole question, would, he presumed, be obvious to every member present. The Americans have declared themselves independent; why enter into deliberation about what you are willing to concede, till we know first that they acknowledge our authority; and after they have returned to us, as subjects, till we know what would reasonably content them? How is it possible to treat, while they avow their sovereignty and independency? much less to form legislative regulations for those who, both as subjects and independent States, have all along disputed our power and right of legislation. Let them acknowledge the right once; let them fairly point out the constitutional abuse of it, and the grievances flowing from that abuse, and I shall be ready to go into the proposed committee; or to adopt the most efficacious and speedy


measures, not only to remedy real grievances, but even to bend to their prejudices in some instances. In such a case they would be heard with complaisance, and treated with candour; but for petitions to be repeatedly presented to this House, denying expressly the legislative authority of Great Britain, was to the last degree nugatory and absurd, and must continue to be ever rejected or unanswered; for though the purport of the generality of those petitions, substantially, at least, by implication, recognize the authority of Parliament, their contents taken in another light, composed partly of flat denials of the superiority of this country, of assumed facts, and a species of argumentative reasoning, controverting the very power which they are at the instant appealing to, will render such appeals ridiculous and inadmissible, till they accompany them with a clear, explicit, unequivocal acknowledgment of the right. His Lordship added, besides, that the present motion, if agreed to, instead of producing any good consequence, might produce the very worst. The affair was at present in the hands of his Majesty' s Ministers, by the express advice of Parliament. The motion might retard it, not that he entertained any great hopes of its success. Still Parliament had advised it; his Majesty was willing to cooperate in effecting the same purpose, upon every parliamentary, rational and consistent rule of conduct. On the whole, therefore, he could not possibly discover what service the agreeing with the motion could answer, but he saw many inconveniences, and much possible mischief it might be productive of.

Mr˙ FOX observed, that howsoever absurd and inconsistent Administration had showed themselves in other respects, in their measures relative to America, and their professed contempt for Parliament, they had been perfectly uniform and consistent. They had all along manifested the most contemptuous treatment of that House. He was always with the majority of the House in one point, though not upon other occasions, in supporting its dignity, privileges, and consequence with the people; which, in every measure relative to America, in particular, had been most shamefully violated; every information was denied, or purposely held back. The operations of war, it is true, were communicated with all possible ostentation and parade; but the only proper objects of parliamentary attention were totally neglected, and left to be collected from chance, vague reports, or a newspaper, while the negotiations for peace, in which Parliament and the nation were much more deeply interested, as the welfare of this country more immediately depended upon them, were kept in a state of concealment, as if Ministers were ashamed to own, as well they might, that after all the blood and treasure which had been spent in the unhappy contest, they are obliged in the end to offer those very conditions which they had some years since rejected, with every mark of displeasure and disapprobation. The account from New-York, he observed, was received late on Saturday night; an extraordinary Gazette, announcing the retreat of the Provincials from that city, was published early on Monday morning; another Gazette followed it the succeeding evening; and yet a syllable of the Declaration never transpired. He first heard it at the opera the preceding evening, and read it that morning in a newspaper; still doubting its being genuine, till he heard it authenticated by the two noble Lords on the opposite bench. He begged to be understood, that he did not make a charge of intentional concealment; but he contended that Ministers were no less culpable than if they concealed it from design; particularly when the omission included m it the most manifest and mortifying inattention to Parliament, whose sentiments the penner of the above Declaration had virtually, and, he would add audaciously, engaged for, there being but little or no essential difference, according to the present well known pliable disposition of that House, between a royal promise to concur inthe revrsal of certain acts of the British Legislature, and an actual solemn engagement of the whole Legislature, for its due and faithful performance. In America, he said, all was peace, conciliation, and parental tenderness; in England, nothing but subjugation, unconditional submission, and a war f conquest. With that view Administration procured a pamphlet to be written and sent to America, where thousands of them were distributed gratis; while in England the title was not so much as known, till


after the publication on the other side the Atlantick. Publications of a very different tendency are encouraged here. America is to be subdued; taxes are to be obtained; charters are to be modified or annihilated at pleasure. These doctrines secure a party, and the bulk of the people on this side of the water, while the most moderate measures and fascinating promises are held out on the other, in order to insidiously trepan and deceive. He returned to what he called the shameful inattention and neglect which Ministers had shown in their conduct towards Parliament; and as Government had taken so much pains to conceal the proclamation alluded to, he had strong reasons to suspect, that other matters of a similar nature were suppressed, and never permitted to see the light. If there have been any such, why have not Parliament been made acquainted with them? Is it not reasonable that this House should know them? He then addressed and asked the Treasury-bench, if every supply they demanded had not been granted? Why, then, in this, as well as every other instance, keep back information, or, which was the same thing, neglect to give it to Parliament, which had acted so openly, and put such confidence in Ministers? What was the return? Either a downright, designed imposition, or the most gross nonsense. What do the Commissioners promise in the King' s name? That "being most graciously pleased to concur in the revisal of all acts," &c. Does his Majesty, at any time, or upon any occasion, concur in the revisal of any acts of any kind? He may concur in the repeal of an actor in any amendment made in an act which comes in the shape of a bill, waiting for the royal assent; but as for promising to concur in the revisal of a law, which implies examination and amendment, in stages in which he can possibly take no part, it is rank ignorance or gross deceit. Besides, though Ministers were serious, the promise could not be fulfilled, without supposing that the opinion of Parliament was just what Ministers pleased to dictate; for what signifies what his Majesty' s good dispositions may be, since Parliament, it is well known, thinks differently? If, therefore, revision or revisal, he said, meant any thing, he said, it meant a repeal, which it was impossible to expect from the present Parliament, as they had so frequently refused any motion, overture, or proposition, tending even that way. He finished with observing, that the Commissioners, especially Lord Howe, were known to be friends to conciliation; and for that reason were not sent out till so late in the season that Government knew the Americans must have declared for independency before they arrived. He declared it, as his firm opinion, that there could be no peace in America without a complete relinquishing on our part of the claim of taxation; that the Congress might well call the propositions of the Court of Great Britain insidious, if the House of Commons refused to support the Declaration of the Commissioners, That the expressions in the Declaration were complained of as not being clear; but that whenever an expression was represented as not clear, the act accompanying it must be taken as its commentary. If, then, the Declaration in question is not clear, how must America understand it, when by the vote of this House, this day, should the noble Lord' s motion be negatived, they shall plainly perceive, that the Commons of Great Britain had peremptorily refused to concur in rendering his Majesty' s gracious dispositions effective?

Mr˙ Solicitor General WEDDERBURNE. The reasons which have been given, Mr˙ Speaker, for agreeing to the present motion, are, I must confess, such as by no means convince me. I have not a doubt but the noble Lord who made it, wishes for nothing so much as to accelerate the means of peace; and my reason for opposing it is, that I think it would effectually mar the whole design. It is at present in the hands of the Commissioners, regularly in the common and natural course of business; but to comply with this motion would be at once to take it out of their hands, and to raise jealousies in the Americans, at the designs or powers of those Commissioners. Such a conduct here might be productive or the worst consequences. It might, in the first instance, be deemed an act of submission on our part, not of favour in condescension to those who look upon themselves as a sovereign State, and actually deny our authority. It would discredit the Commissioners, and throw difficulties in the way of the negotiation, now probably begun; because, by giving them the present proposed sanction it would point out that they were not before


armed with parliamentary powers, adequate to the professed objects of their commission. On the other hand, it may be productive of evil, as it compels us to give the proposition a negative, which is far from being the disposition of the House, when America shall acknowledge the supreme legislative right of this country, and by such acknowledgment, lay a just constitutional claim to our favour and protection. Let it be considered what is the present situation of the Colonies. They are in a state of declared independency. Would you admit that independency, or treat with them as independent States? Or could you, consistently with common sense and prudence, revise acts by way of obliging those whose principal object at present is not such revision, but to render themselves free from all connection with you as their superiours? It has been observed, that the King has answered too much for the Legislature of this kingdom in the expressions of the proclamation in question. It appears to me very different, sir. His Majesty there speaks only as the head and mouth of the nation, and the Legislature, by assuring them that the legislative power is ready and willing to hear their grievances, and revise any of their acts which may prove grievances. To think the words of the proclamation mean any thing else, is to torture them strangely. Relative to these grievances, what are they which we can enter into a revision of? The principal that have been mentioned to-day, are, taxation and their charters. And would you enter upon the question of taxation by way of a means of reconciliation? Impossible! There is at present but one point which must be settled as a preliminary; it is that of independency. If they adhere, as I have no doubt they will, to that, there can be no discussion of other points; it is in vain to think of it. And as to their charters, they are not at all the questions at present, for restore their charter of King William, will they be satisfied? No. They are as unwilling to submit to the terms of those charters, as to the Boston acts: they openly declare this. Hence, therefore, I may fairly and reasonably assert, that till the spirit of independency is subdued, it is idle to come to any resolutions or revisions, as means of conciliation. Take the sword out of the hand of the governing part of America, and I have not a doubt but a very considerable part of that country will return to its obedience with as much rapidity as it revolted. Is it possible, that gentlemen can give their attention so much, to one side of the question, and read one side only, so as to imagine the Americans are so free under their present Government as to have any reason to wish for a continuance of it? The very contrary is the fact; the Congress does not govern America — it tyrannizes over it; the power and punishment of imprisonment as practised there, are tyrannical to the highest degree, and utterly inconsistent with every idea of freedom. The liberty of the press is annihilated; a printer that dared to print any thing contrary to their system and interests, would be instantly ruined; nor is even the freedom of private letters, or private conversation, permitted; destruction hangs over the man who ventures to write, or express a sentiment in opposition to their opinions. This horrid tyranny is what we may rationally hope to be so far dissolved, from the difference of the troops on both sides, as to enable the oppressed tyrannized Americans, safely to avow their real opinions, and to return without danger to their duty. As to a point which the honourable gentleman much insists on, — the design in Administration of keeping the proclamation secret, — it appears strange to me that any person should think of such a thing, unless from the mode of reasoning which he is so ready to adopt, that having so much folly in it, it is the more likely to be the work of this Ministry. Folly indeed to make that a secret, which was posted upon the walls of New-York; and this I think is reason en ough why it was not inserted in the Gazette — there was no call for it. I should ask the House pardon, for having troubled them so long upon matters which appear to me of little consequence; but before I sit down, I should remark, that it appears a very sudden and unexpected way of bringing in a debate, after it was so generally understood that no business of any consequence was to come on in the House before the recess; but as I was not at the opera last night, where this manoeuvre was planned, I must be excused if I have not treated it in all its parts in the manner some might expect.

Mr˙ BURKE. Rejoiced I am, sir, that the learned gentleman has regained, if not his talent, at least his voice;


that as he would not, or could not reply the other night, to my honourable friend, charmed as he must have been with the powerful reasoning of that eloquent speech, he had the grace to be silent. On that memorable occasion he lay like Milton' s devil, prostrate on the oblivious pool, confounded and astounded, though called upon by the whole Satanick host: he lay prostrate, dumb-founded, and unable to utter a single syllable, and suffered the goads of the two noble Lords to prick him till he scarcely betrayed a single sign of animal or mental sensibility. Why, sir, would he not be silent now, instead of attempting to answer, what in truth was unanswerable? But the learned gentleman has now called to his assistance the bayonets of twelve thousand Hessians; and as he thinks it absurd to reason at present with the Americans, he tells us, that by the healing, soothing, merciful measures of foreign swords, at the breasts of those unhappy people, their understandings would be enlightened, and they would be enabled to comprehend the subtleties of his logick. It was well said, on another occasion, that your speech demands an army! — and I may say, that the learned gentleman demands blood; reasoning he says is vain: the sword must convince America, and clear up their clouded apprehensions. The learned gentleman' s abilities surely desert him, if he is obliged to call such a coarse argument as an army to his assistance; not that I mean any thing reflecting on his parts — I always esteem, and sometimes dread, his talents. But has he told you why Commissioners were not sent sooner to America? Has he explained that essential point? Not a jot. Why, after the act passed for them, why were they delayed full seven months, and not permitted to sail till May; and why was the commission appointing them delayed till the 6th of that month? Answer this. The blood and devastation that followed, was owing to this delay; upon your conscience it ought to lay a heavy load. If the measure was right and necessary in order for conciliation, as the King declared in his speech at the opening of that session, why was it not executed at a time, in which it could be effectual; instead of being purposely deferred to one, when it could not possibly answer any end but that of adding hypocrisy to treachery, and insult and mockery to cruelty and oppression? By this delay you drove them into the declaration of independency; not as a matter of choice, but necessity: and now they have declared it, you bring it as an argument to prove, that there can be no other reasoning used with them, but the sword. What is this but declaring, that you were originally determined not to prevent, but to punish rebellion; not to use conciliation, but an army; not to convince, but to destroy? Such were the effects of those seven months cruelly lost, to which every mischief that has happened since, must be attributed.

But still the learned gentleman persists, that nothing but the Commissioners can give peace to America; — it is beyond the power of this House. What was the result of the conference with the delegates from the Congress? Why, we are told, that they met in order to be convinced that taxation is no grievance — "no tyranny" used to be the phrase, but that is out of fashion now. Then, sir, what an insult to all America was it to send as Commissioners none but the commanders of the fleet and army to negotiate peace! Did it not show how much you were determined, that the only arguments you meant to use, were your broadswords and broadsides? Let me assert, sir, that the doctrines to be laid down in America would not have been too trivial an occasion, even for the reasoning abilities of the learned-gentleman himself. But, sir, you may think to carry these doctrines into execution, and be mistaken too; — the battle is not yet fought; but if it was fought, and the wreath of victory adorned your brow, still is not that continent conquered; witness the behaviour of one miserable woman, who with her single arm did that which an army of a hundred thousand men could not do — arrested your progress in the moment of your success. This miserable being was found in a cellar, with her visage besmeared and smutted over, with every mark of rage, despair, resolution, and the most exalted heroism, buried in corabusiibles, in order to fire New-York, and perish in its ashes. She was brought forth, and knowing that she would be condemned to die, upon being asked her purpose, said, "to fire the city!" and was determined to omit no opportunity of doing what her country called for. Her train was laid and fired; and it is


worthy of your attention, how Providence was pleased to make use of those humble means to serve the American cause, when open force was used in vain. In order to bring tilings to this unhappy situation, did not you pave the way, by a succession of acts of tyranny? For this, you shut up their ports; cut off their fishery; annihilated their charters; and governed them by an army. Sir, the recollection of these things, being the evident causes of what we have seen, is more than what ought to be endured. This it is that has burnt the noble city of New-York; that has planted the bayonet in the bosoms of my principals; in the bosom of the city; where alone your wretched Government once boasted the only friends she could number in America. If this was not the only succession of events you determined, and therefore looked for, why was America left without any power in it, to give security to the persons and property of those who were and wished to be loyal? This was essential to Government; you did not, and might therefore be well said to have abdicated the Government.

I have been reading a work given us by a country that is perpetually employed in productions of merit. I believe it is not published yet — the History of Philip II; and I there find, that that tyrannical monarch never dreamt of the tyranny exerted by this Administration. Gods! sir, shall we be told, that you cannot analyze grievances? that you can have no communication with Rebels, because they have declared for independency? Shall you be told this, when the tyrant Philip did it after the same circumstance in the Netherlands? By edict he allowed their ships to enter their ports, and suffered them to depart in peace; he treated with them; made them propositions; and positively declared that he would redress all their grievances. And James II, when he was sailing from France, at the head of a formidable force, assisted like you by foreign troops, and having a great party in the kingdom, still offered pacifick terms; while his exceptions of pardon were few, amongst the rest my honourable friend' s ancestor, Sir Stephen Fox. But you will offer none; you simply tell them to lay down their arms, and then you will do just as you please. Could the rnost cruel conqueror say less? Had you conquered the devil himself in hell, could you be less liberal? No! Sir, you would offer no terms; you meant to drive them to the declaration of independency: and even after it was issued, ought by your offers to have reversed the effect. You would not receive the remonstrance which I brought you from New-York, because it denied your rights to certain powers; yet the late King of France received the remonstrances from his Parliaments, that expressly denied his right to the powers he was in the constant exercise of; answered them, and even redressed some of the grievances which those very remonstrances complained of, though he refused to grant what he thought more peculiarly intrenched upon his own authority.

In this situation, sir, shocking to say, are we called upon by another proclamation to go to the altar of the Almighty, with war and vengeance in our hearts, instead of the peace of our blessed Saviour. He said, "My peace I give you;" but we are, on this fast, to have war only in our hearts and mouths; war against our brethren. Till our churches are purified from this abominable service, I shall consider them, not as the temples of the Almighty, but the synagogues of Satan. An act not more infamous, respecting its political purposes, than blasphemous and profane as a pretended act of national devotion, when the people are called upon, in the most solemn and awful manner, to repair to church, to partake of a sacrament, and at the foot of the altar, to commit sacrilege, to perjure themselves publickly by charging their American brethren with the horrid crime of rebellion, with propagating "specious falsehoods," when either the charge must be notoriously false, or those who make it, not knowing it to be true, call Almighty God to witness — to not a specious, but a most audacious and blasphemous falsehood.

Mr˙ ROUS entered into an abstract discoure on the nature of civil government, and applied his reasoning on the subject to the grounds of the present dispute subsisting between Great Britain and her Colonies. From thence he proceeded to state the various difficulties which presented themselves on either hand on the subject of taxation; whether the right was suspended or concealed on our part, or acknowledged or exercised on the other, it would be liable to strong objections.


However, there was one point, as a grand preliminary, which must be the basis of every conciliatory step on either side; that was a clear unequivocal acknowledgment of the legislative supremacy of the British Parliament. If that was not to be obtained but by the force of arms, he confessed that he was most eagerly desirous that arms should be resorted to; that probably the advantages we had lately obtained at Long-Island, and in the neighbourhood of New-York, might give us an opportunity of establishing a civil government in that Province, the example and influence of which, when accompanied with a promise of a redress of real grievances, might be productive of the most happy and salutary consequences. After making a great many observations, he concluded thus: That he would be better pleased to see Britain dying of the wounds she might receive in this unnatural conflict given by her rebellious ungrateful children, than consent to one condescending step that might tend to tarnish her former glories.

Mr˙ BYNG observed, that Administration had all along acted upon system; and however mistaken they might be as to some of tho effects of their measures, they never lost sight of the great object they had in contemplation from the beginning: that was, to compel America to consent to unconditional submission; which was, in other words, to consent to be slaves; or, in the event of their refusal and consequent resistance, to endeavour to subdue or extirpate them. This he contended was the great pervading principle which governed the American system, and such was the intention of those to whom carrying it into execution was committed. The opposition given to the motion made by the noble Lord near him [Lord J˙ Cavendish] was of a piece with the whole of the Ministerial conduct, since the commencement of this business. Ministers in private, and their runners in publick, were constantly known to load the officers entrusted with the superiour commands with reproaches, or to flatly charge them with disobedience of orders, and with the commission of acts to which they were not authorized. Such, he presumed, was the true purport of what was now urged against the motion. The Declaration imports one thing, the obvious contents another; however, if a different interpretation should be put on it by the American' s, we still have two ways to get rid of it, and still keep up a semblance of good faith; for we retain the right of explaining our own meaning, or of disowning the Declaration, as exceeding the powers granted by the commission, and if more closely pressed, of exceeding the powers granted by Parliament; so that whatever the Declaration promises,can be of no avail, but to mislead America by false lights. Our aim is unconditional submission; every concession beyond that, we can explain away and disavow. He finally observed, that this underhand conduct on the part of Administration answered more purposes than one; it answered in a military, as well as a civick capacity, to screen and varnish over, as well as to mislead and betray. Thus they had the address and effrontery to shift the censure they would have so deservedly incurred off their own shoulders. This he instanced in the persons of Carleton, Howe, Clinton, and several others, who were represented by their runners about town, and even by some of the principals, as mad, ignorant, rash, or inactive, according as it suited the present moment. He should not have particularly adverted to those circumstances, he said, if it had not called to his recollection the fate of a near relation, who fell a sacrifice to the same treacherous motives of self acquittal.

Lord GEORGE GERMAINE next spoke, and said, he arose to clear up some matters of fact. That the noble Lord who made the motion, had supposed that he received the proclamation with the despatch from General and Lord Howe; that on the contrary, the proclamation was left at Falmouth with other matters, and coming up to town in the ordinary way, did not reach his hands till Monday morning, when the extraordinary Gazette was already published. That he forbore to insert it in Tuesday' s Gazette, because he really did not think it of importance enough; that it was not concealed, many copies having been pasted against the walls of New-York, and many sent all over America. That, as it was only part of a treaty, he thought it improper to publish it, and conceived it was altogether unusual, as he remembered the conversations between Lord Chatham [when Mr˙ Pitt] and M˙ de Bussy, previous to the finishing the treaty of peace with France, were never published. With regard


to the great American question, he said, it was endless to argue upon it. Every gentleman present, he doubted not, had formed his opinion, and that the House might debate to eternity without altering the different ideas of different men. That he, from his opinion, called the Americans Rebels, and approved of the measures pursued against them by Government; that be was averse to the present motion, as it would deprive General and Lord Howe of the honour of making peace with America, an honour which he flattered himself the gentlemen on the opposite side of the House wished them to have. As to the proclamation for a fast, he had before this day only heard it read once in Council, and therefore from what the honourable gentleman had said, he had been induced to imagine, that the Archbishop who drew it up might have made some mistake; but that he had now read it, and thought it a very good and a very proper proclamation, His Lordship then read it at the table, and having finished, declared the words, "specious falsehoods," were properly introduced. He bid the gentlemen recollect the American Declaration for Independency, and then ask, if the Rebels had not published "specious falsehoods?" He bid them read their several other publications, and he doubted not they would all agree with him, that the assertion was most true; but be could easily account for his not seeing the matter in the same light as the honourable gentleman opposite him: he was neither so accomplished an orator, nor so excellent a divine.

Mr˙ DUNNING opened with observing, that he was not at the opera (alluding to Mr˙ Solicitor-General) on Tuesday evening; and as he did not imagine any newspaper contained any matter likely to entertain him, he had not read one that day; that he came down to Westminster-Hall in the way of his profession, and had come from thence into that House, without any previous knowledge of the debate; but as the proclamation read from the newspaper, produced by the noble Lord, his friend, had been declared to be authentick by the noble Lord in the blue ribbon, and the other noble Lord who sat next him, [Lords North and Germaine,] it was evident that newspaper information was to be trusted as much as that given in any other manner. He declared his amazement, that the motion which had been made should be deemed sudden and ill-timed; he said he knew of no time more proper for appointing a committee for the revision of such acts as were deemed grievances by the Americans than the present. That the question was not now, what should be altered, and what should remain in force; that those were considerations to be agitated when they came into a Committee; that it was high time the Legislature of Great Britain gave America reason to suppose they would not always turn a deaf ear to her complaints; that it appeared by the proclamation of Lord Howe that he had promised in the King' s name, that such acts as they thought grievances should be revised; that the promise went to an assertion, that Parliament, as a branch of the Legislature, would enable the King to keep his word; that therefore it was high time Parliament convinced America how ready they were to second the King' s endeavours to restore peace, by beginning the good work with a revisal of the acts which oppressed America, and a removal of those obstacles to a reconciliation. He said, the remarks of a learned gentleman (who had taken the other side of the question) relative to the futility of the House' s taking into their consideration what they thought the grievances of America, because it might afterwards appear they were not considered by the Americans as grievances, was notoriously ill-founded. That the gentleman did himself and the House much wrong, if because Parliament had collectively been blind to the several publications of America, he supposed that the members as individuals had been equally blind, and neglected to peep into the petitions which had been presented. That all the members had made themselves masters of the subject, and that the House knew the grievances America had to complain of, was well aware what she felt as grievances, and might with great certainty proceed to redress them. He said, the learned gentleman had given some new ideas of liberty; he had declared that America must be subdued, America must be conquered in order to her deliverance. This sort of deliverance was to him a new consequence of conquest. From all that he had read or heard, he never knew that a conquered people were a free people; and he believed the House would join with him in supposing,


that from time immemorial, the very reverse of freedom had been the fate of the conquered. As to the observation, that Lord Howe' s first proclamation was necessary to inform the publick that Lord Howe was arrived in America, he said, it might also have been proper to have published the present proclamation to show that he was still there. The noble Lord [Lord George Germaine] he said, had accommodated himself to all parties, in his reasons for not publishing the Declaration in the Gazette. To those who thought it ought to have been made publick, he had declared, any man might read it in the newspapers; and to those who wished and thought it ought to be kept private, he had said, none could read it but those who chose to take a voyage to New-York, where they would find it pasted on the walls of the half-burnt houses; and that he had not printed it in the Gazette, because Lord Chatham' s private negotiations with M˙ de Bussy were not printed there. He should give his vote for the motion, (although, he said, he knew it would not be carried,) and ended with declaring, in reply to Lord George Germaine' s observation about the fast proclamation, that he thought a church an improper place to promulgate a Court creed in, and that so to act was to profane the place of worship.

The House divided.


Mr˙ Fox, 47
Mr˙ Byng, 47

Earl Lisburne, 109
Mr˙ Charles Townshend, 109

So it passed in the negative.

Adjourned to November 8.



*The Rights of Great Britain asserted against the Claims of America: being an Answer to the Declaration of the General Congress.