« PreviousContinue »
therto they had not laken a single ef. enemies, than they were told they fectual or plausible ftep, which could had in America ; that those enemies promise to insure it success.
were much more formidable from their From the nature of our govern. courage and warlike spirit, the even ment, in which those who are from their numbers; and that mif. direct, and those who are to act, are taken notions of liberty and of their so intimately biended and connected, political relation to this country, not a in views, habits, and common inte mere factious,noily, blustering, leditious reft, the minister of course will have al- difpofition, were the true cause of their ways a strong settled support. If to resistanceto the claims of thislegislature. this we add the country gentlemen, To pursue the minister through the or the independent part of the nation, remainder of his political career of last who united with him in sentiment on session, is no part of my present plan. many, grounds, which will be men It is enough to say, that every meationed in their proper place, no man sure, wherber relilting the petition of can be surprized that he carried every the merchants or the several motions point he wished or desired, by the made in both Houses; the augmentamoit decisive majorities. It was in- tion of the army and navy; the redeed impossible it could have happen- ftraining and fishery bills; and in ed otherwise. Grant him but the thort the whole detail of public busiconfidence of the independent part of ness as connected with parliament, was the Houle, and the truth of the infor- carried through and directed on the mation, which determined their opin principle before mentioned. I repeat nions, it could be no wonder that once more, if the claim of the British they pronounced America in rebel- legislature was a just and consiitutional Jion. Every measure which followed claim; if the papers laid before both that vote grew out of it; and the Houles were founded in fact, or means of suppressing lo unnatural and well supported in opinion; if the unprovoked a rebellion (for to this means used were adequate to the ends the whole information the House pro. proposed; who, that had a dependence ceeded or directly went) followed as on the minister, or a confidence in his of necessity.
integrity and abilities, and approved Here we would make a pause, and of the principle on which he acted, reconcile, if we could, the conduct of could refuse him their countenance adminiftration to their own professed and support? Yet, as the conduct of principles. If America was in rebel- this minifter, and the acquiescence lion, if that rebellion was wanton and and deliberations of this parliament, unprovoked, why not take the most will probably often recur in the course effectual means of suppressing it ? It of this abstract history, and form one can never be received as an apology, of the most remarkable æras in the that parliament would not co-operate; Britik annals, it may not be improper for it was not in the nature of or unworthy of public attention, to lay things, that the most absurd or ver a word or iwo on the famous concilifacile character in either House, atory propohtiin, he introduced into the after having voted for the rigbt, after Houle of Commons on the 20th of Fehaving declared the resistance to the bruary, it being intended as the great enforcing that right rebellion, could basis, on wbich all future measures rehesitate to give an almost uncondi- specting America was to be built. tional approbation and support to any The minister's friends give him the featible measure for securing the sup- whole credit of this proposition, but, posed right, and for supprelling the in our opinion, if he was fincere and refiftance which was made to it. It is withed it success, he brought it foronly therefore on a supposition of ward one year too late. To examine what the leading members of admini. it narrowly it presented two faces, a ftration have repeatedly confessed in revenue to the country gentlemen and both Houses, since the commence. the people of this country; to the ment of the present sessions, that we people of America, a faithful expencan at all account for their conduet ; diture of whatever they' were able, or which was, that they were deceived i willing, to grant towards the common that they had fewer friends and more support. But the misfortune was, that Jan. 1.76.
there was an army at Bolton ; that that twelve different governments, comarmy was to be supported ; and, in posed of persons in many respects our opinion, that no plan of concilia opposite in political and religious tion will ever answer, while a military Sentiments, of different views, and in force remains on the spot, for this wilt some instances very remote in poine always, to a people so tenacious of of situation, and little connected by their real or ideal rights, have the commercial intereft. I call it a leemstrongest appearance of compullion.- ing accident, for I have very little However, the very unlucky turn our realou to doubt, that the provincials military operations took before the were making preparations for the propofition was known in that coun worst, trom the time they understood iry, prevents us from judging pro- that bills of an unconmon rigorous perly of the effect it might have had, nature were meditating in the British if either the army itationed at Boston cabinet; of which, as to their general had remained inactive, or had met tendency at least, they had early and with luccels. It is now however too authentic information; as well as of plain, I fear, that attempts to termi- the intended embarkations of troops wate matters amicably, will have very from Ireland: and I have ftill leis little effect ; and that either fide, no reason to doubt, on the other hand, matter to the truth of the present obe that the march of the troops from fervation, whether right or wrong, Bofton to Concord was with a view to will only consent to submit, or deftt carry those bills into execution, to from their respective pretensions, by ensure them fuccess, and to deprive the more accidental events of an ob the provincials of the means of that Atinate, unvatural, and bloody war. refiftance, which probably the com
During the prorogation of parlia. mander in chief had been well apment, a series of incidents had bap- prised was intended to be made. Be pened in America, every one of them that as it may,the General commenced in the most marked contradiction to hoftilities, and the detachment em. what had been folemnly allerted, or ployed in that service was defeated confident!y foretold by the minister by a body of men, whom we had and his friends, in the course of the been hitherto taught to consider as Jast sellion. It proved no longer an a mere undisciplined mob, compoled übílinate faétious oppofirion, Howing of the neighbouring peasantry, equal. from the republican disloyal Spirit of ly deftitute of every spark of na. the colony of Massachusets Bay, and tive courage as ignorant of the the three other confederate colonies of art of war. The consequence of this Connecticut, Providence, and Rhode severe check was, that a regular army Iland : whether an evil or a good fpi- was formed on the part of the pro. rit, it pervaded every province, town, vincials ; that the king's troops, tho' and dittrict, in a greater or leiler de- ftrongly reinforced, had like to have gree, from the confines of Nova Sco. been totally destroyed zand though by' tia to the Floridas. New York, North their uncommon bravery, and the Carolina, and Georgia, which had gallant spirit of their otficers in the hitherto observed a conduct border- affair of Bunker's Hill, they threwaside ing upon a friendly neutrality; Pentyl. the intended blow, they have remained vania, Maryland, and Virginia, which ever fince besieged in ihe town of Bola had abitained from any act of violence, ton, or straitened in the lines, the on hearing of the acis palled for re- pofleffion of which they purchased to ftraining the trade, and prohibiting dearly on the fatal 17th of June. the fithery, luddenly united with the The very numerous and alarmning others, as one man, in oppofing and consequences of the hostilities thus preparing to refif the claims of the commenced, and seemingly injudiciBritish parliament. A jerming acci- ously conducted on our part, do not dent, however, called thole general properly come within the plan of refolutions into actual existence, much these introductory observations; it is earlier than could have been otherwile fufficient to say, that many of the expected, or foreseen, from the na. leading affertions, and the generad ture of a confederacy consisting of reasoning, contained in the Lords
Proteft of the 7th of February, were and inexpediency of coercive mea-
In such a state of things, it is no October 26, 1775, that a desire of adwonder, that every man
viting with his parliament on the preparty who had the honour and pro sent Aituation of America, was his Iperity of his country at heart, wihed motive for calling them thus early to. earnestly for the meeting of parlia gether.
gether. That those who too long la. ment, to know the effect of the deli toured to inflame his pople in Ameberations of that body, in so perilous rica by the most grois miliepresentaa fituation ; a situation on many actions, and to infuie into their minds, counts more alarming than any that opinions repugnant to the conitieu-had recurred since the Revolution. tional and subordinate relation to
Whether from the merits being on Great-Britain, now openly avow their that side of the queltion, or on ac- revolt, hoftility, and rebellion; and count of the popular bait thrown out had made every preparation necessary by the minister in bis conciliatory pro
to a state of war and refiftance That position beforementioned, which di. the authors of this delperate coninia sectly held out the idea of compelling, racy bad, in the progress of it, deby one means or the other, America rived great advantage from the ditto contribute towards the common ference of our intention and theirs ; burdens, the people without doors and pursuing this idea, draws a coinwere much divided. Addresses to the parison between the moderation obthrone poured in apace, full of the served by the mother country, and Itrongest sentiments of disapprobation, the traiterous views of those who foand abhorrence of the conduct of the mentes the present ditturbances in Americans, and of the warmeft ex America ; concluding with this trui in pressions and promises of loyalty and in English politics, that “ to be a Tupport, in enforcing the uncondi. fubject of Great Britain, with all its tional supremacy of parliament over consequences, is to be the freelt memall the colonies and dependencies of ber of any civil society in the known the British crown. One circumstance world." attending those addresses was rather The speech then proceeiled to lay it fingular and uncommon, which was down as a matter howing from the the distinguified part several great premises, that the rebellious war now manufacturing towns and districts levied is carried on for the purpose took on this occasion; a conduct on of eltablishing an independent empire, many accounts the more unexpected, and that it is now become the part of as proceeding from perfons, who must wildom, as well as clemency, to put a be so materially and lanlibly atfected Speedy end to those disorders by the in the event of a protracied or unsuc- moji decisive exertions.
cessful war: fuch of them especially, Turning from the immediate con. · whose trade and commercial con- fideration of the Itate of America, it
nexions depended on a friendly in. Itates the most friendlyoffers of foreign tercourse with America. Thole, on alliitance, and if any treaties hall be the other hand, were encountered by inade in contequence thereof, promises petitions of an express contrary na they fhall be laid before parliament. ture, in many instances. The cities As a testimony of the affection he of London and Bristol led the way,and bears to his people, who have no caule were followed by several other respect. in which he is not equally interested!, able bodies of men, who were no less his Majesty acquaints both Houses, explicit in condemning the conduct that he sent a part of bis Electoral of administration, and the injustice troops to the garrisons of Gibraltar
and Port Mahon, in order that a lar- address but the fiift paragraph; and ger number of the eitablished forces of insert the following in its fead. this kingdom, may be employed in “ We are satisfied, that the misthe maintenance of its authority, and fortune has in a great measure arilen points out the propriety of a national from a want of full and proper informilitia, well planned and regulated, mation being laid before parliament, as the means of ftill giving farther ex. of the true itate and condition of the fent and activity to the intended mi- colonies, by reason of which, mealitary operations.
sures have been carried into execuAfter having declared a readiness tion, injurious and inefficacious, from to accept of the fubmillion of the de. wher.ce no falutary end was reaionJudeu multitude, and to receive the ably to be expected, tending to tarnish mified with tenderness and mercy, and the lustre of the Britich arms, to bring pointed out the general plan of re discredit on the wisdom of your maceiving those submissions and extend. jesty's councils; and to nourish, withing the royal clemency to such as, from out bope of end, a most unhappy cithe nature of their offences and their
vil war. future dispositions, may be thought “ Deeply impressed with the meworthy of royal clemency; the speech lancholy Itate of public concerns, we proceeds to itate the neceility of a lup Thall in the fullett information we can ply, suited to the present circum- obtain, and with the not mature deitances of affairs ; and laments, among liberation we can employ, review the the other unavoidable ill consequences whole of the proceedings, that we of this rebellion, the extraordinary may be enabled to discover, as we burthen, which it must create to his shall be most willing to apply, the most faithful subjects.
eifectual means of restoring cruer to His majetty concludes with a short the distracted affuirs of the British emrecapitulation of the measures meant pire, confidence to his mijesty's goto be pursued, for suppresing the pre vernment, obedience by a prudent and fent dilorders; and commits what. temperate use of its powers, to the auever else may contribute to this end, thority of parliament, and satisfaction to the wisdom of parliament; adding and happiness to all your people. that he is happy, as well from aflu. “ By these means we trust we shall rances given, as from the general ap- avoid any occalion of having recourse pearance of affairs in Europe, that to the alarming and dangerous expethere is no probability that the mea dient of calling foreign forces to the fures parliament might adopt, would support
support of your majetty's authority, be interrupted by disputes with any within your own dominions, and the foreign power
still inore dreadtul calamity of thedAn address in the most perfect ding British blood by British arms." unison with the speech from the throne The debate of this day was carried was moved for in the lower House hy on with all possible zeal, energy, and Mr. Aekland, aird feconded by Mr. in some instances, with great acrimo. Lyttelton, Jate gorernor of Jamaica, ny on hoti sides. It continued till who, in liis zeal for coercive measures, half after four o'clock the next morndropped something which appeared ing, when the question being put on extremely disgusting to the moderate the amendment, the House divided : and disparlionate part of the House of For it 108, against it 278. The main all parties: it was an intimation, that question was then put on the original if a few regiments were sent to the motion for agreeing with the propofouthward, and that the megroes were sed address, which pared without a diemancipated by proclamation, they vision. would, in all probability, rife and em: It was urged by the friends of the brue their hands in the blood of their amendment, that the speech now bemasters.
fore them, which they hould conAn amendment was proposed by a tinue to consider as the speech of the noble lord [Lord John Cavendish] minister, was full of affuined facts and 10 the addreis, which was feconded by false reasonings, founded in premedi. Sir James Lowther, to omit the whole tated impolition, and total ignorance
of * Seeebe neech at length, p. 266, 1775.
of the true state of America. That derived from its trade and commerce : the people of that country were nei. this prediction proving false, it was ther in a ttate of rebellion, nor aimed then allowed to have spread through at independence; for they took up the whole province. Again, the three arms purely to defend their own just neighbouring provinces caught the rights, which they were ready to lay contagion, till at length it has become down and return to their duty, as almolt universal; from which it was foon as Great Britain defilted to exact plainly deducible, that the ministry more than a conftitutional obedience, had either been grossly deceived That the merits of the present dispute themselves, or had purposely deceive between Great Britain and her colo. ed and misled parliament, from mo. nies, all depend on the single question, tives they did not dare to confess, but who were the first aggreffors; for if which might be easily accounted for parliament should appear in the light and that consequently their ignarance which they contended it did, then re and incapacity on one band, or their sistance to an unjust power, or to a traiterous juppression of what they knew just one unconftitutionally exercised, on the other, wbicb must have been , could not be called rebellion, for if the the cause of all our present inisforcontrary was a true doctrine, the Re- tunes, rendered them totally unwor. volution, and the establiment which thy of being longer trusted in retrievtook place in consequence of it, was ing those affairs they had brought to one of the blackest and most atrocious the brink of ruin, by their treachery, rebellions recorded in history.
negligence, or mismanagement. That part of the speech, which al On the offers of foreign assistance serted that the intentions of the Ame. and the peaceable dispolition of the ricans were very different from ours, other powers of Europe, it was was very severely animadverted on;
marked that it was well known, very and received from several gentlemen in little attention had been paid to foopposition the most naked contradic- reign interests since the accesion of the tions, because the charge of a design prelent set of men into power, and to render themselves independent now
the little that hd, only served to dir. so solemnly made against the colonies, guit our belt friends, or by turns to had been sepeatedly urged in debate exasperate or win over by the most by the noble lord at the head of the wanton acts of unprovoked infolence, Treasury, and all the leading mem or lervile concession, our old and inbers in administration ; therefore the veterate enemies; by which unaccount. minister, through the medium of the able conduct, our councils were at. speech, had allerted now wbat he did once despised and disgraced in the not know to be true in fict, or for- opinion of every court in Europe. merly what he did not believe; if That in the present convulled state of they were aware of the intentions of affairs, of divisions at home and a ciAmerica, why not take the most pro- vil war in America, very little depen. per and effectual measures for deteat- dance could be had on the general aring them ? if not, wly irritate the furances of foreign powers, whether morher country against them by calum- as declared friends, or neutrals ; for nious faisehoods
it could never be supposed from the In respect of information it was ob- known establilled lyftems of policy served, that administration had none, practised among rival nations, that or they intentionaily gave parliament such open and favourable opportuni. false accounts, with a view of leading ties would be overlooked by our nathe nation into a wir, by stated pro. tural or acquired enemies, if they grefles, and at length bringing us into Thould present even a remote or doubia cruation, wbich would render it ful prospect of success. That how. almoit impossible to recede. That in ever, that passage in the speech was the beginning the spirit of disobe- cautiously worded, and at least held dience was represented as inhabiting out a pollibility, that while we were only the fingle town of Boston ; which making war 3000 miles distant, we after a proper chastisement, would might find ourselves attacked at our initan:ly return to its dury, not being very doors, by two of the most formi. able to fubfist without the advantages dable powers in Europe,