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House of Commons



THURSDAY, January 19, 1775.

The Lord North presented to the House; by his Majesty' s command, the following Papers. — [ See Folio 1489.]

And a list of the said Papers was read.

Mr˙ Burke observed, there were no letters from Maryland, and desired the noble Lord would inform the House whether any had been received, or whether they were kept back for political reasons; and whether these papers contained all the intelligence the Ministers had received from America.

Lord North replied, that he had brought the papers, but had not examined them; neither did he know whether there were any letters from Maryland, or not; that if there were any, they should be laid before the House. As to the papers containing all the intelligence from America, he would not undertake to say they did, as those he had brought were extracts, containing only the facts in the original letters; that the authors' opinions were not mentioned, it having been frequently found that the private opinions of people in office being made publick, had been attended with bad consequences, therefore his Majesty' s servants had determined, for the future, never to mention the private opinion of any person.

Mr˙ Burke said, that in some cases it might be proper to keep secret the private opinion of a person; yet, in so critical and alarming affair as that of America, the opinion of a man in power, on the spot, must be of great service; he therefore was of opinion that the whole of the information received from America ought to be laid before the House, and not extracts of particular letters, such as suited the Ministers' purpose.

Lord North moved that the said Papers be referred to the consideration of a Committee of the Whole House, on the 26th.

Ordered, That the said Papers be referred to the consideration of a Committee of the Whole House.

Resolved, That this House will, upon this day seven-night, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House, to consider of the said Papers.