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pellel to yield. They disavowed the seizure were abandoned by the English ; and it is now and restored the islands, on condition that this understood that Lord North secretly agreed to restoration should not affect any claim of right do this, when the arrangement was made for the on the part of Spain. Three years after, they restoration of the islands by the Spanish
SPEECH OF LORD CHATHAM ON THE BILL AUTHORIZING THE QUARTERING OF BRITISH SOLDIERS ON
THE INHABITANTS OF BOSTON, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, MAY 27, 1774.
INTRODUCTION. The health of Lord Chatham had for some time prevented him from taking any active part in public affairs. During two years he had rarely made bis appearance in the House of Lords, and nothing bat the rash and headlong measures of Lord North in regard to America, could have drawn minu again from his retirement.
In speaking of those measures, it may be proper briefly to remind the reader of some of the preceding events. When Charles Townsend was left at the head of affairs, by Lord Chatham's unfortunate illness during the winter of 1766–7, he was continually goaded by Mr. Grenville on the subject of American taxation." “ You are cowards! You are afraid of the Americans. You dare not tax America!" The rash spirit of Townsend was roused by these attacks. “Fear ?" said be. Cowards ? Dare not tax Amer ica? I dare ta:t America !” Grenville stood silent for a moment, and then said, “Dare you tax Amer. ica? I wish to God you would do it.” Townsend replied, “I will, I will.” This hasty declaration could not be cvaded or withdrawn, and in June, 1767, Townsend brought in a bill imposing duties on glass, pa. per, pasteboard, white and red lead, painters' colors, and tea, imported into the colonies. The preamble declared that it was “expedient to raise a revenue in America." A spirit of decided resistance to these taxes was at once manifested throughout all the colonies, and Lord North, on coming into power about two years after, introduced a bill repealing all the duties imposed by the act of 1767, except that on tea. But this was unsatisfactory, for it put the repeal on "commercial grounds" alone, and expressly reserved the right of taxation. At the close of 1773, the East India Company, encouraged by the ministry, sent large quantities of tea to Boston and some other American ports. The people resolved that the tea should not be landed, but should be sent back to England in the ships that brought it. As this was forbidden by the Custom-house, all the tea on board the sbips lying in Boston harbor was thrown into the water by men disguised as Indians. on the evening of December 18th, 1773. This daring act awakened the keenest re. sentment of the British ministry. In March, 1774, laws were passed depriving Massachusetts of her char. ter, closing the port of Boston, and allowing persons charged with capital offenses to be carried to England for trial. As a means of farther enforcement, a bill was introduced in the month of May, 1774, for quartering troops on the inhabitants of the town of Boston, and other parts of the American colonies This state of things gave rise to a number of Lord Chatham's most celebrated speeches, of which the ful lowing was the first in order.
SPEECH, &c. My Lords,—The unfavorable state of health my Lords, if the descendants of such illustrious under which I have long labored, could not pre- characters spurr with contempt the hand of unvent me from laying before your Lordships my constitutional power, that would snatch frou. thoughts on the bill now upon the table, and on them such dear-bought privileges as they no* the American affairs in general.
contend for? Had the British colonies been If we take a transient view of those motives planted by any other kingdom than our own, the which induced the ancestors of our fellow-sub- inhabitants would have carried with them the jects in America to leave their native country, chains of slavery and spirit of despotism; but to encounter the innumerable difficulties of the as they are, they ought to be remembered as unexplored regions of the Western World, our great instances to instruct the world what great ‘astonishment at the present conduct of their de exertions mankind will naturally make, when scendants will naturally subside. There was no they are left to the free exercise of their own corner of the world into which men of their free powers. And, my Lords, notwithstanding my and enterprising spirit would not fly with alac- intention to give my hearty negative to the ques. rity, rather than submit to the slavish and tyran- tion now before you, I can not heip condemning nical principles which prevailed at that period in the severest manner the late turbulent and unin their native country. And shall we wonder, warrantable conduct of the Americans in some
instances, particularly in the late riots of Boston, · See Burke's admirable sketches of Grenville. But, my Lords, the mode which has been pur Townsend, and Lord Chatham's third ministry, in sued to bring them back to a sense of their duty ais Speech on American Taxation.
to their parent state, bas been so diametrically
opposite to tne fundamental principles of sound | ble Lords who are now in office; and, conse. policy, that individuals possessed of common un- quently, they will have a watchful eye cver their derstanding must be astonished at such proceed- liberties, to prevent the least encroachment on ings. By blocking up the harbor of Boston, you their hereditary rights. have involved the innocent trader in the same This observation is so recently exemplified in punishment with the guilty profligates who de- an excellent pamphlet, which comes from the stroyed your merchandise; and instead of mak- pen of an American gentleman, that I shall take ing a well-concerted effort to secure the real the liberty of reading to your Lordships his offenders, you clap a naval and military extin- thoughts on the competency of the British Parguisher over their harbor, and visit the crime of liament to tax America, which, in my opinion, a few lawless depredators and their abettors upon puts this interesting matter in the clearest view. the whole body of the inhabitants.
“The high court of Parliament," says he, "is My Lords, this country is little obliged to the the supreme legislative power over ihe whole framers and promoters of this tea tax. The empire ; in all free states the Constitution is Americans had alınost forgot, in their excess of fixed; and as the supreme Legislature derives gratitude for the repeal of the Stamp Act, any its power and authority from the Constitution, it interest but that of the mother country; there can not overleap the bounds of it without de. seemed an emulation among the different prov- stroying its own foundation. The Constitution inces who should be most dutiful and forward in ascertains and limits both sovereignty and alle. their expressions of loyalty to their real bene- giance; and therefore his Majesty's American factor, as you will readily perceive by the fol subjects, who acknowledged themselves bound lowing letter from Governor Bernard to a noble by the ties of allegiance, have an equitable claim Lord then in office.
to the full enjoyment of the fundamental rules of " The House of Representatives,” says he, the English Constitution; and that it is an es" from the time of opening the session to this sential, unalterable right in nature, ingrafted into day, has shown a disposition to avoid all dispute the British Constitution as a fundamental law, with me, every thing having passed with as and ever held sacred and irrevocable by the submuch good humor as I could desire. They have jects within this realm, that what a man has acted in all things with temper and moderation; honestly acquired is absolutely his own; which they have avoided some subjects of dispute, and he may freely give, but which can not be taken have laid a foundation for removing some causes from him without his consent." of former altercation."
This, my Lords, though no new doctrine, has This, my Lords, was the temper of the Amer- always been my received and unalterable opinicans, and would have continued so, had it not ion, and I will carry it to my grave, that this been interrupted by your fruitless endeavors to country had no right under heaven to tax Amer. tax them without their consent. But the mo- ica. It is contrary to all the principles of jus ment they perceived your intention was renewed tice and civil polity, whicho neither the exigento tax them, under a pretense of serving the cies of the state, nor even an acquiescence in the East India Company, their resentment got the taxes, could justify upon any occasion whatever. ascendant of their moderation, and hurried them Such proceedings will never meet their wishedinto actions contrary to law, which, in their cool for success. Instead of adding to their miseries, er hours, they would have thought on with hor- as the bill now before you most undoubtedly ror; for I sincerely believe the destroying of the does, adopt some lenient measures, which may tea was the effect of despair.
lure them to their duty. Proceed like a kind and But, my Lords, from the complexion of the affectionate parent over a child whom he tenwhole of the proceedings, I think that adminis- derly loves, and, instead of those harsh and setration has purposely irritated them into those vere proceedings, pass an amnesty on all their late violent acts, for which they now so severely youthful errors, clasp them once more in your smart, purposely to be revenged on them for the fond and affectionate arms, and I will venturo to victory they gained by the repeal of the Stamp affirm you will find them children worthy of Act; a measure in which they seemingly acqui- their sire. But, should their turbulence exist esced, but at the bottom they were its real ene- after your proffered terms of forgiveness, which mies. For what other motive could induce them I hope and expect this House will immediately to dress taxation, that father of American sedi- adopt, I will be among the foremost of your tion, in the robes of an East India director, but Lordships to move for such measures as will efto break in upon that mutual peace and harmony fectually prevent a future relapse, and make which then so happily subsisted between them them feel what it is to provoke a fond and forand the mother country ?
giving parent! a parent, my Lords, whose wel. My Lords, I am an old man, and would advise fare has ever been my greatest and most pleas. the noblo Lords in office to adopt a more gentle ing consolation. This declaration may seem un. mode of governing America; for the day is not necessary; but I will venture to declare, the pe. far distant when America may vie with these riod is not far distant when she will want the kingdoms, not only in arms, but in arts also. It assistance of her most distant friends ; but should B an established fact that the principal towns in the all-disposing hand of Providence prevent me America are learned and polite, and understand from affording her my poor assistance, my pray the Constitution of the empire as well as the no- ers shall be ever for her welfare-- Length of days be in her right hand, and in her left riches Notwithstanding these warnings and remor.. and honor; may her ways be the ways of pleas- strances, the bill was passed by a majority of antness, and all her paths 3e peace !
57 to 16.
SPEECH OF LORD CHATHAM ON A MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY, TO GIVE IMMEDIATE ORDERS FOR REMOVING HIS TROOPS FROM BOSTON, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS. JANUARY 20, 1775.
INTRODUCTION. On the 20th of January, 1775, Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State, laid before the House of Lords va rious papers relating to American affairs. Upon this occasion Lord Chatham moved an “address to his Majesty for the immediate removal of his troops from Boston," and supported it by the following speech
When he arose to speak, says one who witnessed the scene, "all was silence and profound attention. Animated, and almost inspired by his subject, he seemed to feel his own unrivaled superiority. His ven. erable figure, dignified and graceful in decay, his language, bis voice, his gesture, were such as might, at this momentous crisis, big with the fate of Britain seem to characterize him as the guardian genius of his country."
SPEECH, &c.' My Lords,—After more than six weeks' pos- | dishonored army, trusting solely to the pickax session of the papers now before you, on a sub- and the spade for security against the just indig. ject so momentous, at a time when the fate of nation of an injured and insulted people. this nation hangs on every hour, the ministry My Lords, I am happy that a relaxation of my have at length condescended to submit to the infirmities permits me to seize this earliest opconsideration of this House, intelligence from portunity of offering my poor advice to save this America with which your Lordships and the unhappy country, at this moment tottering to its public have been long and fully acquainted. ruin. But, as I have not the honor of access to
The measures of last year, my Lords, which his Majesty, I will endeavor to transmit to him, have produced the present alarming state of through the constitutional channel of this House, America, were founded upon misrepresentation. my ideas on American business, to rescue him They were violent, precipitate, and vindictive. from the misadvice of his present ministers. I The nation was told that it was only a faction in congratulate your Lordships that the business is Boston which opposed all lawful government;. at last entered upon by the noble Lord's (Lorů that an unwarrantable injury had been done to Dartmouth] laying the papers before you. As private property, for which the justice of Parlia- I suppose your Lordships are too well apprised ment was called upon to order reparation ; that of their contents, I hope I am not premature in the least appearance of firmness would awe the submitting to you my present motion. (The Americans into submission, and upon only pass- motion was read.] ing the Rubicon we should be "sine clade vic- I wish, my Lords, not to lose a day in this ur.
gent, pressing crisis. An hour now lost in allar. That the people might choose their repre- ing serments in America may produce years of sentatives under the influence of those misrep- calamity. For my own part, I will not desert, resentations, the Parliament was precipitately for a moment, the conduct of this weighty busidissolved. Thus the nation was to be rendered ness, from the first to the last. Unless nailed to instrumental in executing the vengeance of ad- my bed by the extremity of sickness, I will give ministration on that injured, unhappy, traduced it unremitted attention. I will knock at the door people.
of this sleeping and confounded ministry, and will But now, my Lords, we find that, instead of rouse them to a sense of their danger. suppressing the opposition of the faction at Bos- When I state the importance of the colonies to ton, these measures have spread it over the this country, and the magnitude of danger hangwhole continent. They have united that whole ing over this country from the present plan of people by the most indissoluble of all bands—in- misadministration practiced against them, I do tolerable wrongs. The just retribution is an in- sire not to be understood to argue for a reciproc. discriminate, unmerciful proscription of the inno- ity of indulgence between England and America cent with the guilty, unhcard and untried. The I contend not for indulgence, but justice to Amer. bloodless victory is an impotent general with his ica; and I shall ever contend that the Americans
· This speech was reported by Mr. Hugh Boyd, justly owe obedience to us in a limited degreea man of high literary attainments, and bears very they owe obedience to our ordinancos of trade strong marks of accuracy.
and navigation; but let the line be skillfully a Victorious without slaugliter.
drawn between the objects of those ordinancos
and their private internal property. Let the sa-onciliation, you delay forever. But, admitting credness of their property remain inviolate. Let that this hope (which in truth is desperate) it be taxable only by their own consent, given should be accomplished, what do you gain by the in their provincial assemblies, else it will cease imposition of your victorious amity? You will to be property. As to the metaphysical refine- be untrusted and unthanked. Adopt, then, the ments, attempting to show that the Americans grace, while you have the opportunity, of recon. are equally free from obedience and commercial cilement—or at least prepare the way. Allay restraints, as from taxation for revenue, as being the ferment prevailing in America, by removing unrepresented here, I pronounce them futile, friv- the obnoxious hostile cause obnoxious and unolous, and groundless.
serviceable ; for their merit can be only inaction : When I urge this measure of recalling the “Non dimicare est vincere," their victory can troops from Boston, I urge it on this pressing never be by exertions. Their force would be principle, that it is necessarily preparatory to most disproportionately exerted against a brave, the restoration of your peace and the establish- generous, and united people, with arms in their ment of your prosperity. It will then appear hands, and courage in their hearts: three mill. that you are disposed to treat amicably and eq. ions of people, the genuine descendants of a uitably; and to consider, revise, and repeal, if it valiant and pious ancestry, driven to those deserts should be found necessary (as I affirm it will), by the narrow maxims of a superstitious tyranny those violent acts and declarations which have And is the spirit of persecution never to be ap. disseminated confusion throughout your empire. peased ? Are the brave sons of those brave
Resistance to your acts was necessary as it forefathers to inherit their sufferings, as they was just; and your vain declarations of the om- have inherited their virtues ? Are they to susnipotence of Parliament, and your imperious doc- tain the infliction of the most oppressive and untrines of the necessity of submission, will be found exampled severity, beyond the accounts of his. equally impotent to convince or to enslave your tory or description of poetry : “Rhadamanthus fellow-subjects in America, who feel that tyranny, habet durissima regna, castigatque auditque.' whetber ambitioned by an individual part of the So says the wisest poet, and perhaps the wisest Legislature, or the bodies who compose it, is statesman and politician. But our ministers say equally intolerable to British subjects.
the Americans must not be heard.
They have The means of enforcing this thraldom are been condemned unheard. The indiscriminate found to be as ridiculous and weak in practice hand of vengeance has lumped together innocent as they are unjust in principle. Indeed, I can and guilty; with all the formalities of hostility, not but feel the most anxious sensibility for the has blocked up the town (Boston), and reduced situation of General Gage, and the troops under to beggary and famine thirty thousand inhabit. his command; thinking him, as I do, a man of ants. humanity and understanding; and entertaining, But his Majesty is advised that the union in as I ever will, the highest respect, the warmest America can not last. Ministers have more love for the British troops. Their situation is eyes than I, and should have more ears; but, truly unworthy; penned up-pining in inglorious with all the information I have been able to proinactivity. They are an army of impotence. cure, I can pronounce it a union solid, permaYou may call them an army of safety and of nent, and effectual. Ministers may satisfy themguard; but they are, in truth, an army of impo- selves, and delude the public, with the report of ience and contempt; and, to make the folly equal what they call commercial bodies in America. to the disgrace, they are an army of irritation and They are not commercial. They are your pack vexation.
ers and factors. They live upon nothing, for 1 But I find a report creeping abroad that min. call commission nothing. I speak of the minisisters censure General Gage's inactivity. Letterial authority for this American intelligencethem censure him — it becomes them — it be- the runners for government, who are paid for comes their justice and their honor. I mean not their intelligence. But these are not the men, to censure his inactivity. It is a prudent and nor this the influence, to be considered in Amer. necessary inaction; but it is a miserable condi- ica, when we estimate the firmness of their union. tion, where disgrace is prudence, and where it is Even to extend the question, and to take in the necessary to be contemptible. This tameness,
4 Not to fight is to conquer. however contemptible, can not be censured; for the first drop of blood shed in civil and unnatu
5 The passage is from the Æneid of Virgil, book
vi., 366-7. ral war might be "immedicabile vulnus.”
Gnosius hæc Rhadamanthus habet durissima regna, I therefore urge and conjure your Lordships
Castigatque auditque dolos. immediately to adopt this conciliating measure.
O'er these dire realms I will pledge myself for its immediately produo- The Cretan Rhadamanthus holds his sway, ing conciliatory effects, by its being thus well
And lashes guilty souls, whose wiles and crimo timed; but if you delay till your vain hope shall He hears. De accomplished of triumphantly dictating rec
Lord Chatham, from the order of the words, gives
them an ingenious turn, as if the punishment came 'Nil prosunt artes ; erat immedicabile vulnus.
before the hearing; which was certainly true of jos All arts are vain: incurable the wound.
tice as then administered in America, though not is Ovid's Metamorphoses, book x., 189. che infernal regions of Virgil.
really mercantile cirole, will be totally inade- | Rights vindicated the English Constitution; the quate to the consideration. Trade, indeed, in- same spirit which establisbed the great funda. creases the wealth and glory of a country; but mental, essential maxim of your liberties, that its real strength and stamina are to be looked for no subject of England shall be taxed but by his among the cultivators of the land. In their sim- own consent. plicity of life is found the simpleness of virtue- This glorious spirit of Whiggism animais the integrity and courage of freedom. These three millions in America, who prefer poverty true, genuine sons of the earth are invincible; with liberty, to gilded chains and sordid amo. and they surround and hem in the mercantile ence; and who will die in defense of their rights bodies, even if these bodies (which supposition as men, as freemen. What shall oppose this I totally disclaim) could be supposed disaffected spirit, aided by the congenial flame glowing in to the cause of liberty. Of this general spirit the breast of every Whig in England, to the existing in the British nation (for so I wish to amount, I hope, of double the American nam. distinguish the real and genuine Americans from bers? Ireland they have to a man. In tha: the pseudo-traders I have described) --of this country, joined as it is with the cause of the cola: spirit of independence, animating the nation of nies, and placed at their head, the distinction 1 America, I have the most authentic information contend for is and must be observed. This cour • It is not new among them. It is, and has ever try superintends and controls their trade and nav. been, their established principle, their confirmed igation; but they tax themselves. And this dis persuasion. It is their nature and their doctrine. tinction between external and internal control is
I remember, some years ago, when the repcal sacred and insurmountable; it is involved in the of the Stamp Act was in agitation, conversing in abstract nature of things. Property is private, a friendly confidence with a person of undoubted individual, absolute. Trade is an extended and respect and authenticity, on that subject, and he complicated consideration : it reaches as far as assured me with a certainty which his judgment ships can sail or winds can blow : it is a great and opportunity gave him, that these were the and various machine. To regulate the number. prevalent and steady principles of America--that less movements of its several parts, and combino you might destroy their towns, and cut them off them into effect for the good of the whole, refrom the superfluities, perhaps the conveniences quires the superintending wisdom and energy of of life, but that they were prepared to despise the supreme power in the empire. But this suyour power, and would not lament their loss, preme power has no effect toward internal tax&.. while they have—what, my Lords ?—their woods tion; for it does not exist in that relation; there and their liberty. The name of my authority, is no such thing, no such idea in this Constituif I am called upon, will authenticate the opinion tion, as a supreme power operating upon proper. irrefragably.
ty. Let this distinction then remain forever as. If illegal violences have been, as it is said, certained; taxation is theirs, commercial regu. committed in America, prepare the way, open lation is ours. As an American, I would recogthe door of possibility for acknowledgment and nize to England ber supreme right of regulating satisfaction; but proceed not to such coercion, commerce and navigation; as an Englishman by such proscription; cease your indiscriminate in- birth and principle, I recognize to the Americans flictions; amerce not thirty thousand-oppress their supreme, unalienable right in their propernot three millions for the fault of forty or fifty ty: a right which they are justified in the de. individuals. Such severity of injustice must for- sense of to the last extremity. To maintain this ever render incurable the wounds you have al. principle is the common cause of the Whigs on ready given your colonies; you irritate them to the other side of the Atlantic and on this. unappeasable rancor. What though you march“ 'Tis liberty to liberty engaged," that they will from town to town, and from province to prov- defend themselves, their families, and their counince; though you should be able to enforce a try. In this great cause they are immovably temporary and local submission (which I only allied: it is the alliance of God and nature suppose, not admit), how shall you be able to se- immutable, eternal—fixed as the firmament of cure the obedience of the country you leave be- heaven. hind you in your progress, to grasp the dominion To such united force, what force shall be opof eighteen hundred miles of continent, populous posed? What, my Lords ? A few regiments in numbers, possessing valor, liberty, and resist- in America, and seventeen or eighteen thousand ance ?
men at home! The idea is too ridiculous to This resistance to your arbitrary system of take up a moment of your Lordships' time. Nor taxation might have been foreseen. It was ob- can such a national and principled union be revious from the nature of things, and of mankind; sisted by the tricks of office, or ministerial maand, above all, from the Whiggish spirit flourish- neuver. Laying of papers on your table, or ing in that country. The spirit which now re-counting numbers on a division, will not avert sists your taxation in America is the same which or postpone the hour of danger. It must arrivo, formerly opposed loans, benevolences, and ship- my Lords, unless these fatal acts are done away; money in England; the same spirit which called it must arrive in all its horrors, and then these all England on its legs,' and by the Bill of boastful ministers, spite of all their confidenco
and all their maneuvers, shall be forced to hide It was Dr. Franklin.
their heads. They shall be forced to a disgrace