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rights and interests of his people.” This motion BOOK was seconded by lord Lewisham ; but it was not carried without a long and animated debate, in Debates on which Mr. Thomas Townshend, afterwards created the declaraLord Sydney, particularly distinguished himself. against He severely censured “ the late long adjournment, which was only calculated to free the executive government from the control and inspection of parliament, who had now only to ratify what the rashness of ministers had most unadvisedly done. In this manner had the house been led into the American war, that fatal source of all our calamities. In this manner had the French rescript been announced; and afterwards the Spanish rescript; and at length the de. claration of war against Holland, our antient and natural ally. Year after year had the minister acquainted the house with a new enemy, but never had he yet brought them the welcome information of a new friend. Much had been said of the
provocations we had received from Holland, and the predominance of a French interest in that country-but had Holland received no provocation from us? The insolence of the British memorial presented to the States in 1777, contributed more than any thing else to the prevalence of the French faction in Holland. It had been stated, as a serious ground of offence, that Holland had not complied with the requisition of troops, which by treaty she had engaged 10 furnish. But it was notorious that, in the event
BOOK of this compliance, Holland would have been im. wmediately invaded by France; and, in conformity
with the same treaties, we must then have sent a much greater aid to the assistance of the republic. If the Dutch at the present period had changed their political system respecting this country, it was owing to the criminal conduct of an administration who had precipitated us into a war whence all our misfortunes had arisen. In consequence of that war, our American commerce was lost; and could it be a matter of surprise that the Dutch, a people who existed by commerce, should be desirous to secure a share of it? We were abandoned, not by the Dutch only, but by all the powers of Europe, who were all equally convinced that, under the present wretched administration of affairs, whoever became the ally of Great Britain would only share in her disgrace and her misfortunes.”
In the house of lords, the duke of Richmond, lord Shelburne, and lord Camden, inculcated the saine ideas with great animation and ability. to what was called the treaty between Holland and America,” lord Camden said, “ it was the mere unauthorised act of Van Berkel, and betrayed neither directly nor indirectly any intention in the States General of a hostile nature.
It did not even appear that they knew any thing of this man or his colleagues ; and much less that they had determined to ratify this pretended treaty, or project of a
treaty, by which no one was bound, and no one BOOK could be injured.”
His lordship contrasted the conduct of the present ministers to the States General with that of lord Chatham, who, in the zenith of his victories, had never deviated from the line of respect and modera. tion. “ He was too wise and magnanimous, whatever might be the causes of complaint, to adopt the style and language of that provoking, arrogant, and indecent memorial, to which, more than to any other circumstance whatever, the subsequent conduct of the republic might be attributed *. His lordship was of opinion that the manifesto against Holland ought not to receive the sanction of their lordships, till stronger evidence were produced of the necessity, justice, and policy, of that measure: and if no better grounds of hostility should be the result of a more particular inquiry, parliament would be bound to order immediate reparation and satisfaction to be given for the injury already sustained by Holland; and an end would be of course put to the further prosecution of hostilities."
In both houses, nevertheless, the addresses were carried by great majorities ; but the dissentient
peers recorded their objecions in a strong and vigorous
* The allusion is to the famous memorial of February 21, 1777, presented by sir Joseph Yorke to the States General, relative to the conduct of the governor of St. Eustatia, M. Van Graaf.
BOOK protest. Their lordships declare, “ that they can
never believe a rupture so contrary to the uniform
and approved policy of our ablest statesmen can
government. Those laws required the intervention of the judicial departinent, and those were the means which the States of Holland, to whose peculiar cognizance it belonged, had resolved to use, by requiring on this subject the advice of the court of
justice established in their province. Of this the BOOK chevalier Yorke had been formally apprised :—but what was the astonishment of their High Mightinesses, when the said ambassador, calling the said resolve illusive, flatly refused to transinit it to his court! This obliged their High Mightinesses to send it to count Welderen, their minister in London, with orders to lay it before his Britannic ma. jesty, whose ministers had nevertheless returned it unopened to the ambassador.
The war, thus rashly and haughtily commenced, was conducted in the bitter spirit of animosity and revenge*. But before the military operations of the year are entered upon, it will be proper to ter
* It is a remarkable fact, positively affirmed by Rendorp, burgomaster of Amsterdam, in a political publication, called Memorien dienende tot Opheldering, and still uncontradicted, that sir Joseph Yorke, when he left the Hague, went to Antwerp, and instigated the inhabitants of that city to petition the emperor to insist
upon the free navigation of the Scheldt. And it is notorious, that when this demand was, some years afterwards, actually made by the emperor, England, far from taking any alarm, looked on with calm indifference, or rather with pleasure. But when the same thing was, more recently, attempted by France, the balance of Europe was discovered to be in imminent danger of subversion : and England and Holland were, by the violence of men disdaining all explanation and concession, plunged into a most ruinous and destructive war, under the pretext of defending the violated rights of the Treaty of Westphalia.