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No man has a right to take it from him without his consent either expressed by himself or his representative. Whoever attempts to do this attempts an injury. Whoever does it, commits a robbery." Lord Mansfield, however, as we shail see, took the opposite ground, and the opposite ground prevailed. The consequence was that the Colonies were lost.
AN ADDRESS TO THE THRONE CONCERNING
NOVEMBER 18, 1777.
Though at the delivery of this speech Chatham had already entered upon his seventieth year, he seems to have been inspired with all the fire of his youth. It is by most critics regarded as his greatest effort. Chatham had abundant reason for an extraordinary affection for America, and, as he saw that a persistence in the mad course entered upon would inevitably result in a loss of the colonies, he brought all his powers to an advocacy of a treaty of peace on such terms as would at once save the colonies and the honor of the mother country. It is the only speech of Chatham, the report of which was corrected by himself and published with his approval.
I rise, my Lords, to declare my sentiments on this most solemn and serious subject. It has imposed a load upon my mind, which, I fear, nothing can remove, but which impels me to endeavor its alleviation, by a free and unreserved communication of my sentiments.
In the first part of the address, I have the honor of heartily concurring with the noble
Earl who moved it. No man feels sincerer joy than I do; none can offer more genuine congratulations on every accession of strength to the Protestant succession. I therefore join in every congratulation on the birth of another princess, and the happy recovery of her Majesty.
But I must stop here. My courtly complaisance will carry me no farther. I will not join in congratulation on misfortune and disgrace. I cannot concur in a blind and servile address, which approves and endeavors to sanctify the monstrous measures which have heaped disgrace and misfortune upon us. Thiş, my Lords, is a perilous and tremendous moment! It is not a time for adulation. The smoothness of flattery cannot now avail-cannot save us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to instruct the Throne in the language of truth. We must dispel the illusion and the darkness which envelop it, and display, in its full danger and true colors, the ruin that is brought to our doors.
This, my Lords, is our duty. It is the proper function of this noble assembly, sitting, as we do, upon our honors in this House, the hereditary council of the Crown. Who is the
minister-Where is the minister, that has dared to suggest to the Throne the contrary, unconstitutional language this day delivered from it? The accustomed language from the Throne has been application to Parliament for advice, and a reliance on its constitutional advice and assistance. As it is the right of Parliament to give, so it is the duty of the Crown to ask it. But on this day, and in this extreme momentous exigency, no reliance is reposed on our constitutional counsels! no advice is asked from the sober and enlightened care of Parliament! but the Crown, from itself and by itself, declares an unalterable determination to pursue measures—and what measures, my Lords? The measures that have produced the imminent perils that threaten us; the measures that have brought ruin to our doors.
Can the minister of the day now presume to expect a continuance of support in this ruinous infatuation? Can Parliament be so dead to its dignity and its duty as to be thus deluded into the loss of the one and the violation of the other? To give an unlimited credit and support for the steady perseverance in measures not proposed for our parliamentary advice, but dictated and forced upon us--in measures, I
say, my Lords, which have reduced this late flourishing empire to ruin and contempt ! “But yesterday, and England might have stood against the world : now none so poor to do her reverence.” I use the words of a poet ; but, though it be poetry, it is no fiction. It is a shameful truth, that not only the power and strength of this country are wasting away and expiring, but her well-earned glories, her true honor, and substantial dignity are sacrificed.
France, my Lords, has insulted you; she has encouraged and sustained America; and, whether America be wrong or right, the dignity of this country ought to spurn at the officious insult of French interference. The ministers and embassadors of those who are called rebels and enemies are in Paris; in Paris they transact the reciprocal interests of America and France. Can there be a more mortifying insult? Can even our ministers sustain a more humiliating disgrace? Do they dare to resent it? Do they presume even to hint a vindicatien of their honor, and the dignity of the State, by requiring the dismission of the plenipotentiaries of America ? Such is the degradation to which they have reduced the glories of England ! The people whom they affect to call con