Duke of Richmond' s motion


The Duke of Richmond then rose, and said he would show the necessity of an immediate reconciliation between Great Britain and her Colonies. That the Colonists were disposed to an amicable adjustment of differences was evident from the very last petition which had been presented from the Congress to the King. The prayer of that petition was, "for a restoration of peace," and it was pressed home on the consideration of Parliament by the language it was clothed in, which was that of dutiful submission to the sovereignty of Great Britain, as far as the sovereignty was compatible with those rights secured to freemen by the Constitution of the empire. This, and infinitely more might be said in behalf of the restoration of peace, that It was the object panted after by one, and it was the only thing conducive to the happiness of both of the belligerent Powers. Should the war be pertinaciously pursued, what, unless carnage, desolation, an augmentation of expense, and every evil resulting from civil discord, were to be expected? If the conquest of America was the measure proposed, in his apprehension the difficulties resulting from the attempt were of such a magnitude as hardly to be surmounted in the given state of things. The Americans, whether they had or had not the courage to make use of arms, were at least expert in the mode of using them. They had resources within themselves for the subsistence of their armies, and they were intimately acquainted with all the passes and defiles throughout their country. On the other hand, an army transported from England to America had subsistence to seek for on the spot, or must wait in expectation of succours from Great Britain, To any Peer who had consulted the state of the country, it must be evident that there was one almost insuperable difficulty with which an army would have to struggle: America abounded with vast rivers; the rapidity of the currents rendered the construction of bridges so insecure, as hitherto to dissuade the inhabitants from the futility of the attempt. An army, therefore, would find those rivers so many natural barriers against every effort they might make to penetrate the interior parts of the country. But admitting the army advanced to any given spot


conjecture might choose to specify; was it certain that, by the conquest of this or that town, the spirit of the people would be broken, or the ferocity of their passion for liberty restrained within just such bounds of decorum as Parliament might prescribe? If this could not be ensured, the depopulation of villages, or the levelling of towns, were triumphs which cruelty only could delight in, or a thirst for blood propose. What proofs, however, had we to exhibit, that even our arms would be attended with such success as to carry fire and sword undefeated throughout the continent? The troops under the command of General Gage had acted bravely; but what victory had they achieved? The unhappy affair at Lexington evinced, that those regiments which were to "look" the Americans into subjection, did not altogether carry such terrour m their countenances. Hence, in his judgment, from the specimens already afforded; from considering the state of the country on the one hand, the disposition of the people on the other, and the various accumulating difficulties attending the subsistence of the army, in proportion as it was further advanced from the mart of supplies — all these circumstances collectively taken, formed grounds sufficient to pronounce on the impracticability of the conquest.

But laying aside for one moment the practicability of conquest, whither were we to turn our eyes for that colossal army by which the reduction of America was to be effected? The noble Duke had heard of twenty thousand Russians. This might be mere matter of report; but as Ministry did not think it expedient to afford Parliament any solid information, report was all that Peers now had to debate on. There was such a fluctuation of men, though no change of measures, that it was impossible for him to conjecture to whom he should apply for information. Whether or not the noble Lord in red [Lord Lyttelton] was now a Minister of the day, could not with certainty be pronounced; if the Peer alluded to was in the secrets of Government, he might possibly indulge the House with some information respecting the twenty thousand Russians intended to be sent against America. In the interim, the noble Duke thought it by no means inexpedient to state the expensiveness of the measure, as a principal reason why it should be reprobated. The transportation of twenty thousand Russians would cost Government five hundred thousand pounds. An equal number of British troops should be sent at the same period, or Ministry might find that the Russians, instead of conquering America for England, would take possession of it themselves, in virtue of that law of conquest, acknowledged by all freebooters. That the Russians would gladly emigrate to America, no person could doubt who was in the smallest degree acquainted with the dispositions of those people. Shoals of Cossacks were continually deserting their country, to seek more comfortable settlements in the north of China: seventy thousand of these Cossacks, proceeding on such a plan, had lately bidden adieu to the Russian empire. It could not, therefore, be imagined, that twenty thousand Russians would have the least objection to be sent, free of expense, to America; but there was much reason to suspect, that, when there, they might think the advantages resulting from submitting to the American Congress preferable to those they could derive from defending the measures of a British Parliament.

His Grace next treated the plan of sending live stock to Boston, in order to supply the King' s troops with fresh meat, with great ridicule, and showed the difficulties the army would have to encounter, supposing they should be able to penetrate into the country: a close country in some places, in others abounding in forests and underwoods, intersected by deep and broad rivers; but, above all, a country where every bush would conceal an enemy; where the cultivated parts would be laid waste, and the army, (if any army could march or subsist,) would be obliged to draw all its provisions from Europe, and all its fresh meat from Smithfield market. Supposing, then, that the troops had scarcely anything to impede their progress, yet the necessity of carrying along with them everything they wanted, through a country thus rendered a desert, would give birth to such an innumerable train of difficulties, as no General, however experienced, would be able to obviate; nor no troops, however brave, be able to surmount. To this picture he contrasted the contents of the paper now on their Lordships' table — the Petition from the Continental Congress to the King — which breathes nothing but loyalty and obedience to his Majesty,


and submission to the constitutional claims of Parliament. Here his Grace referred to several passages, expressive of those sentiments, and again alluded to several parts of the evidence in affirmance of their sincerity; and concluded by drawing a picture of the various blessings that would, be derived, and the innumerable evils that would be averted, should their Lordships think proper to take the Petition into consideration, on the foot of deeming it a proper foundation of treaty and concession. His Grace then moved,

"That the matter of the said Petition affords ground of conciliation of the unhappy differences subsisting between the mother country and the Colonies; and that it is highly necessary that proper steps be immediately taken for attaining so desirable an object."

The Earl of Dartmouth contended, it was impossible to recognise the Petition which was the subject of the present motion, without at the same instant relinquishing the sovereignty of the British Parliament. It was no longer a question, about taxation, about the quantum to be raised, or the mode of raising it; it was not the conquest, but the allegiance of the Colonies, which Administration were desirous of obtaining. In estimating the force necessary for the subjugation of America, as well as in stating the necessity of immediate conciliation, the noble Duke had proceeded on the supposition of there being two equal belligerent Powers engaged in a contest which it was the interest of both to have decided by accommodation. Had the noble Duke purposely forgotten that the belligerent Power, whose prowess he had so much extolled, was composed of subjects, now in open rebellion against the parent State? In proportion as the Americans were more capable of resistance, the virtue of abstaining from such an unjustifiable conduct, would have been more conspicuous. To extol, therefore, the power of the Colonists, was only to heighten the degree of their guilt in exerting that power against the very state which had afforded them protection through an age of infancy, and had nurtured them to manhood at the expense of blood and treasure. The noble Lord adverted to a question which had been propounded to Mr˙ Penn, respecting "the silence of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, when the Petition from the Congress to the King was delivered for presentation." It had been remarked, with some degree of surprise, that not a syllable of answer had been returned. Was not silence in matters of this nature perfectly conformable to the usage of office? Was it not a fact of notoriety, that the King is not expected to give an answer to any Petition, unless presented to him on the throne? It would have been highly indecent, therefore, in the Secretary, to have given an answer unauthorized. If the silence was construed into a disapprobation of the Petition, it was, in the noble Lord' s opinion, a very justifiable construction. The Petition, in terms, was unexceptionable, but there was every reason to believe that the softness of the language was purposely adopted to conceal the most traitorous designs. Did it become the offending party to dictate the terms on which peace would be accepted?

The Earl of Shelburne began with observing, that this was not a time to enter into the conduct of the Americans on the one hand, or that of Ministers on the other; yet he could not think it possible but that a day must come, when the conduct of Ministers would be inquired into. For the arrival of that day his Lordship reserved himself; in the interim, he could not return to his habitation with an approving sense of having discharged his duty, without delivering those sentiments which, after making up his mind on the subject, he professed to flow from the principles of his heart. His Lordship entirely concurred with the motion; he adopted the Petition from the Congress to the King, as affording grounds of conciliation: he closed with those grounds, and he thought Administration should do the same, for this, amongst other cogent reasons — because there remained no other alternative.

In his apprehension, there were only two obstacles which could be urged against the motion for accepting the Petition from the Congress as a basis for reconciliation. It might be urged, in the first place,

That to yield to the proposal of the Colonists was to give up the point of taxation.

In the next place it might be censured,

As derogating from the dignity of Parliament to treat with an assembly not legalized as a Congress.


The first objection was nugatory. It was not in the order of time to urge such an objection. The point of taxation had repeatedly been given up, even by the Ministers themselves. To make that an obstacle, which had been already yielded as of no avail, was to conjure up the phantom of an objection, for the purpose of combating the substance of truth. The right of taxation had, from the first, been chimerical. Expedients to obtain an acknowledgment of that right had been several ways tried. Taking money without the consent of the people was so fundamentally wrong, that the more we consider it, the more we must be convinced that we have no right to tax America. No subtlety of lawyers can subvert this truth; nothing can be more directly in point than, the example "of Ireland. Ireland had been the place chosen for a trial of skill, because Ireland stood in so similar a predicament with America; that an acquiescence in the matter of taxation would afford a precedent to Ministers for coercing America with right on their side. Yet, notwithstanding all the ductile arts of Government; notwithstanding the advantages resulting from a great Court Lord, sent over Lord-Lieutenant to that kingdom, and a military Secretary, the Commons could not be prevailed on to advance a single step beyond the usual track. It was found impossible to persuade the managers of the business to let the term of "Parliament" be foisted into the Address: not but that the advantages held out were considerable, for assurances had been given by the servants of the Crown that no bad use would be made of the concession. On the contrary, let the American war cost what it would, Ireland should never be called on to contribute a shilling towards defraying the expense. From this it was too plato who were to be the unhappy sufferers under the burden of this ruinous and unnatural war. The rejection of the proposal evinced the extreme caution of Ireland not to afford a colourable pretext for the exercise of a right, the existence of which she formally disclaimed. Hence the precedent, so industriously laboured for, was not so happily created as Ministry could have wished; and hence the point of taxation had been yielded, because the arguments of subtlety were not sufficient for its support. The point of taxation having been given up, for what were we longer to contend? And if there was nothing of a substantial nature for which a contest should be continued, peace should be immediately embraced, as the only eligible alternative.

Admitting the necessity, of peace, what prevented but that we should set about the work of accommodation? Should the idea of treating with a Congress obstruct our procedure in pacifick measures? There was a time when American Congresses were highly respected by Government. When Lord Halifax, Mr˙ George Grenville, Mr˙ Oswald, and other able men sat at the Board of Trade, an American Congress had been constituted by their advice; the measure met their ideas. What wise men once approved, deserved better treatment than hasty reprobation: If it derogated not from the dignity of Parliament to treat with the Congress, it remained only to consider what were the grounds of conciliation afforded in the Petition from the Delegates. His Majesty was besought "to recall his troops;" which could only be construed as a prayer for the suspension of arms. "A repeal of sundry acts were solicited." The acts alluded to could only mean those which struck at the fisheries, at the trade, and at the American charters, added to that infamous Canada bill, which sacrificed the law, the liberty, and the religion of England, to French law, French despotism, and Popish superstitition. The Americans had talked of the repeal of the acts passed since 1763. The noble Lord conceived this proposition to contain no more than that the Colonists wished for the repeal of the "burdensome parts of those acts." An absolute and unconditional repeal, it would neither be wise in the one party to ask, nor prudent in the other party to grant. So far as the custom-house laws in America were necessary to the due regulation of trade, and the maintenance of our monopoly, he should be for supporting them.

Admitting Ministry thus far advanced in a plan of conciliation; as a suspension of hostilities would carry the appearance of peace, a restoration of charters would wear the aspect of returning liberty; both measures would be considered by the Americans as evincing a desire of accommodation. Thus far, then, the Petition afforded grounds of conciliation. Were these grounds adopted, he pledged himself


to the House, that he would be answerable with his life Great Britain might afterwards dictate terms for herself. This proposition surely met the ideas of those who were most strenuous in asserting the supremacy of this country; for could there be a more exalted instance of supremacy, than that of dictating like conquerors, and being obeyed like sovereigns? The misfortune was, that as in some cases Ministry supposed facts which were untrue, for the sake of the consequences; on the present occasion salutary truths had been deemed fictitious, lest their adoption should have led to the pursuit of conciliatory measures. Acts which had been passed in direct opposition to the citizens of London, were frequently prefaced by a preamble, setting forth "that, in consideration of the solicitations of his Majesty' s faithful citizens, it had been thought necessary to enact such and such particulars." Such was the recent case of the act for the Adelphi embankment, though the city of London straggled against it, as a violent proceeding of partiality to the invaders of their property and of injustice to them. To put an end to the destructive ravages of civil war, by opening a door of reconciliation, Ministry would have been forgiven, had they supposed even a non-existing case; yet when authentick vouchers stared them in the face, they shunned conviction by questioning the sincerity of those who sued for peace.

The object of contention ought not now to be, whether we obtained the full completion of our desires; but whether, in the given situation of things, we could prudently neglect such grounds of conciliation as were afforded in the Petition. A wish to conciliate being once evinced, there were other plans which merited notice. Among those, he could not but give the preference to that of the Earl of Chatham. Nor was this influenced by any private motive; it would be vain and preposterous in him to insinuate that his connection with that noble Earl was anything but a political one. The disparity of their years rendered private friendship unattainable. He considered the Earl of Chatham yet as the greatest ornament of the two Houses, in which he had shone with such unrivalled lustre, the most efficient servant of the Crown, and, while he had life in him, the nerve of Great Britain. A plan from such a man, that had been mentioned with approbation by one of our most ancient and respectable Colonies, Virginia; that contained the real substantial points, without subtlety or refinement, which this country ought to aim at, was, in his opinion, the most eligible. The proposals held forth in Lord North' s motion (divested of the insidious purpose under which they had been couched) would call for attention. To appropriate the trade revenue for the support of a colonial establishment was judicious. It interested the people in the prosecution of their trade, and it taught them to inspect into the application of their moneys. Other plans had been framed by persons in the other House, devised with ingenuity and wisdom: plans to the same purpose had been proposed without doors, which deserved attention; for it must be narrow-minded bigotry, which could suppose sense confined to the walls of Parliament. But whenever Ministry set about conciliation in earnest, they would find a very great difficulty in adjusting matters respecting the forces which were to remain in America. The late disputes had engendered violent animosities on both sides. Time only could abate the fervour of hatred, or meliorate dislike into esteem. The brown and red coats would not consort together hereafter, and not all the stratagems of Government would make strife subside, and mutual amity prevail.

Talking, however, about plans of conciliation, when nothing conciliatory was meant, profited little. Ministry had predeterminded on their measures, and Parliament was only assembled to give them the colour of legality. The doctrine now advanced by those in office was, "that the money should be furnished before the mode of expenditure was ascertained." If Ministers were questioned as to the measures they intended to pursue, the answer returned was, "that the King had concerted his measures, but they were not to be divulged." Thus the hereditary counsellors of the nation were left to debate without information, or yield assent to measures inimical to the interests of the kingdom. Thus much only could be gathered: a most pernicious system of warfare was meant to be pursued; an army of seventy thousand men was to be raised; Hanoverians had sailed for Gibraltar and Port-Mahon. The three regiments destined


to Quebeck had been happily driven back into Milford-Haven, Had they proceeded in their voyage they never could have reached their destination, but would probably have fallen a sacrifice to the rigour of the climate, and a tempestuous season. Had it been necessary to send troops, they ought not to have been embarked at a season which rendered it impossible for the transports to reach St˙ Lawrence whilst that river was navigable. The noble Lord at the head of the Admiralty had not been bred to the sea, consequently his negative availed little against the testimonies of many gentlemen m the Marine Department, who all concurred in declaring, "that the River St˙ Lawrence was rendered innavigable by the latter end of October, or the beginning of November."

With respect to the twenty thousand Russians, his Lordship addressed the Ministers in the following terms: There are Powers in Europe who will not suffer such a body of Russians to be transported to America. I speak from information. The Ministers know what I mean. Some Power has already interfered to stop the success of the Russian negotiation. As for expecting neutrality from France, Administration know that their conduct towards France hath not been such as to entitle them to acquiescence from that quarter. The Landgrave of Hesse hath few men to spare. He passed the summer at Paris, which did not seem as if he was inclined to negotiate with us for a subsidy. The Elector of Hanover may have more men to spare than we have hitherto been taught to imagine.

But hiring foreign troops is not the only censurable measure. Such scandalous jobs have prevailed, as, on repetition, would put common honesty to the blush. Scarcely a single day has passed wherein I have not received several letters — some from private soldiers, others from officers — all of which have unfolded scenes of singular iniquity. The complaints against the fraudulent practices of the contractors and others who serve the army, are universal. Nor are jobs barely sanctified: when they arise not naturally out of the business, an occasion is devised which will give rise to them. A most chimerical design was sometime since on the tapis. It was proposed to send light-horse to America. I had the curiosity to inquire into the origin of so absurd a plan, and I was told there was a precedent for the measure; though I was not informed who found the frecedent, yet I very well knew of what profession he was referred to Lord Oxford' s Letter to Queen Anne. In that curious piece the noble Lord ascribes his misfortunes to a job of this nature. The sum of twenty thousand pounds was charged in an account for an ideal project of this kind. Lord Oxford exclaimed against the measure, but he was overruled by the Lord Chancellor, who roundly asserted, "that no Government was worth serving that would not let them make those advantages, and get such jobs." How far the last four years of Queen Anne' s reign bear an exact resemblance to the present era, must be left to the determination of the impartial historian.

The noble Lord then called the attention of the House to a few matters of fact, which he said ought to prevail with Ministry to discontinue their hostile measures, and conciliate while conciliation was left to their option. The army which was sent last year, and which, it was then vainly boasted, would look the Americans into submission, had not been able to look them in the face.

Attempts had been made to inlist Irish Roman Catholicks; Ministry knew those attempts had proved unsuccessful. The Canadians had been excited to take a part in the quarrel; they had wisely declined to interfere in the business. Ministers knew this to be undeniably true. The Indians had been tampered with. A trial of skill had been made to let the savages, in the back settlements, loose on the Provincial subjects of Great Britain. Barbarous as was the measure, and cowardly as was the attempt, it had failed of the wished-for success. Savage Indians were not quite so callous to the feelings of humanity as British Ministers. Equally fruitless had all attempts to divide the Colonies hitherto proved. America felt her strength only in proportion to her union, and the little paltry policy to multiply jealousies and create divisions, by guarding the Colonists against insidiousness, had strengthened instead of weakened the great cement of union. Whilst thus defeated on the continent, at home Administration had found themselves incapable of raising the number of men required. Recruits


had not offered with alacrity; officers had not made voluntary tenders of their services; they, in general, disrelished the business. Such reluctance in those who are to be instrumental in carrying on the measures, ought to operate with Ministers; but if, under all those disadvantages, war was still to be pursued, in his opinion the catastrophe would be dreadful; "the cord with America once broken, there was an end of all hold of the funds." The scheme of separating from America, letting trade take its own course, was a wild and dangerous doctrine. He thought that ingenious speculations touching the inutility of custom-houses and regulations of trade had better be left to our rivals. Our business was to adhere to practical rules which time and experience had established. We were not in a state to make experiments. The trade of America is mortgaged to our stockholders. It would be dishonest to touch it. The Ministers ought to know this; and tremble at whatever hazarded the loss of our American commerce.

His Lordship repeated, that if it was just to tax America, it was equally so to tax Ireland. That the latter was a much fitter object of taxation than the former; for if any position could be infallible, it was, that a Colony could not be an object of revenue while it consumed our manufactures. This was the case of America, and not of Ireland. The quota, from the latter was not adequate to its abilities, though the proportion was unequally distributed; the rich were spared, and the poor overburdened. The application of what was raised so much to the oppression of the people, his Lordship thought would make a becoming subject of Parliamentary inquiry and correction. He declared that he had lived long enough to know that he should eventually gain more by the prevalence of general justice than any private emolument could possibly compensate: and concluded with saying, that if Ministers still persisted in measures which could neither be justified on the principles of policy or of liberty, he could only quote an old adage, which he was sorry their conduct verified: "Quos Deus vult perdere prim dementat."

Lord Lyttelton said, whatever insinuations might have been thrown out by the noble Duke who opened the debate, he should never be prevented from performing his duty. He was always of opinion, and should ever continue so, that it was rebellion in any part of the British empire to resist the supreme legislative authority of this country; and the Ministers who had stood up, and exerted themselves so ably in support of it, had acted with perfect wisdom, and oh the soundest principles of the Constitution; that he was so well convinced of the truth, indeed of the irresistible evidences, of what he now advanced, that he could not attribute the opposition given to the just claims of the supreme power of the State, by several noble Lords in Opposition, to anything but a professed design to surrender the rights of the British Parliament, and transfer them to America. His Lordship animadverted on the evidence given that day at their bar, which he should not hesitate to call a partial evidence; for, with all the caution with which Mr˙ Penn guarded his expressions, he nevertheless betrayed, throughout the whole of his examination, the strongest indications of the grossest prejudice. He could even contradict him himself upon a most respectable authority, a gentleman of his acquaintance, who possessed ten thousand acres of land in the Province of New-England alone, and who assured him that the people of that Province were full of a levelling, republican spirit, which would never be rooted out till they felt and were compelled to bow under the full force and weight of constitutional Government, to which it was notorious they were so averse; that through the same channel he learned they were no less hostile against monarchical Government than against the rights of the British Parliament. While in the prosecution of this inquiry, he learned, what had been often asserted by his Majesty' s Ministers, that numbers, suffering under the tyranny and rebellious force of a faction, and the terrours of personal injuries or attacks on their property, had been compelled to unite in measures which their souls abhorred; for when he had proposed to this gentleman to be examined at their Lordships' bar, he earnestly entreated to be excused; for the consequence of such an examination, as soon as an account of it reached New-England, would be the total destruction of his property, and proscription of his person. This, among many other reasons, was one why he was induced to believe that Mr˙ Penn' s evidence was partial; but, supposing it had


been otherwise, what was the purport of this day' s motion, but that the acts of the Parliament of Great Britain, its repeated addresses to the Throne, his Majesty' s own most solemn declarations, were to be superseded, in order to make way to the commands, not addresses, of the rebellious Americans? Those, audacious Rebels, who came and endeavoured to impose on his Majesty with insidious, traitorous, false expressions of loyalty to him, and of obedience to the British Parliament, while they in the same breath appeal to the people of Great Britain and Ireland, abuse the Parliament, deny their power, invite their fellow-subjects to make a common cause of it and thus at once endeavour to involve every part of this great empire in one general scene of rebellion and bloodshed, in order to resist that very Parliament for which they pretend to profess such perfect obedience and submission. Are these the men you would treat with? Is this the cause the pretended friends of this country would endeavour to defend? Or would you, by agreeing with this motion, relinquish your domination over those worst of Rebels, and tamely submit to transfer the seat of empire from Great Britain to America?

The Duke of Manchester reprehended the last noble speaker, in very severe terms, for the improper liberties he had taken with such of their Lordships as differed in opinion from him, by charging them with a design to surrender the liberties of their country to America: such imputations (he affirmed) were aimed at the freedom of debate; they were indecent; they were unparliamentary; they deserved the marked displeasure of the House; and he would venture to affirm they were, as applied on the present occasion, not true. He said, however, he was not surprised at some of the circumstances attending his Lordship' s speech. They suggested occurrences though not very unexpected, yet rather out of the common road; but however that might be, he would venture to assert that his Lordship' s conduct on the first day of the session would not shortly be forgotten. His Grace, besides, entered into a general view of the question, and made several observations on the folly of involving this great empire in all the certain expense and horrors of a civil war, without any one single advantage, now the claim of taxation had been relinquished as totally impracticable.

The Earl of Effingham observed, on the scarcity of recruits, that from his own knowledge, there was a backwardness prevailed amongst the people to inlist in those regiments destined for America. The fact being admitted, the real disposition of the people was at once apparent; and, in the judgment of the noble Lord, the prevalent inclination of the mass of the people was a certain criterion, which should determine the conduct of Ministers.

Lord Cathcart professed himself to be so totally unconnected with men, and so entirely unprejudiced as to measures, that, could he conjecture the party most likely to promote the real welfare of the empire, he would join in support of their plans. Much had been said about peace, and the debilitated situation of Great Britain had been urged to evince the necessity of a speedy accommodation. Admitting England to be in the worst plight imaginable, the noble Lord recollected a period when her distresses were equal. Although many Peers in the House might remember the rebellion in 1745, the noble speaker had at that time drawn his sword against the rebels. Their successes at Derby had thrown the kingdom into consternation; the whole interest of the country was assernblaged in one stake, and risked on the event of the battle of Culloden. Happily, the casualties of war turned out favourable for England. But what contributed most to the welfare of the empire? The assistance so willingly afforded by all ranks of people. Ministry acquired vigour in proportion as they were entrusted with power. A tone of firmness strengthened all their measures; and thus, by one decisive stroke, England was snatched from destruction; the machinations of France were overturned, and the Pretender (a tool to France) was obliged to flee from that country which he had been taught to consider as his patrimonial inheritance. The same efforts of the people in support of Government, would at this time prevail. Ministry should be assisted, not impeded in their measures.

The Earl of Sandwich defended Lord Lyttelton. He said whoever opposed the present system of measure pursued by Administration respecting America, were in fact about to surrender the right of Parliament to its rebellious


subjects. He was the oldest Peer in that House, at least, the Peer who had sat longest in it, and might of course be presumed to be pretty well acquainted with its orders and usages. He flattered himself he was, and could assure their Lordships there was nothing in the words but what might be fully justified; there was nothing in them deserving the severe animadversion made on them by the noble Duke: for they were in every respect parliamentary, and consonant to the modes of expression adopted in that House. When the noble Lords on that side tell the members of Administration that they are corrupt, incapable, or inattentive, that they have formed the very worst designs against the liberties and the Constitution of their country, we never, on this side, rise up to tell them that this is unparliamentary and indecent; no, we endeavour to convince them of their mistakes by defending ourselves and refuting their charges: and shall we, in return, be precluded from charging their Lordships, not with an act of criminality; for I contend that the words may otherwise be fairly and obviously explained. I may tell any noble Lord in this House that he is surrendering the rights of Parliament, while I directly acquit him of any such intention. I shall never stand by and hear such a doctrine maintained without endeavouring to detect its fallacy. I therefore think, so far from reprehension, the noble Lord deserves the greatest commendations and thanks, both from your Lordships and his country, for so ably defending and asserting the rights of the British Parliament and the supreme legislative authority of the mother country. I think I never before heard such a speech delivered by any body, and I am proud to testify my perfect approbation by affirming it was the finest ever delivered within these walls. His Lordship observed that the noble Lords in Opposition might be very sincere. They might imagine that the only method to secure the power and grandeur of Great Britain would be to render America independent; but he hoped their Lordships would excuse him from supposing that their zeal, however genuine, had hurried them such extraordinary lengths, or into such a scene of obstinate and invincible error: and permit him to attribute those extravagant doctrines to their true cause — a mere struggle for power. He was sorry to say they had proved too successful in their endeavours; and, by the unnatural encouragement and countenance they had given to the absurd, monstrous claims of our rebellious subjects in America, had made what first must have been the inevitable consequence of unanimity, now appear, if not hazardous, at least difficult, alarming, and expensive. Such a struggle might attain the main object for which it was set on foot; but he begged leave to remind their Lordships, that although they should prevail, and thereby supplant the present Administration, they must take such a victory with all its consequences; they must at once render up the rights of this country into the hands of the Colonists; they must disgrace and lower it in the eyes of all Europe; and, to complete the whole, they must consent to the total ruin and destruction of its commerce.

His Lordship next animadverted on the language of the noble Lords on the opposite side; that Great Britain, as the first step towards a conciliation, should determine on certain specifick terms which she is willing to agree to. Let us, said his Lordship, see what this language means. I dare say there are many noble Lords in this House, who have served his Majesty abroad in the capacity of foreign Ministers: I think I see several this instant myself. I believe the noble Duke who made the motion was among the number, and has of course some knowledge of the arts of negotiation: I shall therefore trust to their knowledge of what I am about to offer on this head. Supposing, then, that Great Britain and America were two sovereign independent States, treating on equal terms: what is the mode that custom prescribes in such cases, but that certain preliminaries are first agreed on, and then a suspension of arms takes place? What is it that is contended for by the present motion and by its supporters? Begin with a suspension, and then proceed to treat on preliminaries. This, surely, is a new mode of negotiation, such a mode, I will venture to say, as never entered into the head of any man in the least acquainted with publick business. I would, therefore, seriously recommend it to the broachers of this species of treaty-making, either to peruse proper books before they again expose themselves on that subject, or procure


some of their literary friends to publish something in its defence. Besides, let us apply this doctrine to the case immediately before us. America is not entirely prepared to resist; our power; or if she be, she is still desirous of rendering herself stronger. Suspend your operations, and you furnish her with the very means of rising in her demands, if not of totally disclaiming all dependance whatever on this country. This I look upon to be the fair, natural consequence of what has come recommended by the noble supporters of this motion. When I had the honour of being an instrument employed in restoring peace to Europe at Aix la Chapelle, in 1748, I own I acted in a very different manner from that now recommended. The first step I took, was to agree on certain preliminaries, previous to a suspension of arms. Those preliminaries were, that the Russians on our part, who were on their march to join us, should halt in the place that the earliest courier should be able to meet them. On the other hand, France was at the same instant obliged to disband thirty-seven thousand of her troops, a force supposed to be equal to our Russian auxiliaries. Again, we were to give up Louisburgh, and they to withdraw their troops from four of the frontier towns, which they had, in the course of the war, acquired by their arms. I remember a circumstance which happened then, not inapplicable to the attempt made this day; that was, to grant the suspension, and permit them to retain the frontier towns till an actual account of Louisburgh being delivered up was received. But I was too cautious, and by resisting the proposition in its first appearance, was fortunate enough to succeed, though the whole negotiation had like to have miscarried, for certain secret reasons which I am not permitted to disclose; and must have done so, if a peace had not, as it were, at length fallen from the clouds. The noble Earl, [of Shelburne,] who spoke early in the debate, has misinformed your Lordships, I will not say designedly, on three material points. He say' s, the River St˙ Lawrence is frozen up in October: I contend it is not; and that on the authority of one of the ablest navigators this country ever bred, Sir Francis Drake himself not excepted, — the person I mean is Captain Cook, who passed four winters in Canada, and assures me that the River St˙ Lawrence is very seldom frozen up till the middle of December; and that the inconvenience of navigating that river and the neighbouring seas, previous to the time I have mentioned, does not arise from the setting in of the frost, but the heavy gales from the north and northwest, which are the monsoons of that part of the world, and set in early in the winter months. His Lordship is, I believe, equally mistaken as to the fact to which his reasoning on the above occasion was applied. Who informed his Lordship that the regiments alluded to were destined for Quebeck? I now assure him, they were not. As to the third allegation, that the army in America was to consist of seventy thousand men, and that twenty thousand of them were to be Russians, he thought he knew something of what was intended; but he could solemnly affirm, it was the first he had heard of either arrangement. He, however, saw no reason why the Russians should not be employed as auxiliaries now, as well as in the former war alluded to. If they were necessary then, they might be so now. The noble Duke who opened the debate talked much of the expense of the service, &c˙, and insisted that the very expense of carrying the twenty thousand Russians to America would amount to five hundred thousand pounds. He did not doubt it; but if they were to march by land, it would, be much more expensive. He should beg leave to obviate the force of one plausible objection, urged by the Lords in Opposition, relative to the difficulty of obtaining recruits. He could not answer for what might happen without his own department, but he believed the facts he was going to state applied equally to both services. Since the orders for augmenting the navy had been issued, they had seamen coming to enter themselves as fast as they could be well shipped; by the last accounts he received, they amounted to between twenty and twenty-one thousand; and he made no doubt of his being able to complete the whole of the establishment, which is twenty-eight thousand, without pressing; but he did not mean to be understood to bind himself to any such promise. The other part of the service, the marines, which was recruited in pretty much the same manner with the marching regiments, he had been equally successful in, the returns


being on an average of eighty men per week, some one hundred and twenty, and the lowest, which was the last, forty-five. So far, then, from the vulgar report, that the people in general were averse to the service, he was sure nothing could be more erroneous: they languished for it, and, were it necessary, he could produce numerous applications for an appointment on the American station, arising purely from a zeal to be instrumental in reducing those unnatural, ungrateful, and traitorous resistors of the mild government of their most gracious Sovereign, and the constitutional rights and supremacy of the mother country.

The Earl of Shelburne said, that as to the general charge of misinformation imputed to him by the noble Earl, he thought his Lordship would be one of the last who would venture to touch on that ground; because if he, and the noble Lords on the same side, were mistaken, it was the fault of the noble Earl, and his brethren in office, who compelled them to go to the other House to seek information, or pick it up wherever they could find it, by withholding from them every degree of Parliamentary communication whatever. That seventy thousand men were to be employed, was no idle, floating report: for it had originated with the First Lord of the Treasury in the other House; and as to the River St˙ Lawrence being not frozen up till the middle of December, he would not be certain whether his general information did not include early in the month of November; stating it on that ground, therefore, he was certain that the person from whom he had his information would yield to none in point of experience and judgment; it would of course rest with their Lordships to determine which of the two accounts was most to be depended on. His Lordship was severe on the noble Earl, for thrusting the negotiations of the peace of Aix la Chapelle into the debate. He imagined his Lordship' s modesty in one event, or his prudence in the other, would have prevented him. It was very tender ground to venture on, because, whatever opinion his Lordship and his admirers might entertain on that curious business, there were many odd kind of people at this day, and a great majority of the nation at the time of the concluding that famous treaty, who thought the delivering so many British Peers hostages to insure the faithful performance of a treaty, was at once a scandal to the nation, a violation of the dignity of the Peerage, and a fixed stigma on the proposers of such a measure, which nothing could ever wipe off. His Lordship returned to a short consideration of the question, replied to the representation of the noble Lord relative to the success that had been experienced in his Lordship' s department, in procuring seamen and marines, which he attributed solely to the decline; of our trade and commerce, that had driven so many seamen out of employment; and as combating the information of the noble Lord, that the officers of the navy were not languishing for the service, he referred to the advertisements from the Board of Admiralty, desiring the officers to furnish the Board with an account of their places of abode, and threatening, in case of refusal, to strike them off the list. On the whole, he said, that as the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, to borrow his Lordship' s words, fell, so must the peace of this country, on the present melancholy and alarming occasion, fall — from the clouds.

The Earl of Sandwich said, he should not observe on the word "scandalous" used by the noble Lord relative to the giving hostages, for the due performance of the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, for he perceived the noble Lord who had used that very improper expression was already sorry for it; and so little did that transaction deserve to have the epithet scandalous applied to it, that it was the action of his life from which he claimed the greatest merit; to which he begged leave to add, for further confirmation, that there was a noble Lord now present, [Lord Cathcart,] who had been one of the hostages, and whose conduct through his whole life, both publick and private, had, to every one' s knowledge, been so full of prudence and prosperity, that nothing would have prevailed upon him to have accepted a commission of that sort, without the strongest conviction that it was necessary to the essential interests of the nation, and consistent with her honour, as well as his own dignity as a Peer. As to the matter stated by the noble Lord, relative to the notices published by the Admiralty Board, they had no particular direction, but were merely drawn up in the usual office form; but, as well as he could recollect, his Lordship was mistaken


in saying that a threat had been held out to the Lieutenants that they must expect to be struck off the half-pay list, if they did not give in an account of the places of their residence. He was sure there could be no occasion for it, because, out of nine hundred Lieutenants on the list, in the time of profound tranquillity, there are seldom more than one hundred employed in actual service.

The question was then put. It was resolved in the negative. Contents, 27; Proxies, 6. Non-Contents, 60; Proxies, 26.