House of Commons. Debate in the Commons on the Address of Thanks




Thursday, October 31, 1776.

The Commons being returned to their House, Mr˙ NEVILLE moved the following Address of Thanks:

"Most Gracious Sovereign:

"We, your Majesty' s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, beg leave to return your Majesty the humble thanks of this House, for your most gracious speech from the throne.

"While we lament the continuance of the troubles which have so long distracted your Majesty' s Colonies in North-America, and of the calamities and oppressions which our unhappy fellow-subjects are still suffering under the arbitrary tyranny of their leaders; we cannot forbear to express our detestation and abhorrence of the audacious and desperate spirit of ambition, which has at last carried those leaders so far, as to make them openly renounce all allegiance to the Crown, and all political connection with this country, and in direct terms to presume to set up their rebellious Confederacies for independent States.

"We consider their rejection of the gracious and condescending means of reconciliation, held out to them, under the authority of your Majesty' s commission, as a fresh and convincing proof that the object of these men has always been power and dominion: but we can impute the circumstances of indignity and insult, accompanying this proceeding to no other motive, than a resentment of your Majesty' s firm and constant adherence to the maintenance of the constitutional rights of Parliament, divested of every possible view of any separate interests of the Crown; and we beg leave to assure your Majesty that the same attachment of your Majesty to the parliamentary authority of Great Britain, which hath provoked the insolence of the chiefs of this rebellion, cannot but operate, as it ought to do, in fixing your Majesty still deeper, if possible, in the affections of a British House of Commons.

"With reverence and gratitude to Divine Providence, permit us to express our unfeigned joy, and to offer our sincere congratulations to your Majesty, on the success which has attended the good conduct and valour of your Majesty' s officers and forces both by sea and land, and the zeal and bravery of the auxiliary troops in your service, in the recovery of Canada, and in the important operations in the Province of New-York, which give the strongest hopes of the most decisive good consequences.

"It is with much satisfaction we learn, that your Majesty continues to receive assurances of amity from the several courts of Europe; and we thankfully acknowledge your Majesty' s goodness and paternal concern for the happiness of your people, in your constant attention to preserve the general tranquillity; and it is our most earnest wish that, by your Majesty' s interposition, all misunderstandings and differences between two neighbouring Powers may be happily reconciled, and Europe still enjoy the blessings of peace.

"Your faithful Commons consider it as a duty which they owe to your Majesty, and to those they represent, to grant your Majesty such supplies as the weighty considerations, which your Majesty has been pleased to state to us, shall be found to require; and we have a well-grounded confidence, that, at this time, when the object of the Rebels is openly avowed and clearly understood, the general conviction of the justice and necessity of your Majesty' s measures must unite all ranks of your faithful subjects in supporting your Majesty with one mind and heart in the great national cause in which you are engaged."

Mr˙ HUTTON seconded the motion.


Lord JOHN CAVENDISH disapproved of the proposed address, and moved an amendment, by leaving out all after the first paragraph, in order to insert these words:

"Animated with the most earnest and sincere zeal for his true interest, and the real glory of his reign, we behold with inexpressible concern, the minds of a very large and lately loyal and affectionate part of his people, entirely alienated from his Government; nor can we conceive that such an event, as the disaffection and revolt of a whole people, could have taken place without some considerable errour in the conduct observed towards them; these erroneous measures, we conceive, are to be imputed to a want of sufficient information being laid before Parliament, and to too large a degree of confidence being reposed in those Ministers, who, from their duty were obliged, and from their official situation were best enabled, to know the temper and disposition of his Majesty' s American subjects, and were therefore presumed most capable of pointing out such measures as might produce the most salutary effects; hence the schemes which were formed for the reduction and chastisement of a supposed inconsiderable party of factious men, have driven thirteen large Provinces to despair: every act which has been proposed as a means of procuring peace and submission, has become a new cause of war and revolt; and we now find ourselves almost inextricably involved in a bloody and expensive civil war, which, besides exhausting at present the strength of all his Majesty' s dominions, exposing our allies to the designs of their and our enemies, and leaving this kingdom in a most perilous situation, threatens in its issue the most deplorable calamities to the whole British race.

"We cannot avoid lamenting, that, in consequence of the credit given to the representations of Ministers, no hearing has been given to the reiterated complaints and petitions of the Colonies, neither has any ground been laid for removing the original cause of these unhappy differences, which took their rise from questions relative to parliamentary proceedings, and can be settled only by parliamentary authority; by this fatal omission, the Commissioners nominated for the apparent purpose of making peace, were furnished with no legal powers, but that of giving or withholding pardons at their pleasure, and for relaxing the severities of a single act of Parliament, leaving the whole foundation of this unhappy controversy just as it stood in the beginning.

"To represent to his Majesty, that, in addition to this neglect, when in the beginning of the last session his Majesty, in his gracious speech to both Houses of Parliament, declared his resolution of sending out Commissioners for the purposes therein expressed "as speedily as possible," no such Commissioners were sent until near seven months afterwards, and until the nation was alarmed by the evacuation of the only town then held for his Majesty in the thirteen United Colonies: by this delay acts of the most critical nature, the effect of which must as much depend on the power of immediately relaxing them on submission, as in enforcing them upon disobedience, had only an operation to inflame and exasperate.

"But if any Colony, town, or place, had been induced to submit by the operation of the terrours of these acts, there were none on the place of power to restore the people so submitting to the common rights of subjection. The inhabitants of the Colonies, apprised that they were put out of the protection of Government, and seeing no means provided for their entering into it, were furnished with reasons but too colourable for breaking off their dependency on the Crown of this kingdom. To assure his Majesty, that removing our confidence from those who in so many instances have grossly abused it, we shall endeavour to restore to Parliament the confidence of all his people; to this end it may be advisable to make a more minute inquiry into the grievances of the Colonies, as well as into the conduct of Ministers with regard to them. We may think it proper particularly to inquire how it has happened, that the commerce of this kingdom has been left exposed to the reprisals of the Colonies at the very time when their seamen and fishermen, being indiscriminately prohibited from the peaceable exercise of their occupation, and declared open enemies, must be expected with a certain assurance to betake themselves to plunder, and to wreak their revenge on the commerce of Great Britain.

"That we understand, that amidst the many disasters


and disgraces which have attended on his Majesty' s arms in many parts of America, advantage has been gained by his Majesty' s British and foreign mercenary forces in the Province of New-York; that if a wise, moderate, and provident use be made of this advantage, it is not improbable that happy effects may result from that use; and we assure his Majesty, that nothing shall be wanting on our part to enable his Majesty to take full advantage of any dispositions to reconciliation, which may be the consequence of the miseries of war, by laying down, on our part, real permanent grounds of connection between Great Britain and the Colonies, on principles of liberty, and terms of mutual advantage.

"That whilst we lament this effusion of English blood, (which we hope has not been greater or other than necessity required and honour justified.) we should most heartily congratulate his Majesty on any event leading to the great desirable end of settling a peace which might promise to last, by the restoration of the ancient affection which has happily subsisted in former times between this kingdom and its Colonies; any other would necessarily require, even in case of a total conquest, an army to maintain, ruinous to the finances, and incompatible with the freedom of his Majesty' s people; we should look with the utmost shame and horrour on any events of what nature soever that should tend to break the spirit of any large part of the British nation, to bow them to an abject unconditional submission to any power whatsoever, to annihilate their liberties, and to subdue them to servile principles and passive habits, by the mere force of foreign mercenary arms; because, amidst the excesses and abuses which have happened, we must respect the spirit and principles operating in these commotions, our wish is to regulate, not to destroy them; for though differing in some circumstances, those very principles evidently bear so exact an analogy with those which support the most valuable part of our own constitution, that it is impossible, with any appearance of justice, to think of wholly extirpating them by the sword in any part of his Majesty' s dominions, without admitting consequences, and establishing precedents, the most dangerous to the liberties of this kingdom."

The Marquis of Granby seconded the motion.

Governour JOHNSTONE in very severe terms arraigned the conduct of Administration, in commencing the war with America. He said the affair of Long-Island was by no means a matter worthy of triumph. That island, he said, was a mere out-post to New-York, as New-York was an out-post to America, and it would have been folly and rashness in the extreme, had the Provincials attempted to maintain it. He paid General Howe and his brother very great compliments on their manoeuvres in the capture of the island, and inferred that from the whole of General Howe' s conduct in taking it, his caution in not forcing any of the Provincials' strong-holds, his opening trenches at six hundred yards distance from their redoubts, with his general orders to his officers to act with all possible circumspection, that most evidently the General thought highly of the Provincials, and had therefore treated them with the suitable respect due to so powerful and formidable an enemy. He complained of the defenceless state of the kingdom, and urged the danger of a war with France and Spain. The Minister' s speech he declared to be an entire cpmpound of hypocrisy. It made his Majesty talk of peace, at the very moment when not only all Europe, but this kingdom, gave the most evident appearances of preparation for war. In short, it was like a deceptious mirrour, reflecting a false image of truth. That part of it which talked of giving the Americans law and liberty, he conceived to be a mere turn of wit and humour, which would not bear a serious interpretation. It was an insidious, hypocritical speech, that held out law and liberty at the point of the sword. He spoke strongly of the falsehood of France, and the little reliance that was to be put on her professions, instancing a circumstance which happened while Cardinal Mazarine was Minister, when the Portuguese and Spaniards were at war together, and the latter had received repeated assurances of the pacifick intentions of France, although that kingdom had actually lent Portugal troops, clothed them, paid them, and officered them. He said he did not entirely approve of the American Declaration of Independence, but affirmed that the Americans were driven to that measure by our rigorous persecution of them. We


had hired foreign troops to fight against them, and they had no other way of putting themselves on a footing with us, than by throwing off the yoke, declaring themselves independent, and inviting foreign aid to defend them. They had, he said, taken every possible means to avoid such a measure; they had sent a most humble petition to Government, praying relief, and couched their prayer in the strongest terms of duty and allegiance; Government had, with the most provoking harshness, rejected their petition, refusing to give any answer to it, or offering in any manner to hear them. The mode of their declaring for independency was, to be sure, in some measure indefensible. The declaration of the New-England Government was exceedingly rude and ill-written; the language was more unmannerly and abusive than even worse treatment than what they had received would have justified; but then it must be considered as written merely to captivate the common people, and therefore a polished style, and very scrupulous decency, were probably but trifling objects with the writer. He however as much condemned it, as he applauded that of the Pennsylvanians. He censured the late issuing of press-warrants, and declared that he was not only convinced a better mode of manning the Navy might be found out, but that he was well informed the late press was carried on with great irregularity and cruelty.

Mr˙ Wombwell said, no press was better conducted than the present. He approved of the motion for an address as exceedingly proper, and disapproved of the amendment. He censured the Americans as a bragging, cowardly banditti, &c.

Mr˙ Wilkes. The honourable gentleman who spoke last endeavours to mislead the House. It is certain that no pressing has at this time been carried on in the city of London, or its Liberties. No press-gangs have dared to make their appearance in that jurisdiction. Those lawless bands of cruel banditti very prudently chose other scenes of horrour and bloodshed of less danger to themselves. The city has hitherto remained in perfect safety and tranquillity, in a most happy state of security by the vigilance, intrepidity, and noble love of liberty, which are conspicuous in its present worthy Chief Magistrate. The conduct of Administration, sir, in the late issuing of press-warrants, before they had tried the operation of the high bounty, is totally unjustifiable. The speech now in your hand, sir, is so very pacifick, that the large bounty of five pounds for every able, and fifty shillings for every ordinary seaman, promised in last Saturday' s Gazette, might safely, for a short time at least, have been trusted to, the emergency not being thought very critical. From the Minister' s own state of publick affairs there was no danger in the experiment. Much cruelty and bloodshed had been avoided, many valuable lives preserved.

The affair of Long-Island has been misrepresented, and greatly magnified. The superiority of numbers was very considerable. General Howe landed twenty-two thousand men. The Provincials had only six thousand effective men on that island. They were ordered to retreat, and four thousand did accordingly, without being attacked, embark for the island of New-York. There was a real mistake of orders as to the other two thousand, but they acted as brave men always will act under a mistake of orders; they fought. They saw the enemy, left their intrenchments, and attacked with spirit. From the superiority of numbers, and their flanks being neglected and unguarded, they were totally defeated. They did not, however, remain inactive, like cowards, on an important day of battle. No such imputation can be fixed on them. Nothing decisive can follow from the late successful affair on Long-Island, no more than from the defeat at Sullivan' s Island. New-York will probably fall into your hands, but your situation will in that case be scarcely mended since the last year, for you then possessed the capital of North America, Boston. Is that great and important town advantageously exchanged for New-York? I forgot that we still possess the fishing hamlet of Halifax. But, sir, we ought to take a much larger and more comprehensive view of this interesting scene, which is now fully disclosed.

The important dispute of Great Britain, with her Colonies has for a considerable time fixed the attention, not only of this nation, but of almost all Europe. The most essential interests of this country, and indeed of the greater part of the


Powers on the Continent, are deeply interested in the event. The sacrifice of so much blood and treasure is to every State an object of the highest importance; to us, whose empire seems mouldering away, of the nearest concern; and I much fear we are now brought by inextricable difficulties to the very verge of destruction.

Since our last meeting, sir, the scene, with respect to America, has totally changed. Instead of negotiations with Colonies, or Provincial Assemblies, we have a war to carry on against the free and independent States of America; a wicked war, which has been occasioned solely by a spirit of violence, injustice, and obstinacy in our Ministers, unparalleled in history. In the beginning of September, in the last year, a very humble and dutiful petition was sent from the Congress to his Majesty, in which his Majesty was supplicated "to direct some mode by which the united applications of his faithful Colonists to the Throne, in pursuance of their common councils, may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation." There was got a, word in the petition but what breathed submission and loyalty, and yet the official answer of Lord Dartmouth, the Secretary for the American department, after long deliberation, was to the last degree irritating. It was, "that no answer would be given;" that is, we will not treat; we scorn to negotiate with you; we exact unconditional submission. This answer, sir, in my opinion, might justly be called indignity and insult. It drove the Americans to despair, and with the violation of the perfidious promises in Lord Hilhborough' s famous official circular letter, laid the real foundation of their Declaration of Independency. Much has been said, sir, of the prophecy of the Ministers, that the Americans would in the end declare themselves independent. I give the Ministers no credit for such a prophecy. They went on the surest grounds. They might very safely promulgate such a prediction, when they knew that the unjust and sanguinary measures which they intended to pursue, must bring about the event. They drove the Americans into their present state of independency. The Jesuits in France risked nothing when they prophesied in 1610 the death pf the best prince that ever reigned in Europe, within that year. Theirs was the sure word of prophecy. They employed Ravillac to assassinate their Sovereign.

An honourable gentleman near me attacks the American Declaration of Independency in a very peculiar manner, as a wretched composition, very ill written, drawn up with the view to captivate the people. That, sir, is the very reason why I approve it most as composition, as well as a wise political measure, for the people are to decide this great controversy. If they are captivated by it, the end is attained. The polished periods, the harmonious, happy expressions, with all the grace, ease, and elegance of a beautiful diction, which we chiefly admire, captivate the people of America very little; but manly, nervous sense, they relish even in the most awkward and uncouth dress of language. Whatever composition produces the effect you intend in the most forcible manner, is, in my opinion, the best, and that mode should always be pursued. It has the most merit, as well as success, on the great theatre of the world, no less than on the stage, whether you mean to inspire pity, terrour, or any other passion.

The honourable gentleman, sir, who seconded the address, says, the Americans' declaration of independency was no surprise to him — nor I believe, sir, to any man of common reflection, after the frantick and extravagant career, which Administration pursued, with a full chorus of approbation from the majority of this House.

The speech in your hand, sir, which an honourable gentleman near me has well called a speech of hypocrisy, mentions the "assurances of amity, which his Majesty continues to receive from the several Courts of Europe." At the beginning of the last session, the Minister gave us in the King' s speech more explicit assurances. It was said, "I am happy to add, as well from the assurances I have received, as from the general appearance of affairs in Europe, I see no probability that the measures which you may adopt, will be interrupted by disputes with any foreign Power." We have no such assurances held out to us this year, that our measures will not be interrupted by disputes with any other foreign Power; but we have still assurances of amity, which are daily contradicted by the immense preparations of the neighbouring foreign Powers of France and


Spain, and indeed of the whole House of Bourbon. The accounts from Naples contain little but the vast preparations making by the King of the Two Sicilies. Are we indeed simple and credulous enough to trust to general vague expressions of politeness against the clear evidence of facts? Our Ministry know very well that an American privateer being lately stopped at Bilboa, in Biscay, an express was immediately despatched to Madrid, which returned with the fullest directions for the release of the privateer, and permission to furnish him with provisions, stores, ammunition, in short, whatever he wanted. This fact will not be denied. Is Spain, then, one of the foreign Powers, which again soothes us with these honeyed assurances of amity? Has fate ordained, that we are neither to possess capacity enough to profit by the example of others, nor even by our own experience? In the very first year of the present reign, in September, 1761, the Gazette told us that "the Catholick King had at no time been more intent upon cultivating a good correspondence with England, than in the present conjuncture;" a declaration received seriously here, held out as part of the Court creed, and laughed at by all the rest of Europe. In the beginning of the following January, without any new facts having occurred of any moment, war was declared by England against Spain. Will the plausible, smooth-tongued French likewise be able to lull us into a fatal security against the evidence of all history? Can we expect to be treated by them in any other manner than the Spaniards were at the time of the famous revolt of Portugal? The French sent whole regiments, completely officered, into the service of the House of Braganza. They paid them underhand the same as their national troops, yet all the while declared their abhorrence of rebellions and of rebels, issuing proclamation after proclamation, and recalling their deserters under the most severe penalties. Sir, there is not a Power in Europe, unsubsidized by Great Britain, which does not wish success to the Americans; and we are considered almost every where on the Continent, in the odious light of tyrants and oppressors.

The speech, sir, stales, that "if treason be suffered to take root, much mischief must grow from it to the safety of my loyal Colonies." Alas! sir, what we call treason and rebellion, and they just resistance and a glorious revolution, has taken root, a very deep root indeed, and has spread over almost all the American Colonies. In this very speech we are told of their numbers, their wealth, their strength by sea and land. The loyal Colonies are three, the free Provinces thirteen. In laying on the embargo, the exception to the rule is ridiculous enough. It is as thirteen to three. The Gazette says, "any of my Colonies in North-America except 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." Of what other Colonies was his Majesty in possession at his accession to the throne? I think the permission extends only to the Provinces which we have not yet lost — to the two Roman Catholick Provinces of Canada and Florida, and to Nova-Scotia.

We have now been carrying on for two years a savage and piratical, as well as an unjust war. Every demand of Government has been complied with, and yet the great force employed both by sea and land has not hitherto recovered a single Province of all the confederated Colonies. On the contrary, the evil grows more desperate. The last year only twelve Colonies humbly petitioned the Throne. This year, by the accession of Georgia, we have seen a Federal Union of thirteen free and powerful Provinces asserting their independency, as high and mighty States, and setting our power at defiance. This was done with circumstances of spirit and courage, to which posterity will do justice. It was directly after the safe landing of your whole force. In return we have barbarously plundered their coasts, and set fire to their open towns and defenceless villages, in a manner which disgraces the English name. In the midst of all the cruelties, terrours, and devastations, which follow your arms, the spirit of the Americans is still unsubdued, and I hope, and believe, you never will conquer the free spirit of the descendants of Englishmen, exerted in an honest cause. They honour and value the blessings of liberty. They are determined to live and die freemen, notwithstanding the vain efforts of every arbitrary Power in Europe. It is a foolish


attempt to think of conquering and holding the immense territory of North-America, when the whole country is united against us. We argue in a trifling manner on the decisive good consequences for events only in the Province of New-York. They do not prove that we shall subdue Virginia or either of the Carolinas. Success in two or three battles or sieges argues little for the final success of a war, so extensive already, and so greatly complicated.

As to our unanimity at home, sir, the very idea is absurd, because impossible, while the present system of injustice and oppression continues in its full rigour. The American war is unjust, and unconstitutional in its first principle, and, if persisted in, must end in our ruin. We have neither force to conquer, nor strength to maintain such extensive conquests, if we could succeed. Our situation is become truly critical. The constitution of this country is at home sapped by bribery and corruption. On the other side of the Atlantick it is assailed by violence and force of arms. The too fatal success in this devoted nation is very evident, but in the New World, I trust, as a friend of mankind, that all the despotick measures of a tyrannical Administration will prove ineffectual. It is impossible for this Island to conquer and hold America. They are determined and united. Your fleets may indeed every year carry horrour through all their coasts. Your armies may possess some sea-port towns, but the numerous and greatly-increasing people of the Provinces will retire into the interiour parts, of which you have already had some experience. Peaceful towns and villages will cover their fruitful plains, liberty will fix her blest abode among them, the unmolested, happy inhabitants rejoicing that they are procul à Jove, procul à fulmine.

I heartily agree, sir, with the noble Lord in the amendment proposed; but I go further, and my opinion is, that if we expect to save the empire, to preserve, even for a short period, Canada or the West-India Islands, or to recover any part of the immense territory we have lately lost, we must recall our fleets and armies, repeal all the acts injurious to the Americans passed since 1763, and restore their charters. We may then, if they will forgive, and can trust us, treat with them on just, fair, and equal terms, without the idea of compulsion, and a foundation be laid for the restoration of peace, internal tranquillity, and unity, to this convulsed and dismembered empire.

Honourable TEMPLE LETTRELL. He said, that he so very widely differed in opinion from the honourable member on the other side of the House, who moved the Ministerial address, in commendation of his Majesty' s speech delivered from the throne, that he should feel himself highly culpable were he to sit still till the close of the debate, and content himself to be numbered with the silent votes in its disfavour. There was, however, no doubt of its being carried by a large majority; for those court-retainers and dependants on Government, who had this campaign reaped a golden harvest from the calamities of their country, would see in the speech under consideration, the best earnest that could possibly be given, of a no less plentiful harvest of the same sort the ensuing summer. For his part, he construed this speech an infamous, groundless libel, fabricated by a tyrannical faction, against some of the most valuable members of the British community, who, actuated by principles of justice and honour, were nobly contending on the other side of the Atlantick, for the dearest rights of mankind; and who, limiting their resistance to a redress of real and essential grievances, were falsely accused of having, from the beginning of this unhappy contest, had no other object in view than anarchy and independence.

It was a custom among the ancient Persians (in later times adopted in the kingdom of Naples) to cover their tribunals of justice with the skins of corrupt lawyers, whom they flayed alive. Were a similar example to prevail within these walls, and the seats around us to be clothed with the skins of corrupt statesmen, I fear, sir, there are not a few gentlemen on your right hand would catch their deaths of cold before the end of the approaching winter; I should tremble this night for a long group of pensioners, contractors, paymasters, treasurers, &c˙, &c˙, who will walk forth into that lobby, in order to bring up an address to their Sovereign, beseeching that he will persevere to plunder and assassinate his subjects, and totally to extinguish the vital spirit of that free constitution, on the maintenance of which alone rests his claim to the throne of these realms.


The honourable member near me [Governour Johnstone] has justly observed, that the "address moved for by Government is an echo of the speech" imposed on their royal master. It occurs to me, sir, that the speech itself is, in many of its most striking passages, an echo to the Continental remonstrances, and Declarations of Independency: for instance, "they have rejected, with insult and indignity, every offer of accommodation." This is verbatim the charge brought against the mother country by the oppressed Colonists. They likewise declare that "it would be rash to put an end to their plan when they have every reason to pursue it;" — that "it is a contest of the last importance;" — "a war, not of ambition, but necessity." Good God, sir! state this argument, on our part, in other language, without perverting the sense, and it will stand thus: "You are ambitious to maintain the rights of free-born Britons, and ' tis necessary we should have an army of foreign assassins, and use every barbarity to render them slaves." Omnipotence on one side, sir, must imply slavery on the other.

When news was brought to Agesilaus, King of Sparta, during a civil war in Greece, that a bloody fight had happened near the city of Corinth, but that the Spartans were victorious, and the number of their troops killed was but inconsiderable, compared with the loss of the enemy, instead of exultations of joy, that wise and humane monarch, with a deep sigh, cried out, "Oh, unhappy Greece! to have slain so many of thy best warriors with thine own hand, who, had they lived, might have proved a match for all the barbarians in the world!" I am credibly informed, sir, that when our most gracious Sovereign received news of the unhappy conflict at Long-Island, he broke forth in an exclamation of a like philosophick and generous nature, lamenting that Great Britain should destroy so many of her brave men with her own hand, who, had they lived in mutual concord and amity, might have set at defiance the united force of our natural enemies, the Bourbon States, at this hour threatening us with an invasive war. Confident, as I was, that such ideas perfectly coincided with his Majesty' s known humanity of heart, and tenderness towards all his people, I did not conceive it possible that the most flagitious Minister of the bloody junto would dare to advise a, continuance of these disgraceful and ruinous measures, and propose a speech from the throne, evidently dictated by despotism, hypocrisy, and infatuation. I, sir, entertain hopes of healing propositions, and a timely dereliction, on the part of this country, of its unjustifiable and empty claim of taxation; that efficient cause of the civil war, and which, if made an irrefragable ultimatum of your terms of peace, cannot fail to accelerate the downfall of your empire. For the Commons of Great Britain to support so desperate a purpose at the point of the sword, at the present alarming crisis, too, the French and Spaniards preparing for a rupture, and the nation sinking under an enormous debt of one hundred and fifty millions, argues folly in us beneath the unlettered Parliament, madness beyond the insane Parliament, and a blood-thirsty spirit of enterprise above any of the proscribing, chivalrous Parliaments, under the worst of the Plantagenet tyrants.

I may, perhaps, be told, as I was last year, when I took the liberty to move an address to the King, to instruct the Commissioners in America to treat for peace with the Provincial Conventions, or General Continental Congress, that bodies of men, under denominations not formally legalized, can, in no possible situation of things, expect a publick recognition of their authority; nor can you treat with rebels while they have arms in their hands. From what knowledge of men or books is this State maxim derived? I defy any of the learned gentlemen over the way to instance any intestine commotion, from the beginning of the world to this moment, of equal magnitude and maturity with that of America, where such wild doctrines have been maintained. In support of directly opposite measures and policy, without recurring to eras very remote, or troubling the House with stale, pedantick researches, I shall beg leave to remind you of one or two remarkable precedents from modern history, where the proudest and most perverse potentates in Christendom have been taught an humbler and more rational lesson; and I mean to hold up in terrorem, their obstinate tyranny, and the calamities resulting from it, to themselves and their dominions, that these aliena pericula may serve for beacons to preserve us from a similar fate.

About the year 1617, the Bohemians having suffered


extreme oppression, met in Convention, and set forth their grievances to the Emperor, (Matthias;) answer was made, that nothing had been done on the part of the Court of Vienna that was contrary to the imperial edicts and resolutions of the States of the empire; certain judges were commissioned by the Emperor, as King of Bohemia, to grant general or particular pardons; but these persons having treated the remonstrants with much harshness and indignity, were thrown headlong from a two pair of stairs window on the stone pavement of the castle yard. The Bohemians then constituted thirty Directors of their nation, and took up arms, publishing a manifesto to the several Powers of Europe, in which they maintained the equity of their cause. An army of thirty thousand men took the field, under a great hero of that day, (the name, sir, will probably carry with it a striking sound to your ear, as a champion for the liberties of the people,) Count Mandsfelt. Soon after this civil war broke out, the Emperor gave authority to the Duke of Bavaria, the Elector of Saxony, the Elector of Metz, and several other illustrious personages, to negotiate a peace with the malcontents. Thus much for the punctilious idea of not condescending to treat with rebels. The difficulty of the times increased to such a degree the distraction of the Emperor' s mind, already agitated with the pangs of a recent domestick misfortune, that he resigned altogether the regal dignity, and soon after died, leaving to his successor a war of twenty-eight years, one of the most rancorous and bloody on the records of history. The Bohemians offered their Crown to the Elector Palatine, (Frederick V˙,) ancestor in a female line of our most gracious Sovereign George the Third, the chief of whose electoral house, the Duke of Brunswick, hazarded his life and dominions, and actually lost an arm in upholding the oppressed Bohemians. The Parliament of England cheerfully voted supplies to maintain their revolt, upon a principle worthy the representatives of a free and generous nation; that tyrannical mandates, a violation of charter rights, and unconstitutional imposts, had dissolved the bands of submission from the subject towards the Sovereign, and left them at liberty to create a new Government. A regiment of two thousand British soldiers, among which were many volunteers of the highest birth and character, embarked on this popular service, under one of the Vere family, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, convinced of the godliness of their battle, gave them his solemn and sacred benediction.

Another precedent, in my humble opinion, is well worth observance, to establish the expediency of treating with insurgents, though imbodied in the field and bearing arms, may be found in reading the civil wars of Hungary, begun about a century ago, by a violation in the Emperor Leopold of the laws and privileges of that spirited nation, and the inhuman butchery of those truly patriotick leaders, Counts Serini and Nadasti. The first notable achievements on the side of the Emperor, in the field of battle, were performed by a Colonel Heister, followed by endeavoars to establish military dominion throughout Hungary. This brought on an almost unanimous revolt of the people. In 1678, an ineffectual Congress was held for pacification between the Hungarians and their Sovereign; — conferences — proposals — suspension of hostilities, without avail, till the Emperor making certain concessions, a truce was agreed to in 1681. The war, however, was revived the year after, with a printed declaration that Leopold, having violated the fundamental laws of the constitution, was fallen from his throne and authority, and Emeric, Count Sekeli, elected King of Hungary, to whom, in a few campaigns, Heister (now become a General) abandoned the whole principality of Transylvania. Upon the death of Leopold, the Emperor Joseph made proposals to the enemy, which were rejected. In 1709, several prisoners were massacred in cool blood, by both parties; in which year, a Diet assembled at Presburg, to accommodate matters between the Emperor and the revolters, but that Diet being composed of the Emperor' s partisans only, Ragozzi, commander of the malcontents, though invited by a safe conduct, refused to come, and forbade any Hungarians to repair thither, under pain of being considered as enemies to their country. The envoys from the Courts of Great Britain and the United Provinces made several fruitless attempts to mediate a reconciliation. The Imperial Ministers (say the writers of these transactions) were, in fact, averse from treaty, hoping to aggrandize themselves by the contest, and


grow rich from a confiscation of the estates of the Hungarians; however, in 1711, the Court of Vienna found it expedient to despatch a publick Minister in form to the Rebel army, as it was called, to negotiate a peace, which was at length accomplished, after the civil war had raged, with short intermissions, for near half a century, with the destruction of about half a million of subjects; the Emperor stipulating to preserve inviolate, for the future, the rights, immunities, and liberties of Hungary.

I would observe, upon a view of these tragick scenes, that mankind in the mass of society, are, in all ages and countries, actuated by nearly the same passions; and the same radical evils in the body politick cause similar convulsions and risk of dissolution. Without consulting false pretenders to augury; without preternatural divination, you may, sir, perceive a gloomy series of misfortunes hanging over these realms, from the progress of our intestine warfare, equal to what befell either of those unhappy nations I have just spoken of. For my part, sir, I own I should be glad to compound for an issue to our quarrel with the Colonists, as little destructive to the human species, and as little decisive of the general destiny of the kingdom, as those civil broils in Hungary or Bohemia; but, I fear, a still more awful doom awaits us.

The force and prosperity of every nation depends, in great measure, on its populousness. "The Romans," says a learned author, "destroying others, were at length themselves destroyed; continually in action, and embarked on the most hazardous attempts, they wore out, like a weapon kept constantly in use." Whoever will duly reflect on the state and transactions of this our nation, within the last twenty years, will find her much reduced in number of inhabitants; not only from the efforts of the late war, but from her extensive maritime and commercial emigrations; her garrisons and settlements in the remotest and most insane corners of the globe; her enterprises (not to say errantry) in the East Indies, and many debilitating home manufactories that administer to the luxuries of the great, unthought of in ancient times; neither are we, I believe, at all behind the heathen world for the waste of debauchery and intemperance. In the midst of these various drains, is our little cholerick island entering upon a war of the most inveterate nature, and for an unattainable object; a war, that were you peopled like the dominions of China, and disciplined by the prolifick morality of the primitive disciples of Lycurgus, must ere long totally annihilate your empire. "Nature," says Montesquieu, "having made men equal, reason can never make them dependent, unless where it is necessary to their happiness." I shall add, that an appeal must ever hold, in equity, to the common sense of living societies, from the compacts or institutions of the dead.

Thus much may of a truth be advanced in favour of the Americans: Partners with you in the triumphs of a most glorious foreign war, and in all those national benefits acquired by your joint exertions and prowess, they stood firmly cemented to you by affection, as well as consanguinity. Perhaps, sir, there are deep-founded civilians, whose rules might have held them justified long ago, in saving their rising fortunes from your sinking fate, and in an absolute separation from your dominion, were it only npon that fundamental principle which ought to govern human societies as well as individuals — the law of self-preservation. They might, indeed, have urged a plea of insanity against the parent country, whose folly, ambition, and rapaciousness were proceeding with gigantick strides, year after year, and day after day, for a long time past, to destroy one common stock of happiness, the joint property of all the members of this distracted empire: neither was such abundant happiness to be found, I believe, in the lot of any mortal society since the beginning of the universe. A faction of despots presiding over your ostensible Government, fitter for the cells of Bedlam than the efficient Cabinet of a limited monarch, whose sole right to his diadem is a right of election from the people, and the end of that election to guard inviolate the liberties and properties of all his subjects — though the Colonies beheld such alarming evils, and another dependent country (Ireland) shamefully trampled upon, suffering injuries and indignities too numerous and glaring to need a recital — and which country, by the way, never deserved a like treatment at your hands, unless to bear it be to deserve it. I say, sir, though the Americans clearly saw these things, it was with an eye of affliction, and rather with the tear of pity given


to your publick degeneracy and fascination, than the least spark of anger: but when you followed those distant enormities, by bringing home to their own thresholds, the hand of rapine and tyranny; when you, with a remorseless violence, were preparing to wrest from them every blessing to which they were unalienably entitled, as British subjects and freemen, substituting instead a constitution never attempted to be imposed on any spot of Christian earth, but by a banditti of highwaymen on the heaths of Bagshot or Hounslow — "Give me your money, or I' ll blow out your brains;" then, sir, it was surely high time, if they felt like men, and like Britons, to act with a spirit of fortitude becoming men and becoming Britons. Amidst the refuse of every numerous community, we of course find some characters marvelously sluggish and abject. From a few of these did we absurdly and fallaciously judge of the majority of the injured Colonists, till the measure of our oppression being full, in a string of diabolical acts against their charters, their trade, and very existence, scarce one advocate remained to us throughout thirteen large Provinces. "There is a time," says Thomson, (not the Provincial Colonel of that nation taken in Canada, but the flower of Scottish poets, Jemmy Thomson,) "when e' en the slave at heart will spurn his chains, nor know submission more." That time you have, with prodigious pains, brought to maturity. From what accursed examples our prevailing system of politicks is drawn, I am at a loss to discover; I can conceive there is nothing of a similar complexion midst all the voluptuous annals of mankind, unless it be met with in the memoirs of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse. Sir, that monster being determined upon the ruin of a free people of Reggio, imposed on them certain exactions, with which he was persuaded they had not the ability to comply — hence he founded a pretext to invest their territories with a formidable army; after a gallant and desperate defence, they were reduced to an unconditional surrender. Dionysius then laid their city in ashes, condemned many of the principal inhabitants to cruel tortures, and sold the rest for slaves by beat of drum, to the highest bidder, in a publick market-place. How happy, sir, would it make that mirror of all good qualities, our first Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, were he appointed drummer at the city of New-York on a like occasion!

To invocate the special interposition of Providence in such an infernal undertaking as the present, is, to my mind, the most profligate excess of blasphemy; but, however the mercenaries of Government may this day act, I hope the independent country-gentlemen wil join with me to implore the God of clemency, that he will exorcise this demon of discord and violence, which has too long inspired our deliberations, and presided over the publick counsels of every branch of the British Legislature. May that God at length open our eyes and our hearts to the true interests of our country!

It is a very unfair argument to allege, that the Americans fight for independency. You must be sensible, sir, that the only way to straighten a bow is to wrest it with vigour to an opposite curve. The acts of this Legislature affecting the Colonists were so warped from rectitude, that their only chance to recover a right line of justice was by proceeding to conlrary extremities, to announce disunion and absolute freedom. I approve of the address to his Majesty, recommended by the right honourable member near me, [Lord John Cavendish,] because I think it bids fair to save both countries from destruction, and to restore perfect concord to the contending parts of this distracted empire. If you empower the Commissioners in America to propose peace on equitable conditions; offer to restore their charters, and relinquish the unsustainable claim of taxation with a good grace — even now, while your armies figure in the field, under hitherto triumphant generals — and I make no doubt, but by so laudable a step, you will obtain from your Colonies, through your Homes, as fair and magnanimous an answer as that which was sent from the Falerii to the Roman Senate, by the great Camillus: "The Romans, in having preferred justice to conquest, have taught us to be satisfied wilh submission instead of liberty."

Sir HERBERT MACKWORTH professed himself to be one of the independent country-gentlemen, and declared, he feared that matters were much misrepresented; that he did not like to hear gentlemen so ready to find a plea for the Americans on every occasion, and even when they were


beat, to hunt after a reason to show that they could not avoid it, and that some particular circumstances occasioned it. He said, he was ever most clearly against that House attempting to tax America, as America was not represented in that House; but he thought it highly necessary to maintain the right; and that it was but reasonable America should contribute something in return for the millions she had cost this country. He spoke highly in favour of some of the gentlemen in Opposition, but applauded the Ministry; finally declaring, that as an ancient Briton, he felt for the honour of his country, and therefore wished her success; not but he would be glad that a proper treaty for reconciliation was on foot, and, he owned he cared not whether it was with Rebels in arms or without them. He was against the amendment.

The Right Honourable T˙ TOWNSHEND. I do not rise, sir, to discuss, or indeed to take much notice of that humorous paragraph, which the Ministers have thought proper to insert in his Majesty' s speech, calling for the unanimity of this House, and of the nation at large. I say, his Ministers have inserted, because I hope it will still be deemed parliamentary to consider the King' s speech as the speech of the Minister, and lo hold, that the Minister or Ministers are answerable for every part of it. I call it humorous, because it would be ridiculous in any one to consider it as serious. We have, thank God, a very witty Minister, and he has thought proper at this time, when the generality of the world think this country in a situation that ought to make the boldest man among you tremble, to treat us with a joke.

It would be doing the composer of the speech great injustice to suppose, that he meant in earnest to assume that we must now be unanimous. If he were, what must be his logick? Must he not reason thus? Gentlemen, you and all the world foretold last year, that the measures of Administration would bring the affairs of America into the unhappy state in which we now see them; that they would force the Americans to a declaration of independence; and you urged those natural consequences as reasons for opposing such measures. The consequence you foretold has happened; come, then, give us now your confidence, and be unanimous in your support of the same men, in the prosecution of the same system. To say that the measures of last year did not tend to this end, seems to me absurd to the last degree. What did you do by your language in every debate, and by the provisions of every act that you passed? Did you not declare them out of your protection? Did you not put them in the situation, not only of separated States, of France and Spain for example, but of distinct States, of France and Spain, at open war with you? Did you, even in your acts of Parliament, so much as affect to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty?

In this situation, Ministers think proper to trifle and to joke with the House. I never saw such a scene on the first day of a session, in a most important hour, as I have seen to-day. Ministers do not think themselves bound to attend, or to give answers to the questions that have been put to them by many respectable gentlemen to-day: nay, they do not even preserve the least appearance of attention; they do not keep their seats, they walk about the House, or out of the House. I really thought some time ago, that the Minister in the blue ribbon had left the House entirely, and meant to depute the care of the division to his clerks and secretaries, who might afterwards report the numbers to him at his own house. Such a treatment, I believe, a House of Parliament never experienced at any time, at least not at so important a period; a period, when we may possibly have reason to expect, that before many months are over our heads, this country may be in as melancholy a situation, a state of as much confusion and desolation as now prevails in America, in conseqaence of our past measures.

I will now venture to put a few questions to the Administration, though I do not very well know why I should, as they have not thought proper to answer questions, perhaps, much more pertinent; I am sure, much better stated from other honourable gentlemen, who have as good a right to expect answers as any men who ever sat here. I believe it never happened, that on the first day of the session, after a long recess, and at a most alarming crisis, a debate had lasted so long a time, and reached this hour of the evening, without a word having fallen from any one officially qualified


to give satisfactory answers upon the situation of publick affairs.

I must ask, then, what means that part of the speech, which tells us, that all the Powers of Europe are in amity with us, but that we must put our forces in a respectable state? Is not France arming? Is not Spain armed? Has not the former called for the registered seamen? Has she not swept her coasts by a press? Does there remain even a fisherman on the coast opposite to us, fit for the King' s service, who is not marching, or under orders to march to Brest? Has she not an equipment at Brest ready to sail? Have we not pressed, and are we not putting a fleet of men-of-war into commission? I have been told that the Court of France have been asked the reason of their arming, and that the answer our Court received was, that we were armed ourselves, and in so formidable a state, that we should immediately subdue America, and that they were jealous, that in the career of our glory we should fall upon them. If that is true, I must suppose the Minister of France to have been in as facetious a humour when he sent that answer, as our Minister was, when he composed that part of his Majesty' s speech, which assumes, that we must be unanimous in this day' s debate. I must confess, that till I receive a little satisfaction upon these points, I shall continue to think this country in the most perilous situation it ever experienced. When I consider our army in England, our army in Ireland, what are the numbers, and of what raw men they are composed, I own, I tremble. Surely our Militia alone, in its present condition, is not to be trusted as the only defence of this country. It is not like what it was during the last war. The Militia marched out from their counties, regiment by regiment, according to the state of their discipline, and their fitness to take the field. They had had the assistance of two or three officers from the Army, to assist in training each separate battalion. Now, they will be called out all at once, and without these assistances. Add to this, that, without any reflection upon the present gentlemen who bear commissions in the Militia, they have not a third or a fourth part of the weight and property among them, that they had during the war. Now, sir, as those essential qualities in officering a Militia are not counterbalanced by the least superiority in military skill, that body of men are, in my opinion, not by any means so much to be depended upon.

As to the state of the Navy, we have heard much upon it from gentlemen much better qualified to speak upon it than myself. But there are one or two very striking features in it, that differ much from what we saw last war. We had twelve or thirteen thousand Americans in our Navy. It is unnecessary to say where they are now. They are making reprisals upon our defenceless trade. I hope they have made more prizes than the French and Spaniards did in all the last war in those seas. We have besides, I understand, about fifteen thousand seamen in our fleet in America. What a draught from the general naval force of this country! We have, as you are told, a very fine fleet of ships-of-the-line: but can ships-of-the-line protect your trade, or alone prevent an invasion? Where are your frigates and sloops? Almost all in America. I have been told, and from the best authority, by men who sat many years at the Board of Admiralty, with, perhaps, the greatest officer this country ever saw at the head of its Navy, that in times of an apprehended invasion, fifty, sixty, seventy of these frigates and sloops were constantly and necessarily employed. What proportion of them can you now command?

In the last war, the French had other objects to think of, besides an invasion of these islands. You had an army in Germany, that held at bay, and found ample work for one hundred and fifty thousand of the best troops in France. What chance have we now of such a diversion of their force? They seem to me to have before them, the full choice of every circumstance that a nation can wish for, that have a constant rival, and almost as constant an enemy to deal with. They may choose the scene, the mode, and, if I may use the expression, the degree of war they please.

The fleet of Spain may sail to America, while the troops and fleet of France may either threaten or attack this country. If they march their troops down to the coast, which they may do without the least inconvenience to themselves, if their men-of-war only ride at anchor in the road of Brest, it will be sufficient to strike almost a fatal blow to the credit


of this country, at the same time that your fleet in America will be at the mercy of the Spaniards. For, as it has been already said, what can my Lord Howe' s frigates do against ten or twelve men-of-war of the line?

The disputes and hostilities between Spain and Portugal are hinted at in the speech. If that difference proceeds to an open rupture, if France and Spain jointly, or either of them separately, attack that country, we are bound by treaty to assist Portugal with considerable succours by sea and land. The commerce of this country with Portugal has been always looked upon as an object of importance; it may be something less beneficial now than it used to be, but still it is of great moment to us. Can you in your present situation protect it? Can you perform your engagements, and attempt to prevent that country from becoming a Province of Spain? What a figure will this country make, if it is obliged to declare in the face of all Europe, that it is not in a condition to fulfill its treaties, (a disgrace which never before stained the annals of this country!) and to suffer Portugal, once the source of a trade extremely beneficial to us, to be overrun by the Princes of the House of Bourbon, and perhaps to become a Province of Spain.

Sir, this picture is too disagreeable for me to wish to dwell upon it. I am afraid it is not overcharged. If it is, I shall be glad to be convinced of it.

Before I sit down, I must beg leave, sir, to take notice of a few words that fell from the worthy member who spoke last. He spoke long and well. I have not equal pretension or inclination to take up as much of your time. He used much argument, and certainly no declamation, as he proscribed and forbid it in others, He threw out a sort of a challenge: do not declaim, but show me, when this House has inflicted any hardship upon America. I must recommend to the gentleman to take one or two of the volumes of statutes of the last two years, and peruse them. He will find them full of such laws as never made a part of any statute-book before. He will find, that we have put the Colonies totally out of our protection: that we have forbid them the exercise of any trade but that of arms, and have by those means forced them to take up those arms and use them against ourselves: that we professed to involve the innocent subjects of America with the guilty: that our restrictions did not only deprive them of trade but even of food. In this situation we are to wonder at their declaring themselves independent.

Sir, the worthy member has likewise accused sornbody of taking every opportunity of extolling the bravery and conduct of the American troops andofficers, and at the same time of wantonly and injuriously censuring the behaviour of our own officers and troops. I do not know at whom he means to point. I do not feel myself liable to this charge. As to the affair of Long-Island, as the action happened, I am glad to find it attended with so little loss on the side of General Howe. I own I am wicked enough to wish that fewer Americans had fallen. There are disagreeable reports upon that subject. I do not know enough of the subject to speak with certainty, but I hope the Ministers will be able to convince us, that it is not true, that fourteen or fifteen hundred of them were killed in cold blood. When I came to town the day the news came, I heard that fact asserted with exultation, avowed and justified. Afterwards, I heard it upon a little cooler reflection, palliated and accounted and apologized for: I understand that to-day it will be denied. As I do not pretend to be certain of the fact, I will not even hint at the body of troops, by which it is supposed to have been committed.

I have never been disposed to make free with the characters of officers absent and upon service. I am sure, I am not one of those who have cast those reflections, alluded to by an honourable gentleman behind me, upon the conduct of Sir Peter Parker. I have always heard him reckoned an able officer; he has undoubtedly, in the affair of Sullivan' s Island, shown himself a brave man. It is impossible for one so ignorant of naval affairs as I am, to judge of the propriety of the attack. But where is the character of General Clinton? as amiable and respectable a man, and as gallant and enterprising an officer as any in the service. And yet, judgment formed by mankind from the accounts published by Government is not in his favour. He appears, by their accounts, to have been nineteen days on Long-Island, before he found out the channel was seven feet deep


instead of eighteen inches. General Clinton in the last war attached himself to the hereditary prince of Brunswick, a service, that would not have been chosen by a man, that had not the spirit of enterprise. In such a school he was not likely to learn to hesitate, or to decline any fatigue or danger, by which the service, upon which he was ordered, might be advanced. Nor did he deviate from his former conduct upon this occasion: though the accounts that have been published and the reports spread by every member of Government may have drawn upon him the censure of unthinking men. Sir, I have seen such accounts, as authorize me to say, that he examined the channel or ford, as it has been erroneously called, the day he landed, and that he sent an account of it to the Commodore. He sounded it with his own person as far as he could. If I advance what is ill-founded, let me be contradicted. But I am confident no man can contradict me. If I am right, how injuriously he has been treated! The worthy member exclaims with propriety against liberties taken with the characters of absent officers, but let him remember the quarter from whence the injury comes, and direct his censure accordingly.

There is, I think, one part of the speech which mentions a discovery of the original designs of the leaders of the Americans. In God' s name, who made them leaders? How came they to be so? If you force men together by oppression, they will form into bodies, and choose leaders. Mr˙ Hancock was a merchant of credit and opulence when this unhappy business first broke out. Men in that kind of situation are not very prone to a change of Government. I think I have sometimes heard a few old women say, that the civil war of the. last century was originally contrived by Cromwell; that the first opposition to Charles I˙, was begun In order to advance Cromwell to the Protectorship. It is a sagacity and penetration of the same kind that has now happily discovered the original views of those who now are the leaders of the Americans.

Some gentlemen have been jocular upon the ribbons and other honours conferred by the Congress. They have, however, hardly distributed honours with a less sparing hand than the Ministers have done. I believe, since the good days of King James I˙, there never was so great a profusion of honours, as within this half year. I beg pardon for the expression of profusion, it conveys an improper idea, and I wish to recall it. It is not a profusion; it is a happy increase of merit in these times, which called for certainly a much larger distribution of honours than has been known in the memory of man. One Gazette announced no less than two-and-fifty honours conferred in Ireland. The great seals of England and Ireland have been set to six-and-forty patents of peerage within these few months. Some of them, I believe, supposed not to be quite consistent with the Act of Union. I would not be supposed to look with an evil eye at any marks of favour shown to the Peers of Scotland; I do not enter into that question; it is matter for the decision of another assembly. I wish the Scotch peerage upon a much better footing. I should see with pleasure five-and-twenty or thirty British peerages conferred upon the peers of that kingdom, provided we could get rid of the election of the sixteen. I respect many of the present sixteen, and should willingly see them included in such a promotion. But their present condition is not a desirable one. I believe there is not a man in that part of the United Kingdom, who does not agree with me in this opinion.

But, sir, I am deviating from the question before us; though I believe I may plead precedent for it, the first day of a session being usually looked upon as a day of general conversation. I have now only to return thanks to the House for their indulgence to me.

I rose for the purpose of asking the few questions which I have ventured to submit to those, who in other times would have been thought under some degree of necessity of answering them. I shall not be much surprised to find my questions treated as those offered by other gentleman have been. However, if I can procure a satisfactory answer to them, I shall think myself amply repaid for the trouble I have taken to state them.

Lord NORTH. I think it proper to deliver my sentiments thus early, because should I defer my intention for only half an hour longer, the House may probably forget one of my prime inducements for rising to trouble you. It is, sir, to meet the charge made against me by the right honourable


gentleman over the way, [Mr˙ Townshend,] lest it may go forth, that I neglected my duty in this House, as a member or a Minister; lest, sir, an absence of ten minutes, on a pressing call of business in the course of a debate, which will probably continue fourteen hours, should be represented as an open desertion of my post, in the moment of danger and difficulty. I may, sir, be deficient in many respects, but of all wants I never imagined that a want of respect, diligence as a member, or attention to this House, would have swelled the long catalogue. I am yet to learn, that the behaviour of a member, relative to these personal minutia, was ever esteemed a fit object of parliamentary animadversion, or matter sufficiently important to incur publick reprehension. I have, it is true, been absent about ten minutes, upon a pressing call of business, and am now returned to my seat. This, sir, is the atrocious crime I have committed. This it is that has furnished the right honourable gentleman who spoke last with so happy an opportunity of displaying his talents. I trust, however, that I shall have the justice done me, to allow that there is no member in this House longer keeps his place, I mean my place in Parliament, or attends with greater patience and resignation, the whole length of a tedious debate, than I do.

It has been more than once objected this night, that I have since the commencement of the present troubles, held back such information as became necessary for you to know, in order the better to be able to decide upon measures proper to be pursued, relative to America. Nothing can be more unjust and ill-founded than this charge. I have been ready at all times to communicate every possible information that could be given with safety: I repeat with safety, because the very bad and mischievous consequences of disclosing the full contents of letters, with the writers' names, has been already severely proved, and would, in the present situation of affaire, not only be impolitick, but might be to the last degree dangerous, if not fatal, to the persons immediately concerned.

Several honourable gentlemen on the other side have proposed questions which I think an attentive perusal of the speech would have prevented them from putting to me. His Majesty says he has received assurances of amity from the several Courts of Europe; yet he has thought it necessary to prepare himself against any sudden attack. The assertion is, I contend, strictly true; I am answerable for its veracity; for I advised, in concert with the rest of his Majesty' s servants, the passage now objected to. His Majesty has received those assurances; but he has not thought it prudent entirely to trust and rely on their contents.

It is well known that Spain and Portugal have been for the last year on the point of differing about the frontiers of the Brazils. It is equally true, that his Majesty has interposed his good offices as a mediator, and endeavoured to accommodate the dispute. This interposition, at present, promises to terminate happily, and to the satisfaction of both parties; it is, however, impossible to tell what turn the affair may take, or venture at all to be responsible for the event of such a negotiation.

From the present assurances of the Court of France, and stronger cannot be desired, we have every reason to be satisfied of their pacifick intentions; should it nevertheless prove otherwise, I can venture to affirm, and from my own knowledge to assure this House, that we are prepared for the worst, and that our preparations have been such as to enable us to cope With any enemy who may be inclined to molest us. It has been said, that we are stripped of our home naval defence; that though we should procure seamen, and have a sufficient number of line-of-battle ships ready for sea, the absence of our frigates would prevent us, for some time, at least, from carrying on any effectual naval operations. To this, a very short answer will suffice: we have several frigates at home; there are some building; and if it were not so, we could procure a sufficient number to answer every purpose we want, or wish at present to effect.

The armament going on in France, which has been this night so mightily magnified, is but a small one. I mean comparatively, with what we are able to send to sea, at a short warning; it consists of six ships of the line and four frigates. They are, it is true, putting their Navy on a respectable footing; they have made a demand on the registers. These preparations import nothing directly hostile; their assurances of their pacifick disposition towards us are


as strong as words can make them: but I repeat once more, that his Majesty' s Ministers have thought proper to advise him to the present armament, by way of precaution.

Two or three honourable gentlemen on the other side have charged me with stuffing the speech with wit and humour, hypocrisy, deceit, and absurdity; some on account of the word "unanimity;" others for the following passage: "My desire is to restore to them (the people of America) the blessings of law and liberty." Now, I see no wit or humour in either of the passages alluded to, but the plainest deductions of plain reasoning and common sense. By unanimity, it cannot be supposed was meant a total union of sentiment, on every side of the House; it could hardly be imagined or expected; it meant great and decisive majorities, minorities consisting, perhaps, of thirty or forty members. As to the hypocrisy charged on that other passage, wherein his Majesty expresses his desire to restore his subjects to law and liberty, that I think is, if possible, worse founded; instead of being absurd or hypocritical, I am of opinion it is supported by fact, and as sound logick as the English language is capable of conveying. Is not law and liberty fled from America? Can it be said so of this country? The debate of this day has fully proved it cannot; and I beg leave to remind the gentlemen, who have in the course of the present evening thrown so many reflections upon Administration, that they would soon find the difference of the two countries, had they dared to make so free with the Congress. I cannot, however, but applaud the spirit which has dictated those severities: I am pleased with that spirit of inquiry which has manifested itself, though it be a licentious spirit; and I wish it to continue, though I am destined to be the object of attack.

I beg pardon of the House for taking up so much of their time, but I wish them to recollect, that much the greater part of it was taken up in replying to questions and explanations, I thought it my duty to answer and give. I cannot agree with the amendment proposed, because it desires his Majesty to set on foot a tedious inquiry to no purpose; to procrastinate events which in all probability will soon be produced, and render fruitless every favourable operation which hath already taken place. It has always been my wish, and that of every other servant of the King, to bring matters to as early an issue, and with as little bloodshed as possible; to use the present successes and victory, if it were gained, with prudence and moderation, and rather as a means of cementing a lasting unity and amity, than as objects of triumph, or instruments for forging the chains of slavery, or excuses for tyranny or oppression.

He appealed to his own conciliatory motion, that reconciliation had constantly been his object. He asserted, that that motion held out to the Colonies a proposal, or proposition, that they should raise among themselves a certain, or such a proportionate sum, as should be settled and agreed upon between Great Britain and them; and that in future, they should never be further taxed but when we were.

Colonel BARRÉ observed, that the right honourable gentleman who spoke last but one, was wrong in stating that the noble Lord did not pay sufficient attention to the House; that the noble Lord certainly did very regularly attend, and was in general ready to answer the questions put to him. That he answered them satisfactorily, he would not say; but he generally answered them. There was one question which had been put in the course of the debate — a question of the first consequence, of the most serious importance — to which the noble Lord had wholly neglected to speak. In order to give him an opportunity of speaking to it, he would therefore then put it, and sit down, without proceeding further, that the noble Lord might give the House that satisfaction which he doubted not many of them wished to receive. The question was, "What powers were General and Lord Howe invested with, as his Majesty' s Commissioners to treat with America?"

Lord North immediately said, that their commission had lately been published in the Gazette, and that nothing relative to the business had been concealed. His Lordship read part of the commission, and said he knew of nothing more, unless indeed some direction relative to prisoners.

Colonel BARRÉ again rose, and pulling a paper out of his pocket, declared he had in his hand an account of what passed at a conference between Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson and General Washington, when Colonel Patterson was


despatched with General and Lord Howe' s letter; that the account was printed in America, but that it bore evident marks of authenticity, although indeed it did not come directly to his hands; for he could positively say, that no letter directed to him, and sent from America, ever reached him. He commented on the account in his hand, declaring his high esteem for Colonel Patterson, with whom he had the happiness to be acquainted, and asserting, that he was a man of the first honour in the service. He said, the account he was going to read did Colonel Patterson infinite credit.

He then read the following paper, from the New-York Gazette of the 5th of August:

"The following is an exact state of what passed at the interview between his Excellency General Washington and Colonel Patterson, Adjutant-General of the Army under General Howe, July 20, 1776:

"After usual compliments, in which, as well as through the whole conversation, Colonel Patterson addressed General Washington by the title of Excellency, Colonel Patterson entered upon the business by saying, that General Howe much regretted the difficulties which had arisen respecting the address of the letters to General Washington; that it was deemed consistent with propriety, and founded upon precedents of the like nature by ambassadors and plenipotentiaries where disputes or difficulties of rank had arisen; that General Washington might recollect he had, last summer, addressed a letter to General Howe, to the Honourable William Howe, Esq˙; that Lord Howe and General Howe did not mean to derogate from the respect or rank of General Washington; that they held his person and character in the highest esteem; that the direction, with the addition, &c˙, &c˙, &c˙, implied every thing that ought to follow. He then produced a letter which he did not directly offer to General Washington, but observed, that it was the same letter which had been sent, and laid it on the table, with the superscription to George Washington, &c˙, &c˙, &c. The General declined the letter, and said, that a letter directed to a person in a publick character, should have some description or indication of it, otherwise it would appear a mere private letter; that it was true the &c˙, &c˙, &c˙, implied every thing, and they also implied any thing; that the letter to General Howe alluded to, was an answer to one received under a like address from him, which the officer on duty having taken, he did not think proper to return, but answered it in the same mode of address; that he should absolutely decline any letter directed to him as a private person, when it related to his publick station. Colonel Patterson then said, that General Howe would not urge his delicacy any further, and repeated his assertions, that no failure of respect was intended. He then said, that he would endeavour, as well as he could, to recollect General Howe' s sentiments on the letter and resolves of Congress, sent him a few days before, respecting the treatment of our prisoners in Canada, and that the affairs of Canada were in another department, not subject to the control of General Howe, but that he and Lord Howe utterly disapproved of every infringement of the rights of humanity. Colonel Patterson then took a paper out of his pocket, and, after looking it over, said, he had expressed nearly the words. General Washington then said, that he had also forwarded a copy of the resolves to General Burgoyne. To which Colonel Patterson replied, he did not doubt a proper attention would be paid to them, and that he (General Washington) was sensible, that cruelty was not the characteristick of the British nation. Colonel Patterson then proceeded to say, he had it in charge to mention the case of General Prescot, who, they were informed, was treated with such rigour, that, under his age and infirmities, fatal consequences might be apprehended.

"General Washington replied, that General Prescot' s treatment had not fallen under his notice; that the persons under his particular direction, he had treated with kindness, and made their situation as easy and comfortable as possible; that he did not know where General Prescot was, but believed his treatment was different from their information. General Washington then mentioned the case of Colonel Allen, and the officers who had been confined in Boston jail. As to the first, Colonel Patterson answered, that General Howe had no knowledge of it, but by information from General Washington, and that the Canada department was not under his direction or control; that as to the other


prisoners at Boston, whenever the state of the Army at Boston admitted it, they were treated with humanity and even indulgence; that he asserted this upon his honour, and should be happy in an opportunity to prove it.

"General Washington then observed, that the conduct of several of the officers would well have warranted a different treatment from what they had received; some having refused to give any parole, and others having broke it when given, by escaping, or endeavouring so to do. Colonel Patterson answered, that as to the first, they misunderstood the matter very much, and seemed to have mistook the line of propriety exceedingly; and as to the latter, General Howe utterly disapproved and condemned their conduct.

"That if a remonstrance was made, such violations of good faith would be severely punished; but that he hoped General Washington was too just to draw publick inferences from the misbehaviour of some private individuals; that bad men were to be found in every class and society; and such behaviour was considered as a dishonour to the British Army. Colonel Patterson then proceeded to say, that the goodness and benevolence of the King had induced him to appoint Lord Howe and General Howe his Commissioners to accommodate this unhappy dispute; that they had great powers, and would derive the greatest pleasure from effecting an accommodation; and that he (Colonel Patterson) wished to have this visit considered as making the first advances to this desirable object. General Washington replied, he was not vested with any powers on this subject, by those from whom he derived his authority and power. But from what had appeared and transpired on this head, Lord Howe and General Howe were only to grant pardons; that those who had committed no fault, wanted no pardon; that we were only defending what we deemed our indisputable right. Colonel Patterson said, that would open a very wide field for argument. He then expressed his apprehensions that an adherence to forms was likely to obstruct business of the greatest moment and concern.

"He then observed, that a proposal had been formerly made of exchanging Governour Skene for Mr˙ Lovell; that he now had authority to accede to that proposal. General Washington replied, that the proposition had been made by the direction of Congress, and having been then rejected, he could not now renew the business, or give any answer, till he had previously communicated it to them.

"Colonel Patterson behaved with the greatest attention and politeness during the whole business, expressed strong acknowledgments that the usual ceremony of blinding his eyes had been dispensed with. At the breaking up of the conference, General Washington strongly invited him to partake of a small collation provided for him, which he politely declined, alleging his late breakfast, and an impatience to return to General Howe, though he had not executed his commission so amply as he wished. Finding he did not propose staying, he was introduced to the General Officers, after which he took his leave, and was safely conducted to his own boat, which waited for him about four miles distant from the city.

"Made publick by order of Congress:

"JOHN HANCOCK, President."

Colonel BARRÉ demanded of the Ministers why some account of this matter had not been given the publick through the channel of the London Gazette? He said, it was that scandalous concealment of intelligence from the publick which roused his warmth; that from the account he had just read it was plain the Ministers had been bold enough to break through an act of Parliament, for in that very House the act had passed but last session limiting the powers of the Commissioners sent to America, and rendering their commission altogether ineffectual. That he should have applauded them for their spirit in daring to violate the law, had the violation produced a salutary effect. That he had last year told them what would be the consequence of their sending such Commissioners under such an act of Parliament; that he had advised them to send a trumpet from camp to camp, previous to any action; that the House, he was proud to say, had approved of that advice, and that he was sure it would have been more effectual than a ridiculous attempt at a treaty, overlaid by absurd forms and idle punctilio. He turned from this to what he called another important subject, the tremendous appearance of a war in


Europe, and told the House in a most peremptory tone, that a war of the most serious kind threatened this country, a war from the united Powers of France and Spain. That the attack would shortly be made, and made within the hearing of those who then sat in the House. A laugh arising from the opposite benches, the Colonel observed with some warmth, "Gentlemen may laugh, but I dare aver, that those who laugh now will, in the moment of danger, be lying, in tears, on their backs, like cowards." He then declared, that France was full two months beforehand with us in preparation, that we were, in fact, defenceless, unable to make any resistance should she soon begin; that the noble Lord shifted his ground so often that there was no dependence on his information; that even now he had said, he relied on the present assurances of the pacifick intentions of France, but that he did not know how^soon she might alter her intention.

Lord North declared, that he firmly believed the Court of Versailles: but as he was no prophet, he would not answer for events six months hence. He complained of having his words watched, and thrown perpetually in his teeth.

Colonel BARRÉ declared he ever would watch the Minister; that it was extraordinary indeed, if the noble Lord high in office, and the ostensible Minister, expected his words would not be watched; he protested he would continue to watch him, and report his words on every fit occasion. The Minister of this country, he said, ought always to have information sufficient of what the French were about to undertake to promise for six months; if he could not, his neck ought to be brought to the block. The situation of the affairs of this country, he said, was awful, alarming, and tremendous: he spoke it, he said, with fear and trembling, but this country seemed to be near the crisis of her fate; he advised the Treasury-bench, therefore, to look about them, and as there was one question which demanded an immediate answer, he would then put it: "Had the King' s Ministers information of a particular species of armament preparing by the French in those ports of France which were immediately opposite and nearest to this kingdom?" The question, he trusted, was clear and comprehensive. He put it roundly, and it required immediate explanation. If it was not answered, the silence of the Ministry would operate in his mind as fully as any answer they could give; if they had not the necessary information, they were not fit for their posts, and ought to hold them no longer. He entered into the state of our naval power, summing up the number of men-of-war in our ports, and the guard-ships, which he declared had none of them their complement of men on board, although the noble Lord had said they were nearly manned. [Here he was again interrupted, Lord North having said partly manned.] He asserted that we were by no means a match for the united force of France and Spain. He recommended to the Ministry at any rate to make up matters with America; he observed we had in the last war twelve thousand seamen from America, who would now, should France attack us, be fighting against us; that all the useful part of our Navy was on the coasts of America; in fact, that matters were so bad, that unavoidable ruin hovered over this devoted country. Recall, therefore, he said, your fleets and armies from America, and leave the brave Colonists to the enjoyment of their liberty. [This created a louder laugh than the former among the occupiers of the several official benches; which irritated the Colonel so much that he reprehended the Treasury-bench in terms of great asperity; he arraigned them with a want of manners, and declared, he thought professed courtiers had been better bred.] He then again denounced vengeance, and, after a thousand repetitions of the danger of our present situation, he bid the Ministry appoint proper officers; the fleet, he said, ought to be commanded by a brave man then in the House, an Admiral who had once already saved his country; the Admiral he meant was his-honourable friend near him, Admiral Keppel. He said he knew he was out of order in naming a member, but on such an occasion he thought himself justified in mentioning so brave an officer.

At length, having held up a most tremendous picture of impending mischief to his country, he repeated his question to the Treasury-bench, and sat down, deploring the infatuation of Government, and asserting that a majority of votes in that House would never conquer France and Spain


however they might procure the Minister a momentary triumph, and make him a welcome guest at St˙ James' s.

Admiral Keppel said, that things had an extreme disagreeable appearance. He asserted, from the most authentick information, that Spain had twenty-five ships-of-the-line, but believed them to be ill-manned with marines. In respect to France, it was otherwise. Their registers commanded seamen, and their military force was known to be sufficient to furnish any number of men they might want to serve on board their ships-of-war. He concluded with lamenting, in case of a rupture with France or Spain, the absence of that useful and necessary part of our naval force, our frigates and sloops-of-war.

Lord GEORGE GERMAINE. I rise to explain a few circumstances which have been demanded for information; I shall give all the satisfaction in my power, not speaking from notes. Relative to the state of our armament, the right honourable gentleman is much mistaken in saying the twenty-three ships are not half manned. They want, sir, only fifteen hundred men of their full complement, and twelve are fully manned: so that there are no reasons for those numerous and great apprehensions which the right honourable gentleman has stated so largely. As to the propositions which General Howe made to General Washington, they prove clearly, as the Americans themselves state the matter, that General Howe was eager for the means of peace and conciliation; but Washington against them. However, General Howe will doubtless be able to put New-York at the mercy of the King; after which, the Legislature will be restored, and an opportunity will thereby be given for the well-affected to declare themselves, who are ready to make proper submission. Sir Peter Parker' s expedition failed, from arriving too late; I am not answerable for its success, for it was planned before I came into the office. I had assurances from Lord Cornwallis and General Clinton of this, that had not unavoidable delays happened, the force would have proved sufficient. The conduct of the war in Canada also has been reprobated for want of boats; all possible expedition has been used in building them, but it has taken longer time than I expected, and the embarking upon the lake has necessarily been delayed beyond the time intended. I am further asked, what are the numbers of the armies in America? Sir, the number of that under General Howe is twenty-five thousand, and he will be reinforced by five thousand more, which are near the American coast by this time. He has besides about two thousand Provincials, and will probably have more. The Army in Canada is eleven thousand, and perhaps three or four hundred, which is the full complement for that department, if not a little more. There has been no cartel settled. There can be none; but the commanders in chief have agreed upon an exchange of some prisoners, man for man. Another question is, whether Administration knows any thing of particular preparations on the coast of France? I have asked the noble Lord by me, [Lord North,] and he knows nothing of any such — nothing further than what is necessary for conducting the registered seamen to Brest — nor have I any intelligence of that sort. And now, sir, having replied to these queries, permit me to make one remark on the House of Bourbon' s supposed design of assisting the Americans by going to war with us. I can give no credit to this idea, and my reason is, because it would be manifestly against their interest. How well do you suppose would those countries like to have the spirit of independence cross the Atlantick? Would they not fear that their own Colonists would catch fire at the unlimited rights of mankind, — would they not like that language better than digging gold? And would not there arise great danger from powerful independent States being so near them, freed from all control from Europe? I cannot believe, sir, that they would be so blind to their own interests.

Mr˙ Fox said, that every circumstance that had fallen out in America, was one aggregate proof, that Opposition had been right last session in every one of their prophecies, and in every motive they had laid down as the cause of their conduct: that nothing could be so farcical as calling for unanimity in approving measures, because those measures had been uniformly attended with the mischiefs that had been predicted: that instead of applause and approbation, Administration deserved nothing but reproach — for having brought the Americans into such a situation, that it was


impossible for them to pursue any other conduct than what they had pursued.

He went into the independence declared by America. The Americans had done no more than the English had done against James the II. When James went out of the kingdom, the English declared the throne to be abdicated, and chose another King. When the late severe laws were passed against the Americans, they were thrown into anarchy; they declared we had abdicated the Government, and therefore they were at liberty to choose a Government for themselves.

He was astonished at the sense which the noble Lord in the blue ribbon put upon his conciliatory motion. He affirmed, that the motion contained no such proposition as that now asserted by the noble Lord, nor could such a construction be put upon any words in the motion. He desired the motion might be read. It was read, as follows:

"February 27, 1775. — Resolved, That when the Governour, Council, and Assembly, or General Court of any of his Majesty' s Provinces or Colonies in America, shall propose to make provision, according to the condition, circumstances, and situation of such Province or Colony, for contributing their proportion to the common defence, (such proportion to be raised under the authority of the General Court, or General Assembly of such Province or Colony, and disposable by Parliament,) and shall engage to make provision also for the support of the civil Government and the administration of justice, in such Province or Colony, it will be proper, if such proposal shall be approved by his Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made, accordingly, to forbear, in respect of such Province or Colony, to levy any duty, tax, or assessment, or to impose any further duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to continue to levy or to impose for the regulation of commerce; the net produce of the duties last mentioned to be carried to the account of such Province or Colony respectively."

Well, sir, is it not clear, that no such proposition was held out by the motion? and is it not extraordinary, that every body should understand the motion, but the author of it? As to the noble Lord who spoke last, priding himself on a Legislature being reestablished in New-York, it is the highest absurdity. Who can suppose, that with an army of thirty thousand men there, a Legislature will not be found that shall express just that species of law and liberty which the other noble Lord wishes to establish in America, and which Kings may naturally be supposed to wish to flow from popular assemblies. Sir, it has been very well said, that the speech is an hypocritical one; and in truth there is not a little hypocrisy in supposing, that a King, (I except his present Majesty, who really loves liberty;) but that a common King should be solicitous to establish any thing that depended on a popular assembly. Kings, sir, govern by means of popular assemblies, only because they cannot do without them; to suppose a King fond of that mode of governing, is to suppose a chimera. It cannot exist. It is contrary to the nature of things; and it is hypocrisy to advance it.

But, sir, if this happy time of law and liberty is to be restored to America, why was it ever disturbed? It reigned there till the abominable doctrine of gaining money by taxes infatuated the heads of our statesmen. Why did you destroy the fair work of so many ages, in order to reestablish that by the sword, which prudence, and the good government of the country, had seemed to fix forever?

But, sir, how is this blessed system of law and liberty to be established? By the bayonets of disciplined Germans. The noble Lord who spoke last, seemed to pride himself upon the Americans of Long-Island making a precipitate retreat. They were out-generalled. Discipline triumphed over the enthusiasm which liberty inspires. Did the noble Lord triumph? I pity his feelings.

Sir, something has been said on the case of General Clinton: I wish that matter had been more explained; as it stands at present, the Gazette account is an infamous libel on the character of that gallant officer. Let Administration stand forth, and avow that representation: they will not do it; they dare not do it; they skulk from an open and a fair representation.

We have been told, that it is not for the interest of Spain


and France to have America independent. Sir, I deny it; and say, it is contrary to every principle of common sense. Is not the division of the enemy' s power advantageous? Is not a free country engaged in trade less formidable than the ambition of an old corrupted Government, their only formidable rival in Europe? The noble Lord who moved the amendment, said, that we were in the dilemma of conquering or abandoning America; if we are reduced to that, I am for abandoning America. What have been the advantages of America to this kingdom? Extent of trade, increase of commercial advantages, and a numerous people growing up in the same ideas and sentiments as ourselves. Now, sir, how would those advantages accrue to us, if America was conquered? Not one of them. Such a possession of America must be secured by a standing army; and that, let me observe, must be a very considerable army. Consider, sir, that that army must be cut off from the intercourse of social liberty here, and accustomed, in every instance, to bow down and break the spirits of men, to trample on the rights, and to live on the spoils cruelly wrung from the sweat and labour of their fellow subjects; — such an army, employed for such purposes, and paid by such means, for supporting such principles, would be a very proper instrument to effect points of a greater, or at least more favourite importance nearer home; points, perhaps, very unfavourable to the liberties of this country.

General CONWAY said, he should be very sorry any part of his conduct were construed as disrespectful to his Majesty; no person bore his Majesty higher respect; but the address was so entirely against his sentiments, so often declared in that House, that he must vote against it.

The House divided upon the amendment; 87 for it, and 242 against it.

After which, they divided on the original address. Ayes 232; Noes 83.