Page images
PDF
EPUB

ranean and the Bay of Biscay, thirty had taken in the present distracted men of war of the line, and night, if condition of naval, affairs, to personal they pleased, by means of their spleen, ignorance, and rancour. The registers, augment that number to order of the day being read for the forty, within the same time. The second reading of the bill for the supmen of war and frigates failed to ply of mariners and seamen aboard America, he asserted on his own the King's Mips and merchants ships, knowledge, had scarcely any able sea the same was read a second time and men at all. The Le Blonde, Captain committed for the next day. Pownall, on whom the same noble

March 22. Lord had bestowed such lavish encomi. The above bill went through a ums, for compleatly manning his committee of the whole House, was thip in a few days, had in fact, when reported, ordered to be ingroffed, and me failed from Chatham, only thirty read a third time on the Wednesday able seamen out of 220. The Flora, following: another frigate of 32 guns, had only A motion was made that the subfour able feainen when ne left that jects of France and Spain be excepted port; and was obliged to borrow fifty out of the bill, and a short debate enmen from the Ramilies guard fhip, to fuing, the question was put, and the carry her out of the river Medway to committee divided, ayes 22, noes 53. Blackítakes. A very diligent officer The bill was intended for the more at one of the rendezvous Itations, in eafy and expeditious manning of the twenty-eight days was able to procure navy, and to procure feamen to navifive seamen only; and Lord Howe's gate our merchant vessels. The plan own fhip, the Eagle, bad on Satur- of it was taken from one passed during day last (15th of March) no more the late war, which, we think was as than forty tailors, out of 108 nomi- full of wisdom and found policy, as the nal sailors, a great part of which 108 present is replete with folly and temewere lent from the yachts, and for oc- rity. The laws in being forbid our casional operations, though her full entertaining any man in our fleets or complement as a 64 gun thip, should armies, who is a Papift, or known to be 520 men. He concluded a very long be fuch ; and the act of navigation and able speech, with the most une specially ordains that two thirds of our qualified censures of the conduct of seamen aboard our merchant thips, the noble Lord at the head of the Mall be natives, or British subjects. Admiralty department ; and contend. In 1755 administration wisely foresaw ed, that after all his puffs in and out of on the breaking out of the French Parliament, more business had been war, accompanied with the profpect transacted by the late Lord Anson, of a Spanish war, that either our fleets when he presided at that board, in two must remain unmanned, or our mer. months, thin during the whole five chantmen be stripped of their hands, years of the present first commission- to the great detriment of our trade er's adminiftration.

and commerce : on which they paffed No fubitantial answer was attempt. a law as it were suspending the navigaed to be given to those facts, or the tion act, to answer the exigencies of general or particular charges made in the times. It ordained that foreign consequence of them ; only the mini. seamen might be entertained aboard fter reprehended Mr, Luttrell as disor- our ships of war, and that our mer. derly for taking notice of what had chantmen might be navigated by fo. pasied in debate in the other Houle ; reign seamen, so that no more than to which the latter replied, that he three fourths of the crew were foreignthought himfelf fully justified in foess.

ers. The present bill was a literal doirs, having only copied the exam- copy of that law, and was framed ple of that pattern of good order, with the fame intention. But here, wisdom, and rectitude, the Earl of in our opinion, a very effential dit. Sandwich, who had in the House ofference arises. The French seamen Lords reviled him in the most indecent were at that time entirely out of the terms, for what had fallen from him case, as we were at actual war with in debate, in the House of Com- that nation. The Spaniards, it is mons, and fallly imputed the part he well known, seldom go into foreiga

service

1776.
PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY.

515
service, and at that time more parti. Britain ; that from the continued com-
cularly, as a rupture between England munication with the Barbary rovers,
and Spain was much talked of. Then which must be the consequence of the
again, the Genoese, who carry on bill, and thie admision of Levant sea-
the greatest trade of any of the ltalian men, there would be much danger of
powers, and who generally form in the plague, which with a thouand
time of war one third of the seamen of other circumstances equally mortify.
France, put them likewise in a great ing and bumiliating, furnished a pic-
measure out of the case. Thus com- ture of distress, bloodshed, internal
paring the times, we are clearly of weakness, and threatened bankruptcy
opinion, if the bill will have any ope. that could not be looked at without
ration at all, it will be big with unif- grief and horror. And to compleat
chief; it will give the French, Spani. the whole, foreigners were to compose
ards, and Genuese a knowledge of our armies, to man our fleets, to take
our coasts, haibours, docks and arse. charge of our molt important fortres-
nals; it will tend to the discouragement ses in Europe, to fight our battles in
of our own naval strength, at leatt in America. Our commerce was to be
respect of seamen, to serve aboard our carried on by foreigners. In short,
vetiels of war; but above all, if we there was nothing it was laid wanting
Mould be compelled to go to war with to render us the most despicable nation
the united power of the House of in Europe, from within a very few
- Bourbon, such of their subjects as are years being the most powerful and re-

in our service at the time will go home ípectable on the globe, but the report
or be' recalled, under the penalty of of the great keys of the kingdom,
being declared traitors; the effect of Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth
which will be an imniediate want of being intrusted to the defence of the
them aboard our own thips and vesels, corps of mercenary foreigners (Scotch
and as immediate a supply aboard Dutch) in the service of the itates of
those of our natural and dangerous Holland, being authenticated.
enemies, with this additional circum-
ftance of their being rendered able Mr. Burke moved “ for leave to
seamen and skilful navigators.

bring in a bill to prevent the inhuman
No answer was returned on the part custom of plundering ships wrecked
of the miniitry, but that none of the on the coasts of great Britain, and for
consequences urg-d on the other side, the farther reliet of Thips in distress on
happened when a similar bill was pals the said coaft."-Afier fome op.
fed in 1755, which was just saying no- position, the motion was agreed to by
thing, as the circumstances so widely a majority of 56 to 13.
and essentially differed.

April 1.
March 26.

Lord North moved for leave to bring The above bill was this day read a in a bill “ to authorize for a time to be third time, and was passed without a limited, the punishment by hard ladivision, but not without the following bour of offenders, who for certain among other cogent reatons being crimes are now liable to be transported offered against the propriety and po- to any of bis Majesty's colonies and licy of it.

plantations."

No material objection It was urged that the bill would de. was stated to the motion, and the bill Atroy the British nurseries for seamen, was of course ordered in. and give foreigners the means of lay- The fame diy the state of the na. ing a foundation to rival us in the so- tion respecting its ic venues, the expenvereignty of the seas ; that it was di- ces actually incurred in the prosecurectly contrary to our treaties with the tion of the American nar, the proba. African powers, and to our patles for ble ainount of the army extraordina. the Mediterranean and Levant trade, ries, of the navy debt, nay bilis, which palles, state and derive all their transport service, and the expence of virtue from the confidence in our per- victualling the troops and seamen serv. formance of thole treaties, by grant. ing in that country, was opened very ing them purely on the condition, that fully by Mr. D. Hirtley. It would two thirds of the crew hall be na- much exceed the intentied liinits altives, or naturalized subjects of Great signed to this abftract, to pursue that

gentleman

March 27.

3 U 2

[ocr errors]

gentleman through the rarious details able to contribute a single drilling to le opened and explained, in a speech wards the discharge of the additional of full three hours long; bu' at this debt thus incurred. inportant crisis, and at this season of He next pointed out the several artithe year when the estimates of the mi. fices administration bad used the preJitary and naval establishments will ceding session to trepan, bythe most inficome of course before Parliament, dious means, the landed interest and and when the mere skeleton of the the nation at large into the present unexpence of the ensuing campaign vill, natural civil war. He said the king's ser. both within and without doors, be re- vants had called for a three shilling land presented and obtruded on the people tax, and even a reduced peace establishat large, as nearly corresponding with ment before Christmas,then represent. those esimates, we are of opinion ing the troubles in America, as origj. that we cannot render a more accepta- nating from a few factious persons, who ble service to our readers, than to lay by their machinations bad raised dis. such parts of Mr. Hartley's state of contents in one or two of the northern official requisitions and real expendi. provinces. After Christmas however, ture before them, aswill enable them on those trifling discontents were magni. the presentoccasion to at least give a to. fied into a local rebellion ; and thus Jerable guess of the amount of the total Parliament by a fallacious confidence expence, and to distinguish in future in ministers were induced to pledge wliat is really granted, from what Par- themselves to their sovereign, that they liament actually it and engaged for, would, at the risque of their lives and when they consent to place an unli- fortunes, exert themselves to suppress mited confidence in adininistration. it. This point being once gained, the

He first pointed out the necessity of augmentation of the army and nary enquiring into the revenues and the in the spring, followed of course. The expenditure, and by ascertaining their masque was however not, yet to be enrelpective amounts, be enabled there. tirely laid aside. It was possible the by to state the balance. When that nation might ftill be alarmed fo as to wis done with precision, the nation break or impede their measures ; the would know what they had to provide landed gentlemen might be alarmed and the means they had of providing by an increased land tax ; the trading it. To know what the actual or pro- and mercantile part might be alarmed bable expences of the present civil war, for the loss or suspension of comto be carried on against America, merce, the witholding their property would in his opinion be extremely on the other side of the Atlantic, and necessary for many reasons, but for with the dread of new imposts. What none so much as it would present one was the consequence? Treachery was very important object, towards decide added to the grofleft imposition. The ing the question of expediency of pro. war in America was suffered to lanfecuting the war on the principles now guilh for want of a sufficient force to openly avowed, because if it hould carry it on; a British army, to the disappear upon enquiry, that the enor. grace of the British arms, was obliged mity of the expence would be such, to suffer a blockade for eleven months, that even the most desirable train of and withal the nation was put to an military successes terminating in un- expence of five millions to no man. conditional submission, would be no ner of purpose. Even all this was solid equivalent, a question well wor- not sufficient to oblige administration thy of the most zealous partizan of to develope their real intentions. At the measures now fanctioned by Par. the opening of the present feffions, liament would then arise, whether it they practised the same species of dewould not be every way more advisable ception in part. The people were to conclude and relax, than affert, our again to be amused. The fleet was rights to the extent they were meant to proposed to be augmented 6000 men, be asserted, when the best that could and the army twenty. That, said happen would be no more than the por: they, will be amply fufficient, we de. fefion of a ruined desolated country, the fire no more,' while at the very in inhabitants ofwhichwould never be wil. ftant they were in treaty for a body of ling, nor for a long series of years be nearly 20,000 Germans. At the meeto

[ocr errors]

1776.
PARLIAMENTARY History.

517 ing of Parliament immediately after the discretion of the respective comthe recess, the report first began to manders, and partly at the discretion spread; and towards the latter end of of the ministry, in their several departFebruary, the measure was formally ments. In conformity to this rule of announced, by the treaties with the incurring expence, the House has al. Landgrave of Heffe, Duke of Bruns. ready before it all the specific estiwick, and Prince of Hanau, being laid mates; but the immeasurable part of officially before the House. Where the expence, will be in the secret and then are we? Have not all the pre- bidden class of extraordinaries left to dictions from this House been literally the unrestrained discretion of minifulfilled ? Has it not been errant folly (ters, commanders, commissaries, and in administration, to piunge us into contractors. The House and the pubour present situation ? or downright lic are amused with nominal estimates, treachery afore-thaught, to lead their while this bottomles, gulpb is opened unsuspecting country, step by ltep,into behind us, and threatens national ruin an irreconcilable civil war, to dip and public bankruptcy. It is thereGreat Britain and America in blood, fore high time, that this chaos of exand to cut off the retreat to peace and traordinaries, particularly on the presafety?

sent occasion, when ascertaining nearWhich ever be the case, administra. ly their amount makes a part of the tion have at least forfeited all claim to question of expediency of persisting confidence. Peace is not, say they, in our unmodified claims on America, to be obtained, without relinquishing thould be reduced to some reasonable the constitutional dominion and con- shape of computation. Ministers will troul which this legislature had a right hardly have the effrontery to refuse to exercise over our American colo- to co-operate in so necessary a work; nies; nor is the whole power of this they will, it may be prelumed, hardly country equal to the undertaking, dare to tell this House seriously, that

That however reasonable it might they have not the least measure of have been last year, to have foreseen what they recomiend or undertake. the iminensity of the war ; yet, parlia. It would not be decent for them, to ment would not have been disposed to come in the next feffion, with a boundbave granted more extensive aids, and less demand of debts incurred upon therefore, that no more were then ap- the confidence now reposed in them, plied for. But now, we are dipt in, and tell us then, as they have freand must wade through ; it an army quently in the course of the present of 50,000 men, and one hundred ships session, we foresaw all these expences, of force, are thought necessary, the but we concealed them carefully from ministerial language is, there is no re. you, that we might insensibly lead treat, it must be done.--Wishing how. you on.” He then moved, that there ever, that the nation, nor that House, be laid before the House the probable may longer continue to be imposed expence of the navy, under its several on; and that they might be put in beads of buildings, rebuildings, repoffesfion of such facts, as would few pairs, transport and victualling, for some of the consequences of the present the year 1776 ; and likewise, of the measures, pursuing in America, he extraordinaries of the army and of faid, he had foine motions to submit the ordnance for land service, over to the House, which if complied within and above the provision already made would bring forth such materials, as in this session of parliainent. wouid essentially lead to, and allift in These are the materials which are forming a judgment and coming to a absolutely neceflary to lay before us, decision.

in order to form a proper judgment The three great branches of national on the expediency of pursuing the expence, are the Navy, the Army, and American war, on the new doctrine the Ordnance; and each of these three of unconditional fubmiffion. This is branches is divided into two parts, what may properly be called Jaying viz. expences which are voted upon the state of the nation before the respecific estimates, and extraordinary presentatives of the people. The miexpences, which are incurred every niltry cannot now, in the month of year in the three services, partly at April, be ignorant of the number of fhips deftined for sea service for this of an enormous expence, and hazard, year, the complement of men for each besides all confequences of defeat or a rate, consequently how much either ruinous protracted war? Whether will exceed the number voted by pare they will consent to expend, or rather liament. In forming such an estimate, incur a debt of twelve millions, and the board of admiralty can furnish a run the risque of doubling it the next lift of the seamen to be employed, the campaign? And whether, in the paymaster of the marines can send an third year, after incurring a debt of account of the number of marines; thirty millions, commit themselves the value of stores contracted for fhips, helpless, exhaufted, and defenceless to building-yards, and rope-yards, may the mercy of France and Spain ? be eafily ascertained; else, how is the The whole extent of my propofition navy to be provided? The usage of is intended to go to this; as I perceive office justifies this assertion. This no token of consent, on the other fide journal on the ad of May 1771, etta. of the House, either that the noble blifbes the precedent.-Clerk reads.-- Lord would lay before the House, the Value of fores, materials, &c. con- belt evidence and information in bis tracted, for his Majefty's hips and power, by authentic estimates; or yards., Wages to inferior officers, that he will allow me to offer niy conand workmen in his Majesty's several jectural estimates; or that he will give dock yards. Value of stores, materi. himself the trouble to point out in als, &c. for his Majesty's rope-yards. what parts he may think those now Wages to seamen, &c. to be employed offered are erroneous. Having noat tea, in the course of the ensuing thing to misrepresent, and hardly year; and, value of provisions to be room to exaggerate, the whole is freepurchased, &c. &c.

ly committed to the candour of the These are enough for a specimen; House. To bring the whole into one the farther distribution of the several point of view, it will be necessary to heads of naval estimates may be seen ftate the following particulars, in the fame paper.

As for the extraordinaries of the Sums voted upon estimate, £6,157,000 land fervice, as well as of the navy, Sums remaining to be voted they surely can be ascertained, or else ditto,

750,000 how are they to be provided for? We Probable excess of the excannot be at any great loss; look at pences of the navy,army, 5,300,000 tbe lait bill of extras; are they not and ordnance, classed methodically ? --Supply to the forces at Boston, at Montreal, Quie

12,207,000 bec, &c. Clothing and accoutrements, forage, live stock, vegetables, To which add debts out. and beer.

ítanding, navy, excheThe last estimate fought by these motions, is that of the office of ordnance. Is their powder not yet fhip

16,955,000 ped? Are their guns not yet cast ? Are their baggage waggons not yet Deduct one year's nett pro-, built? This is not meant to perplex duce of the ordinary re- 4,950,000 minifters, by looking for a captious venue, minute eftimate. It is not to ascertain numbers or quantities, to an ounce of The balance, unprovided ? powder, a guin-lock, or a hand-ipike, for by parliament,

312,00 5,000 that this enquiry tends; it is laid down on the scale of millions.

Here the above gentleman, in by If the minister will condescend to much one of the most able financial gratify the House as far as he is able, details we ever heard laid before paron these several beads; then the ques. liament, enumerated the several artition will come nakedly and fairly be- cles of expence under their respective for parliament; whether with their heads, either as already specifically eyes open, they will pursue this civil voted, or to be probably incurred, by war, with all its certain evilo in point analogy to former wars, to the number

of

quer bills, and civil lidt, J4.748,000

« PreviousContinue »