Debate

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HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Thursday, November 16, 1775.

Mr˙ Burke presented a Petition from the Gentlemen, Clergy, Clothiers, Manufacturers, and others, inhabitants of the several Towns of Westbury, Warminster, and Trowbridge, and the neighbourhood thereof, in the County of Wilts, whose names are thereunder written, setting forth, "That the Petitioners are greatly alarmed and surprised at finding certain persons, styling themselves the Gentlemen, Clergy, Clothiers, and other tradesmen, of the Towns and neighbourhood of Bradford, Trowbridge, and Melksham, in the County of Wilts, approach the throne of our most gracious Sovereign, and, under the pretence of testifying their loyalty and affection to his Majesty, boldly assert, in regard to the American prohibition of all commerce with his Majesty' s European dominions, that they (the Petitioners) find no melancholy effects arising therefrom, or any unusual failure of demand for their manufactures, or of employment for their poor. And, at this important and alarming crisis, when so much depends on the deliberations and resolutions of Parliament, not less than the lives, liberties, and properties of thousands of their fellow-subjects, the Petitioners, apprehending that the like misrepresentations may be conveyed to the House, should hold themselves unjust to their own dearest interests, and that of their posterity, if they did not publickly express their entire disapprobation of that malignant and uncandid spirit, which can carry falsehood

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hood to the throne; for the Petitioners assure the House that the trade of that part of the kingdom has most sensibly declined ever since the commencement of the present unfortunate and unnatural contest with America; and that employment for the poor has proportionably decreased in like manner, insomuch that it appears, by authentick and undeniable evidence, that the poor rates of the said towns have, during the last ten years, grown to an enormous degree, and are now become an almost insupportable burden to the inhabitants thereof; and that the Petitioners do not presume to arraign the wisdom or justice of Parliament, in the measures which have hitherto been adopted and pursued towards America; but, as intercession on behalf of their afflicted brethren in the Colonies, and in extenuation of the criminality with which they have been charged, they beg leave to offer that their resistance to the right of taxation in the British Parliament (from the claim to which the present unhappy differences have originated) has not, as they conceive, proceeded from an impatience of subordination to that high constitutional supremacy necessarily vested in the mother country, but in support of an usage, which a uniform and uninterrupted enjoyment of more than one hundred and fifty years had given them reason to believe themselves entitled unto, and which Great Britain herself had frequently called upon them to exercise in their own Provincial assemblies: and the Petitioners, therefore, considering that the vital principle of trade is peace and confidence, not war and distraction; and compassionating the tumultuous and irregular exertion of that rude yet manly spirit, whose features plainly mark its origin of British ancestry, and which, though misguided in them, was, through our common ancestors, productive of those blessings which make the peculiar boast of our happy Constitution, and to which we owe the distinguished happiness that the present august family are at this day on the throne of these kingdoms; and deprecating also the horrors of a civil war, the event of which, being in the hands of the Almighty, may terminate in the dismemberment of our empire, or in a barren and ruinous conquest; and therefore praying the House to take the premises into their consideration, and, for the sake of peace, for the sake of trade and commerce, and for the general safety, concord, and prosperity, of the whole empire, for the sake of our holy religion, and the glory of Almighty God, who dwells in peace, to adopt such lenient measures as may restore to this great kingdom and her Colonies that affectionate intercourse with each other which alone can prevent the manifold evils with which they are now threatened, and establish the national greatness on the broad foundation of equal rule, and the general happiness of a free, loyal, and united people."

Ordered, To lie upon the table.

Mr˙ Burke then rose. He said that the signers were all men who manufactured for themselves; and he was authorized to say that they possessed more than five hundred thousand pounds of English property. He wished the prayer of that petition to be considered as the exordium of what he had to say to the House. He complained of the difficulties which in civil wars lay upon moderate men, who advised lenient measures; that their moderation was attributed to a want of zeal, and their fears for the publick safety to a want of spirit; that on this particular occasion whatever they said to incline the House to lenity was construed into a countenance of rebellion; and so many arts and so many menaces had been used, that if they had not been opposed with a good share of firmness by the friends to the peace of their country, all freedom of debate, and, indeed, all publick deliberation, would have been put an end to.

He said that, for his part, he was no way intimidated by all these machinations from doing his duty; and that nothing that could be threatened by those whose measures had brought this country into so deplorable a situation, should hinder him from using his best endeavours to deliver it from its distresses.

The first step for this purpose was to get out of general discourses, and vague sentiments, which, he said, had been one of the main causes of our present troubles, and to appreciate the value of the several plans that were or might be proposed by an exact detail of particulars.

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He stated that there were three plans afloat. First, simple war, in order to a perfect conquest. Second, a mixture of war and treaty. And, thirdly, peace grounded on concession.

As to the first plan, that of mere war, he observed, that it was proposed in two ways, the one direct by conquest, the other indirect, by distress. In either of these ways he thought it his duty, before he voted for a war, to know distinctly that the means of carrying it on were adequate to the end. It did not satisfy his conscience to say, that the resources of this nation were great; he must see them. That before he could trust to those resources on the credit of what had been formerly done, he must find the situation of the country to be what it formerly was.

He then examined what the Ministers had laid before the House as the means of carrying on the ensuing campaign. That as to the forces which they had made the House expect from his Majesty' s allies, all discourse of them had, for some time, entirely subsided; he could, therefore, take credit for nothing more on that account than a handful of Hanoverians, which only answered the purpose of an imperfect security to some of our foreign garrisons. That our national forces to be employed in America, by the account on the table, amounted to no more than twenty-six thousand men. In this, credit was taken for the army now in America at full numbers. He could not allow that estimate; as, supposing the reduction of the troops in future to be estimated by the past, they must be reduced to little or nothing by the beginning of next campaign. That the troops here are only upon paper, and the difficulty of recruiting was acknowledged. On the whole, he saw reason to apprehend that we should not be very materially stronger at the beginning of the next year than we were at the beginning of the last. He said the probable number of troops, whether national or foreign, weighed very little in his judgment; as he thought the circumstances of the country were such as would disable them from effecting anything like a conquest of it.

That as to the predatory, or war by distress, (on the nature of which he greatly enlarged,) he observed, that it might irritate a people in the highest degree; but such a war had never yet induced any one people to receive the government of another. That it was a kind of war adapted to distress an independent people, and not to coerce disobedient subjects.

But his great objection to it was, that it did not lead to a speedy decision. The longer our distractions continued, the greater chance there was for the interference of the Bourbon Powers, which, in a long protracted war, he considered not only as probable but in a manner certain. That he was very sure this country was utterly incapable of carrying on a war with America and these Powers acting in conjunction. He entered into a long and particular enumeration of all the dangers and difficulties which must attend such a war.

He stated the condition of France at the beginning of this century, and even within a few years, and compared it with her present situation. He observed that, from being the first, she was, with regard to effective military power, only the fifth State in Europe. That she was fallen below her former rank, solely from the advantages we had obtained over her; and that if she could humble us, she would certainly recover her situation. There was now an opportunity for her making herself, with very little hazard or difficulty, the first maritime Power in the world, and to invest herself with every branch of trade necessary to secure her in that preeminence. He admitted that, at present, there were circumstances (which he mentioned) that might prevent her from availing herself of this opportunity. But, he said, we must be mad to trust such an interest as ours to such a chance; and that they who presumptuously trust to the extraordinary providence of God, by acting without prudence or foresight, deserve to be abandoned by his ordinary protection.

He then observed, that as he saw no probability of success in the detail of any of the arrangements that were proposed, neither did he see anything of authority to induce him to believe that they would succeed; not one military or naval officer having given an opinion in its favour, and many of the greatest in both services having given their opinion directly against it.

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That as no man of military experience had vouched for the sufficiency of the force, so no man in the Commissariat would answer for its subsistence from the moment it left the seacoast; that, therefore, its subsistence and its operation were become incompatible.

To the objection, that at this rate the Americans might always bring us to unreasonable terms, by the supposed impossibility of reducing them by force, he said he could not help the difficulties which arose from nature and the constitution of things; that he could not make America nearer to us than it is; or a country of another nature than what God has made it. That people who cannot contrive to reconcile their quarrels, must suffer the evils that happen to a divided nation. That he was of opinion there was no dishonour at all in any kind of amicable adjustment of domestick quarrels; and he would rather yield a hundred points, when it was Englishmen who gave and received, than a single point to a foreign nation; and we were in such circumstances that we must yield to either one or the other.

After an examination of the merits of the first plan, that of reducing the Colonies to obedience by simple war, in order to a perfect conquest, he entered into a discussion of the second, namely, that of the mixture of war and treaty.

Among the great and manifest diversity of sentiments which prevailed on the Treasury bench, he thought he could discern that this plan had been the most generally adopted by Ministers, or those who acted as such. That no light, however, had been let in upon the particulars of the scheme, except in the speech from the Throne. It was, indeed, very little, and that little very fallacious. One would be inclined to think from that speech, that nothing had retarded the restoration of peace but a doubt whether those in arms might, upon laying them down, obtain a speedy pardon. However, the fact was, no pardon had been ever applied for. If nothing had been wanting to conclude the peace but such a power, the Commander-in-Chief might be authorized to hold out mercy to all those who should submit; and then there would be no need of the laborious, expensive, uncertain, and dilatory process of a Commission.

It was impossible to pass by the very exceptionable manner in which this power of pardoning was to be delegated: "They shall have authority (says the speech from the Throne) to grant general or particular pardons or indemnities, in such manner and to such persons as they shall think fit." A shocking, arbitrary power, not to be trusted to any persons, giving encouragement to dangerous partialities, and tending rather to distract than to quiet the country. That the rule of pardon, when delegated to subjects, ought not to be their pleasure or displeasure, but the compliance or non-compliance of the guilty with certain fixed conditions. That some such discretionary power as that mentioned in the speech seemed to be given already, and to have produced the mischiefs which might be expected from it; for that General Gage had already, whether by himself or by order from Ministers, made a very indiscreet use of it, by offering mercy to those who were openly in arms and actually besieging him in his station, and excluding from mercy those who were five hundred miles from him, and then sitting in an assembly never declared by authority to be illegal; an assembly from which the Ministers in the House of Commons had at one time declared they were not without hopes of proposals which might lead to accommodation. On this part of the speech from the Throne he animadverted with great severity.

He said he understood, that instead of the Americans waiting for pardons, they were to be persuaded by negotiation to accept them. Therefore it would be necessary to examine what body of men it was that Administration proposed to negotiate with, and what the objects of the negotiation were to be.

That if he did not mistake the discourses of Ministers, they did not now propose to negotiate with the present, or with any other General Congress or meeting, but with the several Assemblies distinctly. In this scheme, he said, they knew that they could not succeed; because there was one principal Province, that of Massachusetts-Bay, whose Assembly, under their charter, was destroyed by act of Parliament. That no Assembly would sit in that Province under the new Constitution, because, if it should, the inhabitants must, as a preliminary, yield the principal object for which

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they had taken up arms, and thus turn the negotiation against themselves, even before it should be opened. That this Province was the actual seat of war, as its sufferings had been the cause of the war itself. Treaty must, therefore, stumble upon the threshold.

That besides this objection, (which was fundamental,) a negotiation with so many Provinces, of such different Constitutions, tempers, and opinions, never could come to an end. In the meantime our hostile operations, with their whole train of disasters, accidents, and ruinous expenses, would be continued, to the destruction of this country and of that. That the hope of dividing the Colonies, on which this part of the plan was founded, and which was even avowed as a reason for adopting it, would be the most unfortunate thing that could happen; as it would protract the war, and complicate its horrors and miseries, without a possibility of ending it. It was, he said, a vain imagination, that any of the Colonies would take up arms in favour of Ministry for the execution of any of their plans; and that a part of the Colonies was sufficient at least to keep this war alive until the interference of foreign Powers should render it utterly destructive.

That with regard to the objects of the treaty, there must be concessions on the side of the Colonies, or upon ours, or upon both. That upon their side they must be either speculative recognitions of rights upon as large a scale as we had claimed them, and this it was absolutely certain they never would submit to; or upon a lesser, excluding taxation and its consequences, and this they had submitted to already; so that there seemed to be no object of the speculative kind, which made it necessary to postpone peace by a protracted negotiation.

That the other object of treaty might be a practical recognition of our right of taxing for a revenue; that this revenue was to be either nominal or beneficial; if only nominal, it amounted to nothing more than that speculative, acknowledgment of right, which we knew they would forever refuse to make. If beneficial and productive, it was to be either by submitting to Lord North' s proposition, namely, that of forcing them to furnish a contingent, by authority of Parliament; or, according to their ancient mode, by a voluntary grant of their own Assemblies.

If the former, we know, said he, they have already rejected that proposition, and never can submit to it, without: abandoning that point for the maintenance of which they have risked their all. If it only requires that they should resort to their ancient mode of granting by their Assemblies, they have declared again and again, from the beginning of this contest to the end, that they were willing to contribute according to their ability, as estimated by themselves, who were the best judges of what their ability was. That ability would be lessened, if not totally destroyed, by the continuance of those troubles. This armed negotiation for taxes would, therefore, inevitably defeat its own purposes; and prevent for ever the possibility of raising any revenue, either by our authority, or by that of their own Assemblies.

That if the Ministers treated for a revenue, or for any other purpose, they had but two securities for the performance of the terms: either the same force which compelled these terms; or the honour, sincerity, and good inclination of the people. If they could trust the people to keep the terms without force, they might trust them to make them without force. If nothing but force could hold them, and they meant nothing but independency, as the speech from the Throne asserted, then the House was to consider how a standing army of twenty-six thousand men, and seventy ships-of-war, could be constantly kept up in America. A people meaning independency will not mean it the less, because they have, to avoid a present inconvenience, submitted to treaty. That after all our struggles, our hold on America is, and must be, her good inclination. If this fails, all fails; and we had better trust to the honesty of the Colonies, before we had ruined ourselves, than after; before we had irritated them, than after we had alienated their affections for ever.

That the troops sent for the purpose of forwarding, would certainly impede the negotiation. That it was impossible the Provincials could be mad enough to lay down their arms, whilst a great adverse military power remained in their country, without any assurance whatsoever of their obtaining any one of the points for which they had contended. This would not be to negotiate, but to surrender at discretion. All the

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grievances they had complained of were contained in acts of Parliament. Lord North had declared very truly, that nobody could have power to negotiate for the repeal of an act of Parliament.

But if the Colonies should incline to put any confidence in the certain influence of Ministry over Parliament, even that grand confidence must fail them; as they cannot tell whether the same Ministers will continue in power; and that even at this very time, no two persons upon the Treasury bench were of the same opinion, on the conduct to be held towards America. Which of those opinions would finally prevail, no man living could divine. That this uncertainty might continue the armed negotiation for several years, to the utter ruin of both countries.

He gave many other equally strong reasons against the scheme; and concluded this part of his speech by observing, that although the mixed plan of war and negotiation could answer no good end in future, it might have a retrospective operation, to justify the Ministers in the use of their forcible proceedings. For force and concession going out together, if peace should be the result, Ministers would attribute the success, not to the concession, but to the force. So that all this delay, bloodshed and expense, was incurred merely to furnish Ministers with an excuse in debate. After going through the two first plans, he spoke to the third, (his own,) that of a concession previous to treaty. He observed, that as he put no great trust in any negotiation, and none at all in an armed negotiation, his idea was, to have very little treaty, and that little as short as possible. The House was therefore at that time to judge, whether it was necessary to make any concession to the Colonies: if it should appear to them that such concession was necessary, he was clearly of opinion that they ought to make it immediately, and of their own free grace. This he thought of more dignity with regard to themselves, and of much more efficacy with regard to the quiet of the Colonies, than the concession upon treaty which had been proposed.

He said, that the first ground of treaty must be confidence; and that the Colonies never could confide for the effect of any concession, (as he had shown in examining the foregoing plan) in a less assurance than that of Parliament itself.

He then showed, by a variety of instances, collected from the publick proceedings during the last ten years, how necessary it was that Government should be aided by Parliament in re-establishing that confidence which had been shaken by those proceedings, and that some firm ground should be laid as foundation for future peace.

He was of opinion, that this foundation of confidence was become the more necessary, from the constitution of the present Ministry. That in no time or country, or under any form of Government, was the power of Ministers suffered to survive the success of their counsels, or the same men permitted to inflame a dependant people to arms, and then to appease them by concessions. That the Duke of Alva would be a strange Plenipotentiary to have sent, for making the concessions which King Philip II proposed to the Netherlands. In concession, the credit of a State is saved by the disgrace of a Minister; because it is his counsel alone that is discredited. But when the same Ministers do and undo, in consequence of the resistance they meet, it is the nation itself that submits. Besides, he alleged that all treaty is more easy, and fewer concessions are required by all men, when they have a confidence in those they treat with.

He was convinced, that the mere removal of the offensive acts would have given satisfaction in former times, and from amicable hands. But now things are on another footing; and if more concession is required, it is because injudicious coercion has made it necessary. That he had always wished to preserve the legislative power of this kingdom entire in everything; and that it was with great grief he saw that even an odious and scarcely ever to be exercised part of it, was to be abandoned. But when the maxims of publick counsels are not steady, it is necessary that laws should supply the want of prudence. That it was thus, and for this reason, that limits had been set to absolute power in all countries; and that power (though not absolute) had been preserved, not destroyed by such limitations.

That we are now in a quarrel; and in putting an end to any quarrel, it is necessary to look to its origin; that the origin of this present difference had evidently been upon the subject of taxation. That an arrangement of this question,

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either by enforcement or concession, was a preliminary essential to peace. That the House ought to estimate the full value of the object to be conceded, before they agree to give it up. If they were of opinion that the taxation of America could repay them their expenses, or compensate their risks, they ought to pursue it. If, on the contrary, it was evident beyond all contradiction, and so evident as to enforce reiterated acknowledgments, that they never could enjoy a moment' s quiet as long as that matter of contention continued — it was then altogether as essential to the preservation of their own authority in all other points, as to the liberty of America and quiet of the whole empire, to give it up, with such limitations in the concessions, as the rights; of sovereignty required.

That the Parliament of Great Britain were not the representative, but (as Lord John Cavendish had said, some days before, with great truth and propriety) the sovereign of America. That the sovereignty was not in its nature an abstract idea of unity, but was capable of great complexity and infinite modifications, according to the temper of those who are to be governed, and to the circumstances of things; which being infinitely diversified, Government ought to be adapted to them, and to conform itself to the nature of things, and not to endeavour to force them. That although taxation was inherent in the supreme power of society, taken as an aggregate, it did not follow that it must reside in any particular power in that society. That in the society of England, for instance, the King is the Sovereign; but the power of the purse is not in his hands; and this does not derogate from his power in those things in which our Constitution has attributed power to him. If Parliament be the sovereign power of America, Parliament may, by its own act, for wise purposes, put the local power of the purse into other hands than its own, without disclaiming its just prerogative in other particulars.

That formerly, whatever this right might be to it, the Kings of England were in the practice of levying taxes by their own authority upon the people of England; they contended that the Crown, being charged with the publick defence, must be furnished also with the means of providing for it. That it would be absurd to commit a trust into the hands of one person, and to leave the power of executing it to depend upon the will of another. They therefore held, that this power was inseparable from the Crown; and in general they made use of the very arguments in favour of the King' s indefeasible right to tax the people of England, that are now used by the Parliament of England to tax the people of America. Notwithstanding all these arguments, one of the greatest of our Kings, by an express and positive act, cut off from the sovereign power this right of taxing. This act, which has been the foundation of the unity and happiness of England since that time; that is, the statute 34 Edward I, called Statutum de tallagio non concedendo, Mr˙ Burke made his pattern; and from thence (if his plan should be adopted) he hoped the same good effects in future. That this pattern statute was absolutely silent about the right, but confined itself to giving satisfaction in future; and that it laid down no general principles which might tend to affect the Royal prerogative in other particulars. That, in all human probability, the preservation of the other branches of the prerogative was owing to the clear and absolute surrender of this.

He then moved that the first, fourth, and fifth chapters of the statute De tallagio non concedendo might be read; which being done, he observed, that this statute consisted of three capital parts: a renunciation of taxing, — a repeal of all statutes which had been made upon a contrary principle, — and a general pardon. He then read his own bill, and showed its conformity to the spirit of that act, supposing Great Britain to stand in the place of the sovereign, and America in that of the subject. That the circumstances, are not indeed in every respect exactly parallel, but that they are sufficiently so to justify his following an example that gave satisfaction and security on the subject of taxes, and left all other rights and powers whatsoever exactly upon the bottom on which they stood before that arrangement had been made.

He then gave his reasons for not adopting the methods which (though not proposed in the House) had been frequently suggested in conversation, by several friends and well-wishers to America.

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And first, he mentioned the proposal for repealing the Declaratory Act of 1766. On this occasion he entered into the history of that act, the reasons for making of it, and the perfect acquiescence of the Colonies under it, until, by the renewal of the scheme of actual taxation, their apprehensions were roused, and they were taught to look with suspicion and terrour upon the unlimited powers of the British Legislature, That the repeal of a Declaratory Act was a thing impossible; for it was nothing less than to make the Legislature accuse itself of uttering propositions that were, false, and making claims that were groundless. That the disgrace of an English Parliament could add nothing to the security of American liberty; that, on the contrary, our inconstancy would become a bad ground of trust. That the Declaratory Act had been misrepresented, as if it had been the cause of the taxation; whereas the grand scheme of taxation had preceded the Declaratory Act, and not been the consequence of it. That the act has said nothing in particular of taxation, but is an affirmation of the universality of the legislative power of Great Britain over the Colonies. That if this act were repealed, it would be a denial of legislative power, as extensive as the affirmation of it in the act so repealed. That he was averse to doing anything upon speculations of right; because, when Parliament made a positive concession, the bounds of it were clear and precise; but when they made a concession founded in theory and abstract principles, the consequences of those principles were things out of the power of any Legislature to limit. That this bill gave as effectual a security against future taxation as any declaration of right could possibly do; and that it put American liberty, in that point, upon just as good a footing as English liberty itself.

He next considered the proposition for repealing all the acts since 1763. This he showed to be impossible, without ruining the whole system of the trade laws, and some of those laws also which are extremely beneficial to America. That all the laws which leaned upon the Colonies, and were the cause or consequence of the quarrel, were to be repealed in this bill, which made provision likewise for authorizing such a negotiation as might tend to the settlement of all those lesser matters to the mutual advantage of the parties. That the Congress did not require this sweeping repeal as a preliminary to peace; but that even if it had, he was for treating of peace with and making concession to the Colonies, and not receiving laws from them. That he did not conceive that when men come to treat of peace they must, of course, persevere in demanding everything which they claimed in the height of the quarrel. That the cause of quarrel was taxation; that being removed, the rest would not be difficult; for he denied that the desire of absolute independency was, or could be, general in the Colonies. It was so contrary to their clearest interests, provided their liberties were preserved, that, so far from disbelieving them when they denied such a design, he could scarcely credit them if they should assert it. He then stated five or six capital facts, to prove that independency neither was or could be their object.

He said, he was confident, both from the nature of the thing, and from information which did not use to fail him, that this bill would restore immediate peace, and as much obedience as could be expected after so rude a shock had been given to Government, and after so long a continuance of publick disturbances. That in this bill a basis was laid for such satisfaction in the minds of all sober people in America as would enable Government to fix and settle, if common prudence were employed in its future construction and management. That in the first operation it would be the true means of dividing America. Not the dangerous and fallacious method of dividing which had been proposed, and from which nothing but confusion could grow; not the division of Province from Province, or the rich from the poor, or the landed from the trading interest; but the division of the peaceable from the factious, the quiet from the ambitious, the friends to the unity of the empire from the projectors of independence. That this would put the standard of American liberty into the hands of the friends to British government; and when this was done, there was no doubt but that a sense of interest, natural affection, the dread of the horrors of war, and even the love of freedom itself, (bettor secured by such an act than by any schemes of hazardous

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speculation,) would leave the really factious very few followers or companions.

He then strongly urged the necessity of granting peace to our Colonies on terms of freedom; dilated largely on the uncertainty (to say no worse) of obtaining it upon any other; and the utter impossibility of preserving it in future, without setting the minds of the people at rest. He dwelt largely on the mischiefs which we must suffer by the continuance of this quarrel. He rested little on the consideration of trade and revenue; he put that out of the question, as a matter that would require a large discussion by itself; but chiefly aimed at showing that, in the progress of this business, new powers must be daily added to the Crown; so that in seeking to destroy the freedom of others, we may fail to obtain what we pursue, and in the pursuit may lose our own liberty. On this head he dwelt very largely, and concluded the whole with a warm and earnest address to the consciences of the members, and an exhortation not to trust to general good intention, and to an opinion that what they were doing was for the support of Government, when it was far from evident that, under the name of Government, it was not the ambition, the interest, the ignorance and obstinacy of particular men that they were supporting; that they were bound not to give confidence where rational grounds of confidence did not appear; and that anarchy instead of government, and civil confusion instead of peace and obedience, would be the consequence of an encouragement given by that House to a blind perseverance in measures which were not conceived with wisdom, or conducted with ability.

He moved, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill for composing the present troubles, and for quieting the minds of his Majesty' s subjects in America."

The following is a copy of the Bill.

"Whereas, by the blessing of Almighty God, and the industry, enterprise, and courage, of several of the people of this realm, extensive and valuable territories have been acquired in America to the Crown of Great Britain, which are now inhabited by great multitudes of his Majesty' s subjects, who have cultivated and improved the same for the most part at their own charges, to the great increase of the commerce and naval strength of this kingdom, and have also, of their own free gift, made provision for the support of the civil Government within their said plantations, have maintained many expensive wars against the Indian nations, and have, at sundry times, granted large sums of money, and other very considerable aids to his Majesty and his royal predecessors, to support them against the enemies of this kingdom; notwithstanding which, the inhabitants of the said Colonies have been made liable to several taxes given and granted in Parliament, for the purpose of raising a revenge, when they have had no Knights or Burgesses, or others of their own choosing, to represent them in Parliament; and from the great distance of the said Colonies from this land, and other impediments, are not able conveniently to send Representatives to the said Parliament, whereby the said inhabitants of the British Colonies have conceived themselves to be much aggrieved, and thereby great troubles have arisen, and are likely to continue, if a fitting remedy be not provided: Wherefore, we pray your Majesty that it may be enacted and declared, and it is hereby enacted and declared, by, &c˙, &c˙, &c˙,

"That no aid, subsidy, tax, duty, loan, benevolence, or any other burden or imposition whatsoever, shall be granted, laid, assessed, levied, or collected, upon the inhabitants of any Colony or Plantation in America, by the authority, or in virtue of any act of Parliament, or in any other manner, or by any other authority, than the voluntary grant of the General Assembly, or General Court of each Colony or Plantation, and which shall be assented to by his Majesty' s Governour, and otherwise confirmed according to the usage of each Province respectively, any law, statute, custom, right, prerogative, or any other matter whatsoever, to the contrary notwithstanding. Saving to his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, his right of reserving and collecting quitrents, and other his ancient dues and revenues, and all other duties and taxes by this act not repealed, and saving and reserving to all proprietors and charter-companies their ancient rights, privileges, and possessions.

"Providedalways,, That nothing in this act shall extend, or be construed to extend, to restrain the future imposition

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and levy of duties and taxes for the regulation of trade and commerce in all the dominions to the Imperial Crown of this realm belonging.

"And, in order to remove all doubt and uneasiness from the minds of his Majesty' s subjects in the Colonies, it is hereby further enacted, that if any act of Parliament shall be hereafter made for the purpose of such regulation or trade, the produce of the duties thereby laid shall be held by the collectors, or receivers of his Majesty' s Customs, for the disposal of the General Assemblies, as if the same had been levied by the authority of the several General Assemblies in the said Colonies.

"And whereas, during these troubles, the Assemblies, or inhabitants of the said Colonies, have formed a general meeting, which said meeting was not authorized by law to make any order or resolution, or to do any other act of force, to bind his Majesty' s subjects: And whereas it may be necessary that the said Colonies should have authority to do certain acts by common consent, which should include the whole body of the said Colonies:

"Be it therefore enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty, his heirs and successors, to give authority to his Governours in America, to require the said several Assemblies to send deputies to a general meeting, with full powers to bind their said several Provinces to all acts done by a majority of voices in the said general meeting, which meeting, and the powers thereof, shall cease and determine on ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ if not further continued by Parliament.

"And whereas, in consequence of the late troubles, several acts of Parliament have been made for the purpose of coercing and restraining the Colonies, of which an advantage has been taken to represent the same, as if a design had been formed to deprive the people of the said Colonies of several rights, benefits, and advantages of nature, and of the British Constitution, which hath greatly increased the discontents of the Colonies, and fomented the troubles in America: In order, therefore, to quiet the minds of his Majesty' s subjects in America, and to reclaim the disobedient by that lenity which ought to have the strongest operation on the minds of free subjects, Be it enacted, That an act made in the seventh year of his present Majesty, intituled "An Act for granting certain duties in the British Colonies and Plantations in America, for allowing a drawback of the duties of customs upon the exportation from this kingdom of coffee and cocoa-nuts, of the produce of the said Colonies or Plantations; for discontinuing the drawbacks payable on China earthenware exported to America; and for more effectually preventing the clandestine running of goods in said Colonies and Plantations;" also, one other act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled "An Act to discontinue in such manner, and for such time, as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the Town, and within the Harbour of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, in North-America;" also one other act, made in the fourteenth year of his present Majesty, intituled "An Act for the impartial administration of justice in cases of persons questioned for any acts done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England;" also, one other act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled "An Act for the better regulating the government of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England," be hereby severally and respectively repealed.

"And the King' s most excellent Majesty, taking into his gracious consideration the great troubles, discords, and wars, that have of late been in some of his Majesty' s Colonies in America, and that divers of his subjects are, by occasion thereof, and otherwise, fallen into, and become obnoxious to great pains and penalties, — out of a hearty and pious desire to put an end to all suits and controversies, that by occasion of the late distractions in America have arisen, or may arise, between his subjects; and to the intent, that no crime whatsoever, committed against his Majesty, shall hereafter rise in judgment, or be brought in question, against any of them, to the least endamagement of them, either in their lives, liberties, or estates, or to the prejudice of their reputations; and to bury all seeds of future discords and remembrance of

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the former, as well in his own breast, as in the breasts of his subjects, one towards another; is graciously pleased, that it may be enacted, and be it enacted, &c˙, &c˙,

"That all, and all manner of treasons, misprisions of treasons, murders, felonies, offences, crimes, contempts, and misdemeanors, counselled, commanded, acted, or done, since the ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙, by any person or persons in America, before the ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ by virtue or colour of any command, power, authority, commission, warrant, or instruction, from his Majesty, or from any other person or persons, deriving or pretending to derive authority, mediately or immediately, from his Majesty, or of or from any Assembly, Council, General Court, Convention, Congress, or Meeting, in any of his Majesty' s Colonies in America, called or reputed, or taking on them the name of the Assembly, Council, or General Court, of any of his Majesty' s Colonies in America, or of a General Congress, or Provincial Congress, or any other name or style whatsoever, or by virtue or colour of any writ, commission, or instruction of or from any person or persons reputed, or taken to be, or claiming or exercising the power of Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in America, or of any Provincial Army, or commander of any army, or body of troops, whatsoever, within any of his Majesty' s Colonies in America, by sea or land, or of any Magistrate or officer, within any of the said Colonies, or by any pretence, warrant, or command, whatsoever, from them, or any of them, or their, or any of their respective Council or Councils, or any member of such Council or Councils, or from any person or persons whatsoever, deriving, or pretending to derive authority from them, or any of them, be pardoned, released, indemnified, discharged, and put in utter oblivion.

"And that all and every the person and persons, acting, advising, assisting, abetting, and counselling the same, they, their heirs, executors, and administrators, be, and are hereby pardoned, released, acquitted, indemnified, and discharged from the same; and of and from all pains of death, and other pains, judgments, indictments, informations, convictions, attainders, outlawries, penalties, escheats, and forfeitures, and every of them, and all grants thereupon made, and all estates derived under the same, be, and are hereby declared and enacted to be, from henceforth null and void; extinguishing all actions, suits, demands, and prosecutions, civil or criminal, publick or private, except for the restoration or such estates as have been, or shall be, seized from the owners during the troubles; and for restoring to the said owners the mean profits of the same. Provided, that arms not taken up by big Majesty' s authority shall be laid down by our subjects in the said Provinces within ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ."

The Hon. R˙ B˙ Walsingham seconded Mr˙ Burke' s motion.

Mr˙ Welbore Ellis replied to Mr˙ Burke; and urged that the greater disposition Great Britain showed towards conciliation, the more obstinate, rebellious, and insolent America would become.

Sir George Savile supported the motion, which not only involved in it the liberties of America, but even those of Great Britain; for it would be the height of credulity and madness to expect that Britain could long retain her Constitution inviolate, if America were reduced to a state of unconstitutional subjection. The Ministers have often said they do not know what America wants, for that she is every day rising in her demands. He could very easily imagine the leading people of America, the Congress to be like the Ministry — a number of men perhaps not thoroughly united. We have the noble Lord, [North,] who is one day for conciliation; but as soon as the first word is out, he is checked and controlled, and, instead of conciliation, out comes confusion. He declared, upon his word, the noble Lord' s character and frankness ought not to be so treated. He is used as if he were meant to be made a fool of. He could suppose the people in the Congress pulling different ways, as they do here. Now, said he, suppose we are the Congress. The leading men sit there, (pointing to the Treasury Bench,) for instance; the learned gentleman, [Mr˙ Wedderburn,] for his quiet and temperate character, spirit of moderation, deep philosophy, love of liberty and his country, I will suppose is Dr˙ Franklin. I have fixed upon him, besides, as his particular friend. His neighbour, [Lord G˙ Germaine,) is General Putnam. His next neighbour

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[Lord North] is Mr˙ Adams. And there is a gentleman there I can suppose to be Mr˙ Hancock — I beg your pardon, Mr˙ Speaker, (bowing to the Speaker,) you are Mr˙ Hancock. Now, I will suppose all these great men got together; and our Dr˙ Franklin to take up the defence of the Colonies, with all that wit and eloquence of which he is master. I will only suggest the topicks upon which he would talk. [Here Sir George put all the strongest words and arguments in defence of America into the mouth of this supposed Dr˙ Franklin, and went on in the same manner with the other supposed persons.]

Sir Grey Cooper insisted that the surest means of amicably adjusting the differences between the two countries, and settling their respective rights on a solid basis, would be to show that any concession on our part proceeded from our love of justice, not from any dread of the resistance we might probably meet with in the execution of our designs; the stronger we were, therefore, the more dignity and effect our negotiations would have.

Lord Ossory was for the motion. He disapproved of the dangerous experiment of fomenting a civil war, and the obstinacy, if not worse, of prosecuting it at so great a risk, and at such enormous expense.

Mr˙ Henry Dundas was against America, and in support of the power of the State, and the supreme legislative authority of Parliament.

Lord John Cavendish was for the motion, and severe upon the Ministers, particularly upon the want of union among themselves. He said it was one day peace, another war; one day it was the commerce only of America that was worth preserving; next day everything was to be sacrificed to the supreme, undefined authority of Parliament; and the last day, (upon the land tax,) he perceived the Minister returned to his former ground, and absolutely and expressly contended for the right of taxation, the exercise of that right, and that, too, for the purpose of raising a revenue, in order to lighten the burdens of this country.

The Hon˙ Mr˙ Fitzpatrick was for the motion. He declared his good opinion of the gentlemen in Administration, with whom he had acted till that day; that he now must differ from them, because he was convinced their measures were ruinous, and the object impracticable.

Mr˙ Adam was against the motion, Mr˙ Sawbridge for it, and Colonel Onslow against it.

Mr˙ T˙ Townshend was for the motion. He arraigned and condemned Administration in severe terms.

Governour Pownall was sorry that the House had gone into the question of the right of taxation on a proposition which, waiving that question, was moved solely on the ground of expediency. The gentleman who moved it had studiously avoided touching upon the right, and yet the House had been now near seven hours talking upon a subject which had nothing to do with the question of the day. He was sorry to find that this discussion had been carried on with mutual reproaches of parties. So long (said he) as the House will dwell upon this point, and so long as parties shall be, as they always are on this point, more solicitous to discriminate their own principles, to defend the rectitude and consistency of their particular line of conduct, in reprobation of that of others, we never can come to any real settlement of this matter.

It seems now, at length, high time to say something to the matter proposed, and to the real question before you. He said if he had risen earlier in the day to speak, he should have followed the honourable gentleman through the whole of his reasoning, as well as examined the proposition with which he concluded; but now, after so long a debate, and at so late an hour, he should confine himself simply to the proposition. In the stating of it, he begged the attention of the gentleman, that, if he misstated it, he might be corrected.

The honourable gentleman has stated this business as lying in three lines of consideration, or three plans, on which it might be taken up. The first was direct war; the second, a mixture of war and negotiation; and, thirdly, his plan of concession previous to all treaty, that is, concessions made as preliminaries to peace. The first part of his speech endeavours to prove that war was impracticable; his second part was taken up to show that the mixed plan, as he calls it, must be a series of fruitless perplexities. He says it was necessary to dispose of these two ideas first, that he might

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make way for the third — his own plan. In his manner of doing it he has justified the propriety of moving the previous question; because, sir, if his plan cannot be considered till the next plan, which he supposes to be the Minister' s plan, is disposed of, we ought to know, first, what that plan is, and not be satisfied with his disposing of a phantom of his own raising, which he supposes to be that plan. The speech from the Throne informs us that there is some plan of pacification: we may take assurance that the Ministers must lay that before us; according, therefore, to the honourable gentleman' s own method prescribed, we must dispose of that before we can come to the consideration of his plan. But if there was not that reason, from his own idea of the method of proceeding, I cannot but think it decent to consider, first, that plan, (of which the speech from the Throne has given the first notice,) and not to suffer it to be anticipated by the intervention of any previous plan. If that gentleman had, on any occasion, given notice that he would offer to the House propositions on any particular subject, and if, after such notice, any other gentleman should endeavour to anticipate him by getting a previous day, I would certainly, in such case, move the previous question on that gentleman' s motion, as I shall on this of the honourable gentleman to-day.

He says, sir, such is the state of this American business that we must either change their sentiments by negotiation, or subdue the rising spirit; that we cannot subdue the spirit which is up by war; that we cannot change it by any negotiation which, while war lasts, we can enter into; we must, therefore, previously make concessions; we must disavow our declaration, repeal our acts, sue for peace, and the Americans will give it to us on his plan; we must previously regain their confidence "by removing the ground of difference," On the plan he proposes, we shall restore the former unsuspecting confidence of the Colonies. This, sir, is the very question now before you. Let us, then, consider the concessions which he proposes, and examine, by the best rule and only judge in this case, experience, what effect these concessions will have. He says that as the Americans did, on the repeal of the Stamp Act, resign themselves to their unsuspecting confidence, and were perfectly satisfied, so will they now, if his plan is adopted; and he has read from the Journals of the Congress their words as his authority: but as he has not read all their words, nor all the sentence, let us see how the whole stands: "After the repeal of the Stamp Act, (say they,) having again resigned ourselves to our ancient unsuspicious affections for the parent State, and anxious to avoid any controversy with her, in hopes of a favourable alteration in sentiments and measures towards us, we did not press our objections against the above-mentioned statutes made subsequent to that repeal." So far, then, it appears, from having no suspicions, they had objections; objections to acts passed subsequent to the repeal; and these acts are specified in their resolves and proceedings to be acts of 1766 — the Declaratory Act, and the act for granting duties in lieu of others repealed. When, sir, instead of alterations of sentiments and measures towards them, one law was made, (proposed by this gentleman' s friends,) declaring a power to bind them in all cases whatsoever; and one other, reciting that although it was proper to repeal certain rates and duties on account of their inexpediency, yet it was necessary to grant others in lieu of them to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, to be paid into the Exchequer and reserved for the future disposal of Parliament; their content vanished, they relapsed into their suspicions, they began to come forward with their objections, and the New-York Petition was the first symptom of this. But, sir, they not only were not, in fact, but they could not, on the principles from which they opposed our system, be content. They objected to all laws laying duties for the express purpose of a revenue. The 6th George III˙, chapter 52, granted duties to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, to be paid as a revenue into the Exchequer, and to be there at the disposal of Parliament. Many laws, prior to this period, gave and granted duties, and appropriated them to the purpose of a revenue.

We have heard much of the Act of Navigation; and, by some mistake, gentlemen under that idea refer to the Act of Trade of the 25th Car˙ II. The Act of Navigation directs that all the commerce of the Colonies shall be carried on in British shipping, and enumerates a certain number of articles

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of the produce of the Plantations, which are to be brought to England only. The Act of Trade says that there shall be answered and paid to your Majesty, if bond shall not be first given to bring such commodities to England, the rates there specified. Here we find the precise idea of duties laid as a regulation of trade. But in the year 1696, in King William' s reign, we find, for the first time, these duties converted into a revenue; they are directed to be paid, whether bond be given or not. Revenue officers, under the directions of the Lord High Treasurer, are established. If, therefore, we are to repeal all acts which grant duties as revenue, in 1696, not in 1764, was the system changed. If, therefore, on that principle we go back to 1763, we must of necessity go back to 1672. But lest gentlemen should doubt whether duties granted to his Majesty were ever before 1764 appropriated to revenue, let them refer to the Civil List Act of 1st George I˙, there they will find that the Plantation duties which, by the 25th Car˙ II, "were granted to his Majesty, his heirs and successors forever, shall be brought and paid into the receipt of the Exchequer, for the purposes in this act expressed," namely, the forming a fund for the Civil List.

But, sir, before this time the tax of six pence a month laid upon all American seamen, and always paid by them, was laid in King William' s time, for the purpose of augmenting the revenues of Greenwich Hospital.

The Americans require the repeal of the Post Office Act of the 5th George III; that act, sir, laid no new duties, it made new regulations; but it was the Post Office Act of 10th Anne which granted duties in America, for the purpose of enabling her Majesty to carry on the war.

It appears, therefore, as they were not, so they could not, be content with what was done in 1766.

But to come to the precise proposition of this day: It is a proposal of a bill formed on the resolutions which the gentleman moved last year; and that proposition, although grounded, first, on the complaint which the Americans make of their grievances; second, on the declaration of their rights; and third, on the plan of the preliminaries which they throw out; although they require, as such preliminary, that we should go back to 1763, that proposition does not extend to a full remedy of their grievances, and to their idea of their rights; it does not go even to 1763, it goes only back to 1766. It is very ready to repeal every act except the acts of the Administration of that gentleman' s friends. The Declaratory Act is not to be repealed. The Revenue Act of the 6th George III is not to be repealed. Let us first see what the effect of this plan of concession made last year was: It came last year in resolutions, it is now formed into a bill. Why, sir, since this plan was proposed, the Congress, reiterating their demand of the repeal of all the acts of revenue and restriction since 1763, specify particularly the Declaratory Law, and the Revenue Act of 1766. After having recited fifteen heads of grievances, hear what they say in their own words: "But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute it is declared that Parliament of right bind us in all cases whatsoever. What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power?"

Upon the effect which this plan has had last year we may fairly put the issue of the effect that may be expected from it this year, especially when this year we find in the preliminaries of the Congress the removal of the troops as well as concessions, which does not make part of this gentleman' s plan. Whatever expectations that gentleman may have of confidence from the Americans, in consequence of this plan, he may be assured, that while the Americans are very willing to avail themselves of the assistance of him and his friends, other persons will have their confidence. The gentleman and his friends bid as low as they can in conscience go; but others have bid lower: some are ready to go back to 1763; others think you should go still further. The Americans expect that we should go further; for see on what ground they put themselves, when they ask only the repeal of the revenue and restrictive laws passed since 1763. Take it in their own words:

"Resolved, That the Congress do confine themselves at present to the consideration of such rights as have been infringed since the year 1763, postponing the further consideration of the general state of American rights to a future day."

From the first spring of this sad business, having been for modes of policy in preference to measures of force, I

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have always thought, and invariably said, that your system called for revision and amendment; I have been against all partial concession and repeals. I think it should be laid on some basis which is solid and may be permanent; on such whereon the liberties of America being fixed, the sovereignty of the empire might be established. Repeals upon every partial complaint, and concessions upon every clamour, is not the way: this would produce nothing but endless successions of quarrels, and patching up of those quarrels. Induciae, bellum, pax rursum. It should be taken up on some great and general system. And such I now expect, and shall therefore, although I give no negative, move the previous question on any parts of a scheme moved on partial grounds, that of previous concessions.

But to consider the purport of the bill itself. Although it is grounded on the complaints of the American grievances, and of the violation of their rights, it does not go to the redress and remedy. They complain of laws laying duties and granting them for the express purpose of revenue; yet it goes only back to the year 1766. You have seen that the remedy, to be real and efficient, must carry us back to 1672. They complain of the Admiralty jurisdiction: now that, sir, is as old as the Act of Navigation. By that act, ships navigated contrary to law were to be seized, might be brought to the Court of Admiralty in England, on the express principle that there should be no party juries. For the ease, and not the aggrieving of the subject, Courts of Admiralty were afterwards established in the Colonies; and all this system stood established before the period of 1764. To my argument it is nothing how far this is right or wrong, grievous or otherwise: but the Americans complain of it as a grievance; and if the bill which is to redress their grievance, and to concede to their complaints, must go to the bottom; if it means or hopes to gain their confidence, — this bill does not go far enough; there are others who are willing to go farther.

On this ground, he said that the present proposition would not produce the effect it proposed; that it was but a part of a system proposed as an expedient, or rather an experiment to a partial purpose. On the assurance that this business of America would be now taken up on some great and general system in the whole, and the speech had announced some plan, which, from the method adopted by the honourable gentleman, should be disposed of first, he moved the previous question.

Lord George Germaine said, as he had held but one conduct in this American business, as he had been direct and explicit in that conduct, he now entered into office on the same principles, on the same line of conduct; and he hoped he should be always found decisive, direct, and firm in it. On the point of the legislative authority of this country, he should always maintain that sovereignty which was established and founded on the Constitution. On the point of taxation, although he should never concede the right, he should never object to the withholding the exercise of it, if other modes could be adopted. But if we are to have no peace unless we give up the right, the contest is brought to a fair issue; we are equal to the contest; our internal resources are great; and we can never despair of that assistance which we may want.

Gentlemen call for answers to several questions: I stand forth, as far as my judgment can, and my advice goes, to give an answer. Are we, say some gentlemen, to give up taxation? Are we to have no American revenue? I do hope we shall; I trust we shall draw a revenue from America. Whether that shall be by the exercise of our right of taxation, or whether by any other mode, I do not think material. If the Americans, willing to join their aid to the common supply, and willing to share our common burdens with us, can propose any mode which will make them easy, which will remove their fears and jealousies, I shall be ready to adopt it. I wish they were in the situation of the year 1763, if the Government of this country was so likewise. If our present system is wrong, let us avow it, consider, and rectify it. They have a right to every liberty which they can enjoy, consistent with the sovereignty and supremacy of this country. Let them be happy. Nobody can wish them more so than I do. But I have never changed my opinion as to the legislative supremacy of this country. What I have always held, I now stand in office to maintain. To the questions, What force is necessary? What

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do you mean to send? I answer, that the officers serving on the spot, those especially commanding, are the proper judges. What they, upon a full state of the service, think necessary, as far as my advice can go, shall be sent; not to be insulted. Such forces as are necessary to restore, maintain, and establish the power of this country in America, will not be wanting.

Much has been said about the plan of sending Commissioners. My idea of that measure is, that they should not only have power to pardon, but to inquire into grievances; and if the Americans, returning to a sense of their duty, should offer terms, (not with arms in their hands,) they should be empowered to consider, and, on their submission, to take off those penal restrictions under which, from the nature of their conduct, the Americans now lie. If, by opening a door to retreat, the Crown tries to induce them to lay down their arms, what can it do more? If they persist in their appeal to force, the force of the country must be exerted. The spirit of this country will go along with me in that idea, to suppress, to crush such rebellious resistance. As to the gentleman' s proposition, I think it has been fully proved that it would not answer the expectation of those in America, whose confidence he meant to gain; that it does not go so far as they expected; nor so far as some here would go; and previous concessions, as gratuitous preliminaries, whether accepted or not, without anything offered on their part, would put us on worse ground, and remove the matter still further from the conciliation he proposes. I am, therefore, ready to give my negative to it, or rather, to join in the previous question.

Mr˙ Fox was for the motion, and very severe upon Administration. With infinite wit and readiness, he gave a description of the Treasury Bench, beginning with Mr˙ Ellis, and ending with Mr˙ Cornwall, by a single epithet happily marking the characters of each of them, with fine satire, and without the least breach of decorum.

The Solicitor-General [Mr˙ Wedderburn,] in answer to Mr˙ Fox, defended Administration in a fine vein of oratory. And in answer to an observation of Mr˙ Burke upon the conduct of Demosthenes, he entered upon classical ground, and with consummate eloquence and accuracy of recollection, descanted upon the history of that period, with allusion to the present times. His speech was a restoration to the House; and though it was three o' clock in the morning, awakened the attention of every man in it.

General Conway replied to the last speaker, and showed, in a variety of instances, the futility of his arguments.

Mr˙ Graves seconded the motion for the previous question.

Lord North. I declare, that if I thought the motion would procure that conciliation which the honourable gentleman who made it has held out, I should be staggered. But it has appeared that this line of concession will not procure it; and it has been clearly marked to you, that this line is not sufficient. Therefore were I of opinion with the honourable mover as to repealing all the acts he mentions, as I am as to some of them, these concessions would not procure the end he proposes, but put us upon still worse ground, and remove us farther from any conciliation this country can agree to. I think, for instance, that those penal and restrictive acts which have been indefinite as to the term of their operation should be repealed, and the matter and purport of them thrown into one general act, framed to be enforced during the continuance of the war. The honourable gentleman [Mr˙ Burke] has in his bill proposed to empower the King to call a Congress in America. He has that power: has done it before, and may do it at any time. Besides, the proposed bill confines the power of the Crown to treat only with the Congress; therefore his Majesty can treat with nobody else, if there were any persons disposed to offer terms of submission.

A little before four o' clock in the morning the previous question was put, "That the question be now put:"

The House divided.

The noes went forth:

Tellers for the yeas,
Earl of Upper Ossory,
Mr˙ Fox,
105.

Tellers for the noes,
Sir Grey Cooper,
Mr˙ John St˙ John,
210.

So it passed in the negative.

Notes

nts

* No Englishman, except the members, were admitted during this debate; the only strangers in the gallery were four women of quality, and a few foreigners. — London Morning Chronicle.