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1776.
PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY.

9 therio they had not laken a single ef- enemies, than they were told they tectual or plausible step, which could had in America ; that thole enemies promise to insure it success.

were much more formidable from their From the nature of our governo courage and warlike spirit, than even ment, in which those who are from their numbers ; and that mifdirect, 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,noisy,blustering, feditious relt, the minister of course will have al- difpofition, were the true cause of their ways a strong settled support. If to refittanceto the claims of thislegislatare. 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 sesion, 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, whether 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 augmentamolt 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 nefs as connected with parliament, was the House, and the truth of the infor- carried through and directed on the mation, which determined their opi- 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 consirutional 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 so 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 ihe 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 effećtual 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; Britici annals, it may not be improper for it was not in the nature of or unworthy of public attention, to say things, that the most absurd or ver- a word or two on the famous concilifatile character in either House, atory propofition, he introduced into the after having voted for the right, 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 which 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, poled right, and for suppresling the in our opinion, if he was sincere and resistance which was made to it. It is wilhed 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 conduct; 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. 1776.

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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 lentiments, of different views, and in force remains on the spot, for this wilt some instances very remote in point 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 leemItrongest appearance of compulsion,- 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- worfi, from 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 it either the army itarioned at Boston cabinet; of which, as to their general had remained inactive, or had met tendency at least, they had early and with luccelf. It is now however too authentic information; as well as of plain, I fear, that attempts to vermi- the intended embarkations of troops date matters amicably, will have very from Ireland: and I have fill leis little effect; and that either fide, no reason to doubt, on the other hand, matter to the truth of the present ob. that the march of the troops from Tervation, whether right or wrong, Bofton to Concord was with a view to will only consent to submit, or dehit carry those bills into execution, to from their respective pretensions, by ensure them success, and to deprive the more accidental events of an ob. the provincials of the means of that itinate, unnatural, 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 hap. 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 boftilities, and the detachment emwhat had been folemnly allerted, or ployed in that service was defeated confidently 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 Jait fellion. It proved no longer an a mere undisciplined mob, composed obftinate factious opposition, towing of the neighbouring peasantry, equals from the republican disloyal Spirit of ly destitute of every spark of na. the colony of Massachusers 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 fevere check was, that a regular army Hand : 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 district, in a greater or leiser de- ftrongly reinforced, had like to have gree, from the confines of Nova Sco- been totally destroyed ; and though by' tia to the Floridas. New York, North their uncommon bravery, and the Carolina, and Georgia, which had gallant spirit of their officers in the hitheno observed a conduct border- affair of Bunker's Hill, they threwaside ing upon a friendly neutrality; Pensyl. the intended blow, they bave remained vania, Maryland, and Virginia, which ever fince besieged in the town of Bofhad abitained from any act of violence, ton, or straitened in the lines, the on hearing of the acts passed for re. pofleffion of which they purchased to ftraining the trade, and prohibiting dearly on the fatal 17th of June. the fithery, suddenly united with the The very numerous and alarming others, as one man, in oppoling and consequences of the hostilities thus preparing to refif the claims of the commenced, and seemingly injudiciBritish parliament. A jerming acci- Oully conducted on our part, do not dent, however, called thole general properly come within the plan of resolutions into actual existence, much thele 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

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1776. PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY,

II Proteft of the 7th of February, were and inexpediency of coercive meafully proved, and ftri&tly verified ; sures, than in predicting the nuinerou · for our affairs have daily proceeded and endless evils, which mult flow from bad to worse, until we have been from perlitting in lo ruinous and de- brought step by step, to that ftate of itructive a system of policy. confufion,” open violence, and civil In the midlt of this sharp political war, which threatens to make the conflict, this bustle of parties and conframe of this great empire to its very tending interests, the curtain foundations, and overwhelm the na- drawn up, and it was declared by his tion in certain ruin and deftruction. majesty in the speech from the throne,

In such a state of things, it is no October 26, 1775, that a defire of adwonder, that every man

viting with his parliament on the preparty who had the honour and pro- sent ftuation of America, was his iperity of his country at heart, wilhed motive for calling them thus early to. earnestly for the meeting of parlia- gether. That those wiro too long la. ment, to know the effect of thie deli. boured to infiame his people in Ameberations of that body, in so perilous rica by the most grois miliepresentaa fituation ; a fituation on many ac. 10ns, and to infuie into their minds, counts more alarming than any that opinions repugnant to the conititu. 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 question, or on ac- revolt, hoftility, and rebellion; and count of the popular bait thrown out had made every preparation necessary by the minister in his conciliatory pro- to a state of war and relistance. That position beforementioned, which di. the authors of this delperate coninie rectly 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 pariton between the moderation obthrone poured in apace, full of the served by the mother country, and Itrongeit sentiments of disapprobation, the traiterous views of those who foand abhorrence of the conduct of the mented the present disturbances in Americans, and of the warmest ex- America ; concluding with this truijin pressions and promises of loyalty and in English politics, that “ to be a lupport, in enforcing the uncondi. subject of Great Britain, with all its tional supremacy of parliament over consequences, is to be the freeit 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 proceeded to lay it fingular and uncommon, which was down as a matter flowing from the the distinguified part several great premises, that the rebellious war now manufacturing towns and diltriels levied is carried on for the purpose took on this occasion ; à conduct on of eltablishing an independent empire, many accounts the more unexpected, and that it is now become the part of as proceeding from persons, who must wilion, as well as clemency, to put a be so materially and lensibly affected Speedy end to those disorders by thie in the event of a protracted or unfuc- mojt decisive exertions. cessful war : fucb of them especially, Turnmg from the immediate con. wbose 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 Mall be the other hand, were encountered by inade in contequence thereof, promises pétitions of an express contrary na- they fall 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 his people, who have no caule were followed by several other respect. in which he is not equally intereltec!, 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 ef administration, and the injustice troors to the garsilons of Gibraltar

and Port Mahon, in order that a lar. address but the first paragraph; and ger number of the eitablished forces of insert the following in its itead. 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 Itill giving farther ex. of the true itate and condition of the rent and activity to the intended mi. colonies, by reason of which, mea. litary operations.

sures have been carried into execuAfter having declared a readiness tion, injurious and inefficacious, from to accept of the submillion of the de. wher.ce no falutary end was realonJuded multitude, and to receive the ably to be expected, tending to tarnish mijled with tenderness and mercy, and

the lustre of the Britih arms, to bring pointed out the general plan of re. discredit on the wisdom of your maceiving those submillions and extend- jetty's councils; and to nourish, withing the royal clemency to such as, from out hope of end, a most unhappy ci. the nature of their offences and their vil war. future difpofitions, may be thought " Deeply impresled with the meworthy of royal clemency; the speech lincholy itate of public concerns, we proceeds to itate the necessity of a lup- hall in the fullett information we can ply, suited to the present circum. obtain, and with the noít mature deitances of affairs ; and laments, among liberation we can employ, review the the other unavoidable 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 mall be most willing to apply, the most faithful subjects.

eilectual means of restoring crder to His majeity concludes with a short the distracted affirs of tlie British emrecapitulation of the measures meant pire, confidence to his mijesty's goto be pursued, for fupprefling 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 occasion of having recourse parance 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 of your majetty's authority, be interrupted by disputes with any within your own dominions, and the foreign power *

Itill more 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, and feconded by Mr. in some instances, with great acrimo. Lyttelton, Jate gorernor of Jamaica, ny on hoti sides. It continued till who, in his zeal for coercive measures, half after four o'clock the next morndropped tomething which appeared ing, when the question being put on extremely disgusting to the moderate the amendment, the House divided : and dispallionate 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 lent to the motion for agreeing with the propofouth uard, and that the megroes were sed address, which paffed without a diemancipated by proclamation, they vision. would, in all probability, rile 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 conficer as the speech of the noble lord [Lord John Cavendish] minister, was full of assumed facts and 10 the addreis, which was feconded by false reasonings, founded in premedi. Sur Jimes Lowther, to omit the whole tated imposition, and total ignorance

of * Sielbe Speecb at length, p. 266, 1775.

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1776. PARLIAMENTARY History.

13 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 Itate 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 univerlal; from which it was soon as Great Britaiu 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 mined parliament, from no. nies, ail depend on the single question, tives they did not dare to confess, but who were the first aggressors; for if which might be easily accounted for ; parliament should appear in the light and that confequently their ignarance which they contended it did, then re- and incapacity on one band, or their fiftance to an unjust power, or to a traiterous juppreffion 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 establishment which thy of being longer trusted in retriev. took place in consequence of it, was ing those affairs they had brought to one of the blacket 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 disposition 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 prid to fooppofition the most naked contradic- reign interests since the accession 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 beit 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 conceslion, 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 aflerted now what 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 defeat- dance could be had on the general' aring them ? if not, wliy irritate the furances of foreign powers, whether mother 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 established lystems of policy served, that administration had none, practised among rival nations, that or they intentionally gave parliament such open and favourable opportuni. false accounts, with a view of leading ties would be overlooked by our na. the nation into a wir, by stated pro- tural or acquired enemies, if they grelles, and at lengil bringing us into Nould present even a remote or doubia fruation, which would render it ful prospect of success. That howalmoit imposible to recede. That in ever, that passage in the speech was the beginning the spirit of disobe. cautiousy worved, 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 duty, not being very doors, by two of the most formi. able to subsist without the advantages dable powers in Europe.

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