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Debate — Duke of Richmond


The Duke of Richmond again rose, and apologized for the trouble he was going to give their Lordships. He expressed a consciousness of his own inability, and a wish that others more equal to the task had stood forward at this tremendous crisis; a crisis which he feared would decide the fate of this great empire forever. He lamented the absence of the Marquis of Rockingham and the Earl of Chatham. The latter, when this nation was on the brink of destruction, rescued it from impending ruin; and not resting there, gave a lustre to our arms, and an efficacy and steadiness to our councils, never before known in the annals of this country. The other of them, a noble Marquis, [of Rockingham,] who, in a season of publick distraction, presided at the head of the national councils, with honour to himself and satisfaction to the nation; and though his Administration was of but short continuance, had the good fortune to quit his station with a consciousness of having healed those unhappy disputes which threatened the empire with the most serious and alarming consequences; but which have since broken out with redoubled vigour and malignity. He was aware how much he should feel the absence and consequent support of the two noble Lords, in prosecuting the business of this day; but however unequal to the attempt himself, he deemed it a part of his duty, and without considering minutely all the consequences, he should, in discharge of that duty, abandon and renounce every collateral consideration whatever, and do what he could, instead of effecting what he might wish.

The justice of the American war, the rights of the mother country, and the claims of America, had been so frequently and so amply discussed, that he should avoid, as much as possible, every fact and argument that could possibly tend to introduce those subjects into the present debate. He should endeavour to confine himself to the terms of his motion respecting the treaties, and only advert to such parts of the


conduct of Administration, and the means hitherto adopted in the prosecution of the war, as directly applied to them. The first ground he took was, giving a short history of the several treaties entered into with the Landgraves of Hesse, beginning with that made in the year 1702, and ending with those several explanations and modifications of that made at the commencement of the late war, and down so late as the year 1761, when his Serene Highness was indemnified for the losses sustained in his Landgraviate, by that country being frequently made by the enemy the seat of war. In this historical detail his Grace showed that the successive Landgraves, from time to time, rose in their demands, and still as they continued to extort better terms, they never failed to establish the former extortion as a precedent for the basis of the succeeding treaty, always taking care to make some new demand on this country. This, he insisted, was the case of the present. The preceding treaty to a subsidy added its continuance to a certain period. The one now under consideration doubled the subsidy. His Grace then entered into several computations on the different heads of pay, levy money, subsidy, victualling, and transport service for the troops, which he affirmed would amount to one million one hundred and sixty-nine thousand pounds, and that this, with transport service for the victuallers, would make one million two hundred and thirty thousand pounds; and if the other articles under the head of contingencies, &c˙, were included, the expense of which could not now be ascertained, he had little doubt that the whole would be full one million and a half. He contended that this was a most enormous sum for the assistance of only seventeen thousand three hundred men, an expense, he would venture to maintain, considering the number to be employed, not known in the history of mankind. Those matters, however serious in the present miserable state of our finances, and the enormous load of publick burdens we groan under, were not what pressed so forcibly on his mind. It was the tenour of the treaties, the ambiguous terms they were worded in some places, the dangerous precedents they established or glided in, that principally called forth his attention, and gave rise to his fears. He observed with grief and the best founded jealousy, that an overruling influence had for some years pervaded our councils; that this influence had been exercised in effecting measures of a most dangerous and dark complexion; that it sometimes made its approaches by stealth, at other times rendered itself visible in open day, and proceeded to acts of violence. Hanoverians had been brought into the dominions of the British Crown, without consent of Parliament. An attempt was made to introduce a body of foreigners into Ireland, which miscarried. He understood that the same attempt would be repeated, though he did not pretend to authenticate it as a matter of fact. And if any doubt remained, the present treaties afforded ample matter for serious alarm. In the first place, he observed that they were formed on no sound principle of alliance or reciprocal support. It is true they were said to be formed on the basis of mutual succour and support, but those expressions imported nothing; they were mere words of course. It was a downright mercenary bargain for the taking into pay a certain number of hirelings, who were bought and sold like so many beasts for slaughter. There was no common interest which mutually bound the parties; and if there was, the conduct of the foreign Princes was the most extraordinary that was ever known. They were to be subsidized. They were to have levy money. They were to have a double subsidy. Their corps were to be kept up complete. They were to be paid till the troops returned to their respective countries; and the subsidies were to be continued, according to the tenour of the respective treaties, one or two years after the troops ceased to be of any service to us. But taking it on the other ground, that the treaties were formed on the true basis of alliance, what would be the consequence? That if any of those Powers were attacked, or should wantonly provoke an attack, for the engagement was left general and unconditional, we should give them all the succour in our power. Thus, for the assistance of a few thousand foreign mercenaries, we are not only to pay double, but are to enter into a solemn engagement to exert our whole force, to give them all the succour in our power, if the Landgrave or Duke shall be attacked or disturbed in the possession of his dominions.

His Grace begged next to recall to the memory of their


Lordships, the language held by the friends of the present measures towards the close of the late war. He said a very ingenious gentleman [Mr˙ Mauduit] at that period wrote a pamphlet, entitled "Considerations on the German War," in which he introduced several computations of the cost of every French scalp to this nation; and made it amount to ten thousand pounds per head. He therefore recommended to the noble Lords, who then approved of that gentleman' s estimate, to consider what an American scalp would cost, when seventeen thousand foreigners would stand us in at the rate of one million and a half per annum. He observed be had many noble Lords in his eye, who professed themselves of that opinion. One noble Lord, now absent, [Lord Bute,] made use of the very arguments here adverted to, in debate, and a noble Duke, [of Bedford,] now deceased, maintained the same opinions. He remembered, a little after, when we were victorious in every quarter of the globe, when all we wanted was money, and all we had to contend with was climate to prevent us from possessing ourselves of the whole of Spanish America, the same two noble Lords and their friends justified the peace, on no other ground but our inability to raise new taxes. They allowed that conquest was certain, but that the national debt was enormous. Where, then, was the material change of circumstances, after the conclusion of the present campaign, when the debt, which was, after a thirteen years' peace, not reduced above seven millions, where the conquest was not certain, and where if it were, it would he a conquest over our own subjects, operating to our own ruin, unaccompanied by either fame or advantage? Would not we, then, as at the close of the last war, be in a situation when even to prosecute certain conquest would be the height of folly and political phrensy?

His Grace remarked on the danger of keeping a body of twelve thousand foreigners together, under the absolute command of one of their own Generals; of the possibility, though he should consent to serve under a junior officer, of his arriving to the supreme command; and of the confusion which might be created by a difference on this head, between the foreign General and the Commander-in-Chief. He laid great stress on that passage in the Hessian treaty, in which it is provided, Article 9th, "that his Majesty shall make use of this body of troops by land in Europe wherever he shall judge proper." He said he could not see what operations they could be employed in, unless it were in this country, in case of a rebellion or a revolt, which none foresaw but the advisers of the present measures. The foreign troops were to be double officered, which was another weighty and useless expense; that is, every company of one hundred men were to have two Captains, two Lieutenants, two Second Lieutenants, and two Ensigns, and so in proportion of servants, &c˙; so that, out of the whole number, upwards of three thousand men were not to be rank and file, contrary to every rule of war, which, in a given number of men, endeavours to render the rank and file as numerous as the nature of the service will possibly allow; because it is on them that the weight of attack or defence generally rests. It is so in our own troops, and has always been an established usage, never to allow more than four officers to a corps of one hundred men.

His Grace made some observations on the supercession of the several officers in the naval and military departments, in which he maintained, that nothing like it had ever happened in the British service, without complaints or without inquiry. Great faults had been found with General Gage and Admiral Graves; the miscarriages which happened were imputed to their want of conduct; yet no charge is made against them, but they are recalled. To keep up the farce, the former is received coolly, but in a few days after a new commission is made out, appointing him Commander-in-Chief; and in a few days again, without any cause even pretended, for there could be none, as he remained on the spot, he is superseded, and General Howe appointed in his room. Yet that is not the best of it; Admiral Shuldham is appointed to succeed Admiral Graves; but before he could take possession of this command he is superseded, and Lord Howe appointed in his room. Such an extraordinary conduct was surely never known; but perhaps the superseded Admiral might think himself easy under this indignity, if what was reported was true, that he was to be created an Irish Peer. For the honour, however, of the noble Lord at the head of the Admiralty, he hoped his


Lordship would explain this last official riddle, and fairly, and with his usual candour, inform the House, whether those arrangements originated from him, or whether he was really overruled in the Cabinet.

This changing, appointing, and superseding, besides the instability it denoted, presented another matter well worthy their Lordships' consideration. It showed that the service was disagreeable on one hand, or that the superior officers were passed by and neglected on the other. He said, there were some officers of long service and tried abilities present, as well as several others of high rank in the army. He would be glad to know from them, what were the motives that induced Administration to pass by the senior officers, and devolve the command upon a very young Major-General. He knew that it must proceed either from an aversion to the service in them, or a total want of respect to their persons from those in power.

Much stress had been laid on the justice and popularity of the present measures. He should not debate that subject now. It was said that the independent part of the nation were for them; but he questioned the assertion strongly in the extent it was contended; for in the other House, he was informed that the Treasurer of the Navy, (Sir Gilbert Elliot,) and the Paymaster of the forces, (Mr˙ Rigby,) the one deriving his support and consequence from the Cabinet, and the other from his party, and both deeply interested in measures which, if pursued, must shortly be the means of procuring for them princely fortunes, were those who chiefly supported coercive measures. Those gentlemen and their connections, with the whole race of money-jobbers, contractors, &c˙, he believed, formed no small part of the "independent" majorities which had been so loudly echoed both within and without doors, as precipitating this country into a cruel, expensive, and unnatural civil war.

He observed, that the war, if carried on, would not only be a war of heavy expense and long continuance, but would be attended with circumstances of cruelty, civil rage, and devastation, hitherto unprecedented in the annals of mankind. We were not only to rob the Americans of their property, and make them slaves to fight our battles, but we made war on them in a manner which would shock the most barbarous nations, by firing their towns, and turning out the wretched inhabitants to perish in cold, want, and nakedness. Even still more, this barbarick rage was not only directed against our enemies, but our warmest and most zealous friends. This he instanced in the late conflagration of the loyal town of Norfolk, in Virginia, as Administration had so frequently called it, which was reduced to ashes by the wanton act of one of our naval commanders. Such an act was no less inconsistent with every sentiment of humanity, than contrary to every rule of good policy. It would turn the whole continent, as well friends as foes, into the most implacable and inveterate enemies. It would incense our friends, and render our enemies at once fierce, desperate, cruel, and unrelenting. It disgraced our arms; it would render us despised and abhorred, and remain an indelible blot on the dignity and honour of the English nation.

His Grace stated some passages in the treaties, and commented on them very fully, where such passages explained matters which might be productive of disagreements between the foreign and native troops, and stated the omissions that had been purposely or ignorantly made, particularly in regard to a cartel for the exchange of prisoners. He said that matter had been totally passed over in silence; and if any punishments should be inflicted on those who, by the language of Parliament, were called Rebels, the consequences might be dreadful. He alluded to the case of Ethan Allen, who, being found in arms, was brought home prisoner; yet Administration dared not bring him to a trial, even under their favourite Act of Henry VIII, either because they knew that he could not be legally tried, or feared an English jury could not be prevailed on to find him guilty. Be that as it may, the present treaties were extremely defective in that point; and if Administration were not obstinately determined to act wrong in every particular, they would endeavour to provide against the numerous inconveniences which must arise from a want of a cartel.

He concluded, by informing their Lordships that what he was now going to state might be deemed improper, as exposing our national weakness; but if it was essentially necessary, he presumed that objection would be removed;


and if the objection could be removed on the ground that France was perfectly acquainted with the present state and condition of the national force now within the kingdom, that would be another good reason that nothing respecting our means of defence should be concealed. He then said, that the whole of our military force, now within this kingdom, consisted of the foot-guards, composed of sixty-four companies, amounting to two thousand five hundred men, one thousand of which were destined for America; three regiments of horse and body-guards, of about one thousand five hundred men; four battalions returned from America, with officers only, at about one hundred each; ten regiments of dragoons, of two hundred men each; and three complete battalions of infantry, — the whole amounting, (allowing for the one thousand men drafted from the guards,) to about seven thousand men. Supposing, then, that three thousand of those were put into the garrisons of Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Chatham, the remainder fit to take the field, after a sufficient number was left to guard London, allowing one thousand for each place, would not be above three thousand; which, he contended, would be totally inadequate to any military operation, should France and Spain think proper to take an advantage of our defenceless state. He said, indeed, that a Militia was to be raised, in order to supply this deficiency; but however constitutional that mode of national defence might be, he insisted that it would never answer any purpose of repelling a powerful enemy, while it continued to be so disgracefully and improperly conducted as it was at present, when unqualified officers were admitted on one hand, and substitutes on the other, Besides, though the Militia had been officered and manned much better, it could not be expected that they could face a veteran army, superior in numbers and discipline. And as for the invalids, every man among them almost fit for real service, had been already drafted; so that, on the whole, the picture which such a scene of internal weakness, joined with a few ships not half manner, presented, was most dreadful. It was, however, necessary to bring it forward, to see if anything could stimulate our Governours to provide for our national safety, and prevent us from falling a prey to our dangerous and ambitious neighbours.

The Earl of Suffolk. I cannot say, my Lords, that the noble Duke who made the motion has stated one solid objection to the present treaties, or pointed out a single instance in which our former treaties with those Princes have been materially departed from. His Grace has taken great pains to swell the account by several items, which, according to my apprehension, do not properly belong to it; but if they did, they would not prove a tittle relative to the comparative dearness or cheapness of the terms on which the troops have been procured. The tenour of the treaties themselves are no other than what has been usual on former occasions. The present, it is true, is filled with pompous, high-sounding phrases of alliance; but I will be so ingenuous as to confess to the noble Duke, that I consider them merely in that light; and, if he will, I allow that the true objects of those treaties is not so much to create an alliance, as to hire a body of troops, which the present rebellion in America has rendered necessary. I will likewise give this general answer to his Grace, relative to the comparative expense, that should the war be terminated in one year, the bargain will be manifestly advantageous, because we shall pay but one year' s double subsidy, which is equal to two years single subsidy. If the war should continue two years, in that event we shall neither gain nor lose, because two years double subsidy will be equal to four years single, the usual term stipulated in former treaties; and if the war should continue longer, I confess that the terms would, in that event, be disadvantageous. But, my Lords, though the terms were really as disadvantageous as the noble Duke has endeavoured to represent them, if we wanted the troops, we should have been obliged to acquiesce. The proper question is, Whether we do want them? I must declare for one, that I think we do; and as such, am happy that we were able to procure them on such easy and beneficial terms; for all circumstances considered, such as the very short notice, the disagreeableness of the service at such a distance from home, to be transported across the Atlantick Ocean, induce me to be surprised, not that we were obliged to pay so dear for them, but rather serve to astonish me how we were able to procure them so cheap. Besides, the


noble Duke seems to forget, that even on his own principles foreigners are much more proper to be employed in this war than natives; for if the war be just, of which I have no doubt, and that troops must be employed, and that foreigners can be more easily had than natives, the measure will follow of necessity, and can be fairly justified on that ground. The noble Duke, alluding to a passage in the Hessian treaty, says, that the troops being under the command of a senior officer, the supreme command of the whole army will naturally devolve on him, when the British Commander-in-Chief happens to be a junior officer. I do not pretend to speak from my own knowledge, but I would appeal to any noble Lord in this House acquainted with military matters, whether the commission given a Commander-in-Chief does not supersede any other; and whether of course a young Major-General, acting in that character, will not thereby have an absolute and supreme command over every officer in that service, be his rank what it may. The noble Duke says we brought over Ethan Allen in irons to this country, but were afraid to try him, lest he should be acquitted by an English jury, or that we should not be able legally to convict him. I do assure his Grace, that he is equally mistaken in both his conjectures: we neither had a doubt but we should be able legally to convict him, nor were we afraid that an English jury would have acquitted him; nor, further, was it out of any tenderness to the man, who, I maintain, had justly forfeited his life to the offended laws of his country. But I will tell his Grace the true motives which induced Administration to act as they did: we were aware that the Rebels had lately made a considerable number of prisoners, and we accordingly avoided bringing him to his trial from considerations of prudence — from a dread of the consequences of retaliation; not from a doubt of his legal guilt, or a fear of his acquittal by an English jury. The noble Duke has quoted one instance to show that the expense of foreign troops has been increased, because they were double officered. I do not pretend to speak directly as to the necessity of such an arrangement; but I have no doubt but it is agreeable to the usage of the Hessian service, and, as such, is no more than what has been agreed to by former treaties.

The Earl of Coventry. I do not rise to speak expressly to the present treaties, further than they relate to the measures now pursuing relative to America, which, for the reasons so often urged by me, I shall ever continue to think impolitick and unwise, and, as such, shall declare my hearty disapprobation of them; not that I think the wisest or best concerted measures that were ever planned can avert the destruction which, from the nature of the increasing power, wealth, and population of the Colonies, is, in my opinion, inevitable. It is in the body politick as in the natural body, the seeds of dissolution are contained in the first vital principles of both. Sooner or later the event must happen; and the greatest stretch that human wisdom can effect is no more than to prolong the duration of one, as the greatest care and attention, joined with the best native constitution, may do to prolong the other. If you look on the map of the globe, and view Great Britain and North-America, and compare the extent of both; if you consider the soil, the harbours, rivers, climate, and increasing population of the latter, nothing but the most obstinate blindness and partiality can prevail on any man to entertain a serious opinion that such a country will long continue under subjection to this. The question is not, therefore, how we shall be able to realize such a delusive scheme of dominion, but how we shall make it their interest to continue faithful allies and warm friends. Surely that can never be effected by fleets and armies. On the contrary, instead of meditating conquest, and exhausting our strength in an ineffectual struggle, we should vote a thanksgiving, and wisely abandoning all wild schemes of coercing that country, we should leave America to itself, and wish to avail ourselves of the only substantial benefit we can ever expect to derive from it, the profits of an extensive commerce, and the strong support of a firm and friendly alliance for mutual defence and assistance. It has been my misfortune, when I have formerly spoken on this subject, to be misunderstood by a learned and noble Lord I now see in his place, [Lord Mansfield.] His Lordship supposed, that I wished for a separation of the two countries, purely to convince America of her weakness and inability to subsist without us, and that with an expectation of her


again returning to her former subordinate situation. The noble Lord, I have no doubt, understood me in that sense; but I trust his Lordship will do me the justice to believe that I meant no such thing. I think such an union impracticable, and I think, too, that, sooner or later, a formal separation must take place. In such an event, I allow, it would be the mutual interest of both countries to be connected by every tie of alliance and friendly intercourse; in short, to be united in everything but the same Government.

The Earl of Carlisle. I trust I shall obtain credit when I assure your Lordships that no consideration whatever should induce me to give a negative to the motion now made, if I had not been perfectly satisfied of the necessity of the measures carrying on against America. It is not, in my opinion, a mere question of party, but involves in it the consequences of the total ruin or salvation of this country. If we should concede, so as to relinquish every substantial benefit which we might derive from our political sovereignty and commercial control over our Colonies, what will be the probable consequence, but that this country, deprived of the advantages of an immense commerce, and everything flowing and connected with those advantages, will gradually sink into obscurity and insignificance, and fall at length a prey to the first powerful or ambitious state which may meditate a conquest of this Island? If we consider the present state and condition of several of the great Powers of Europe; if we reflect on their strength and immense resources; if, viewing the map, we see the figure Great Britain cuts in respect of extent of territory; if we collect the whole into one focus, and connect the ideas of their strength, and our own native imbecility, should America be torn from us, the prospect is indeed dreadful. It is, therefore, in my opinion, a measure not only necessary to the vindication of our honour, but even essential to our very existence as a people. It calls on us to exert every power, and strain every nerve, to bring America back again to her duty, and to secure to us her subordinate dependance. On this ground, and this alone, I am warmly for the measure proposed to be rescinded by this motion. I have not a doubt of the necessity of coercive measures in the present state and disposition of America; and under that conviction I am persuaded that the number of hands required to carry on our manufactures, the little use of new levies, at least for the first campaign, and the desire every friend to his country ought to have to put a speedy termination to the present unhappy troubles, united, create an evident necessity for the employment of foreigners, in preference to native troops. Besides, consider only the unwieldly bulk of this vast extended empire, and the operations necessary, even in case of a defensive war, and determine, if it be possible, for such an inconsiderable spot as this Island is, in the nature of things, to furnish numbers sufficient to carry on operations the nature of such a service demands.

His R˙ H˙ the Duke of Cumberland. My Lords, I shall not enter into the whole field of the American debate, which has been so ably discussed by your Lordships; but as I have constantly opposed these oppressive measures, I heartily concur with the motion made by the noble Duke, because it is full of respect and duty to the Crown, strongly reprobating the misconduct of Ministers, and laying the basis for a happy reconciliation between Great Britain and her Colonies. My Lords, I lament to see Brunswickers, who once (to their great honour) were employed in the defence of the liberties of the subject, now sent to subjugate his constitutional liberties in another part of this vast empire.

The Duke of Chandos. The noble Duke who made the motion has charged the supporters of the measures respecting America, with favouring designs subversive of the liberties of their country. I do assure his Grace, if I thought the measures he speaks of had any such tendency, neither his Grace nor any noble Lord in this House would be further than I from giving or affording them the least countenance or support. It is because I am fully satisfied that those measures are perfectly necessary and constitutional, that I have uniformly given them my sanction as a member of this House; and I will add, that I am no less convinced of the propriety of the measures, than of the high integrity and abilities of those who have advised them. The noble Duke has thrown out the most unjust charges and ill-founded insinuations against the whole body of the Militia. As a Lord-Lieutenant of a very respectable County, I find


myself included in the censure, and look upon my honour as very materially wounded. I am certain I can answer for the corps which I have the honour to command; and have reason to presume it is universally so throughout the service, that no officers but such as are duly qualified to serve are admitted. I therefore am authorized to say, that the noble Duke is totally mistaken in his assertions, so far as has come within my own knowledge; and have a right to presume that he has been equally mistaken as applying to every other corps in his Majesty' s service.

The Duke of Manchester. My Lords, after the long and accurate detail given by the noble Duke, of the treaties now before the House, I will not detain your Lordships by a recapitulation of particulars; nor, indeed, do I think it very material to except against particulars of a treaty, where the whole appears to me greatly reprehensible, or to cavil with Ministers on little articles, whilst charges of a heavier nature may be laid to their account. The information given to us in his Majesty' s speech at the opening of the session, of the introduction of foreign troops into the garrisons of Gibraltar and Mahon, without the previous consent of Parliament, gave me a serious alarm. The unconstitutional doctrine held in this House, setting up the power of the prerogative above the power of Parliament; the attempt to introduce foreign troops into Ireland, without even asking the opinion of the British Parliament, — all concur to bear strong testimonies, that an abridgment of British, as well as American liberty, would not be disagreeable to some of our present rulers. Long has this nation survived the loss of that liberty which was once the lot of her neighbouring European kingdoms; but, my Lords, there is at present such an indifference to serious things, such a love of ease and luxury, which gives to Ministers an almost irresistible sway, that I doubt this country is very near that crisis when she will passively surrender all those rights her ancestors held most dear. My Lords, I am not vain enough to think that I possess any power of speech to awaken to publick zeal; but, with your permission. I will submit to you some reasons, drawn from State policy and convenience, why we should not be too eager to push on this war. My Lords, whatever was the original cause of the war; whatever were the claims of Great Britain, or however unjustifiable might be thought the resistance of the Colonies to those claims, — no impartial man can say, that in nothing has Britain been to blame. But waiving this disquisition, let us consider the present situation of affairs. The events of the last campaign show us that the war will not be of very easy conclusion. Though we allow the British troops to have been successful at the attack on the heights of Charlestown, yet was that success dearly bought and greatly balanced by the loss of forts, of garrisons — I might say, of nations. The defection from Government has been total — total, my Lords; for besides the desolated prison of the British troops, (the devoted Boston,) and the town of Halifax, kept in awe by a large garrison, what remains to Government, of all the continent of America, as far as British Colonies extend? Nay, my Lords, the misfortune has spread farther: the conquests of the last war, so dearly rent from France, are mouldering from us; and though we have reports that the Provincial arms have met a check at Quebeck, great part of Canada owns another master. Still we are bent to push on an invading war against a powerful enemy, with every circumstance against us but the advantage of our fleet. Let us now consider the means we have to prosecute this war. The British troops, we find, fail not, my Lords, in point of courage; but they show an honest backwardness to engage against their fellow-citizens. To Germany we have recourse for assistance; seventeen thousand German mercenaries are at last obtained; with these and a small British army, many of whose regiments consist entirely of recruits, some of whom are of the worst description, (for I have been told that even the prisons have been ransacked to augment the number,) is this country to engage a nation who are enthusiastick in their cause; have no hopes but in success; are united by every tie; have every stimulative to courage that shame or ambition can give an army of brothers. The mercenaries we employ (for they may be justly called so, since that ma n must be deemed a mercenary soldier who fights for pay in the cause in which he has no concern) are a motley band of various nations, who are yet in Germany, and are yet to be conveyed across the Atlantick. Some will perish in the


way, some desert. But I will suppose the remnant landed on the American shore: will conquest immediately follow? Impossible to expect it. If the Generals know their duty, (and we have no reason to doubt it,) the first employment they must have will be to secure a post, in case of disaster, to establish a place of arms, to endeavour to form magazines; else whence can this army be supplied with provisions? Is it from England? From the English fleet? The fleet cannot sail within the land — cannot go up the rivers; so that the army, without magazines, cannot possibly quit the coast, and great part of the campaign must be spent in preparations. My Lords, we must look upon this war as a war of conquest. It is too late to treat the Americans as Rebels, that the dignity of Government requires to be punished. They are a powerful nation, a formidable enemy. The army must be divided, for many are the forces with whom they are to engage. Are we certain that even the troops proposed to be employed will not be opposed by greater numbers? Can we conceive one campaign can end the war?

My Lords, there is another very material consideration, on which I will touch but gently, for I wish not to add to embarrassments: Are Ministers certain they are prepared for the expenses of the war? The great annual outgoings (the publick debt) were, at the close of the last war, thought a sufficient reason for accepting a peace, certainly inadequate to the glories of the war. In thirteen years' peace, some saving has been made; the expense of the ensuing campaign promises to swallow up the whole of that saving. Thus, in point of revenue, are we in the situation we were at the end of the war? But we have lost the American trade without an equivalent. The trade of the last year, to supply the Spanish flota and the demands through Russia, will be no lasting resource. The one is over; the other, I am informed, declines. The additional tax laid upon land, will, it is supposed, not pay the expense of the conveyance of the troops. If Ministers should be obliged to anticipate the taxes; if the Bank should be induced to lend the assistance of their credit; if the taxes should fall short; if any unforeseen calamity should happen, — might not the publick credit receive as rapid a shock as within these few years befel the India Company? In short, my Lords, the difficulties are so numerous, that one should be inclined to think some fatal evil influence confounded the wisdom of our counsellors. My Lords, I read in Holy Writ, that when Ahab, for his sins, was devoted to destruction, the host of Heaven was assembled before the Lord, and the Lord said, "Who will persuade Ahab to go up and war against Ramoth Gilead, that he may fall there? And an evil spirit said, I will go forth and persuade him. And the Lord said, Go, and thou shalt persuade him." I shall not, I hope, be thought irreligious, if I apply this allegory to the British nation. It does seem as if, in punishment for their offences, they were condemned to go and war against their brethren in America, and to "fall there." I wish the application may not prove just; and yet, my Lords, everything gives it the appearance of truth. No measures taken to bring the war to a conclusion; no plan effective to force the Americans to accept the terms we are pleased to prescribe; a war of detail, of partisans, that can lead to nothing but to perpetuate rancour and animosity. I am informed, by the late despatches from Virginia, that the Governour, who has long quitted the residence of his Government, to hold his state aboard a cruizing ship, has had the notable success of firing the town of Norfolk, the largest in Virginia. I make no doubt he has a commission for what he does — I do not mean his commission of Governour, for that is a commission to protect those over whom he is appointed to preside — but a commission to destroy, to burn the towns, to ravage the plantations, drive off the slaves, and to kill those that resist. These are the warlike achievements of the Governour of Virginia. But as I do not doubt he has orders for what he does, far be it from me to condemn an absent man; but I cannot think well of those who from hence command this wanton ruin, this unnecessary ravage, this useless desolation.

My Lords, I must further take notice of one extraordinary particular: that this town was supposed to contain many friends of Government; and yet such is the determined vengeance, that even friends are fired upon in hopes of hurting the enemies intermixed, and all are involved in one


complicated destruction. Can Ministers think that, after this proceeding, one friend to Government will remain in America? Can they expect that any one, blessed with common sense, will espouse their cause, when they do not protect those who mean obedience? My Lords, I am, for these reasons, a hearty supporter of the noble Duke' s motion, and particularly because it leads to that peace that all must allow desirable. I am the more earnest, as I am convinced it is still to be attained. Provoked as the Americans have been, they wish for reconciliation. They dread to be forced into independency. They would even buy that peace, not at the price of their liberty — that must be secured to them; their purse and property must be their own; — but I have good grounds to think, could they be certain of being dealt with by people who were sincere — whom they could trust — they would submit to all necessary regulations of commerce; nay, more, they would assist the State with a revenue: but they must raise it themselves; they must not be taxed from hence. My Lords, when men are in such a disposition, I will add no more but that if we blindly reject them, we do not know the value of that people we thus forever wantonly cast from us.

The Earl of Effingham, My Lords, I shall take up much less of your Lordships' time than I expected to do, on the exorbitant terms of the treaties, as the noble Duke, who moved the address, has already sufficiently proved the unreasonableness of them. I shall only make one observation on the subject, which is, that if these seventeen thousand men have the effect we are promised they shall, of subduing the Americans in one campaign, their pay, together with the subsidy, and the excess of the levy money above what is ever allowed in England, would furnish the pay and clothing of forty thousand men, with their proper officers.

On the legality of these treaties, I shall trouble your Lordships a little longer.

The first and most striking point is, the administration of justice being reserved to a foreign Prince, within the dominions of the Crown of Great Britain; the better to effect which, an executioner, with servants, is part of the Hessian establishment to be levied by Great Britain; and no exception or limitation of this illegal power seems to have been thought of, even in case the civil Government should be restored in America.

The second great consideration is, the probability of a foreign General commanding in America; for though it has been said that the commission of Commander-in-Chief will entitle our young Major-General to the command, yet it will not, I believe, make a senior officer of spirit serve under him, though it may make him retire from the army. But, in the Hessian treaty, there is, besides the Lieutenant and Major-Generals, a General commandant. How are these two Sosias to settle the matter? I confess it appears to me liable to great confusion.

With regard to the stipulation of assisting Hesse, if attacked, it is not a just war alone which we have engaged to enter into for the protection of the Landgraviate; for a case may happen, in which, by a decree of the Imperial Chamber, the Directors of the Circle are ordered to march into the country, to compel the Landgrave to some act of justice or restitution; in which case he will be, according to the eleventh article, "actually attacked by force of arms, without having first used open force against him who attacks him;" and we must either excuse our breach of the treaty by our Minister' s ignorance of the Imperial Constitutions, or else enter into a war like that in America — not to maintain, but to subvert the liberties of the Germanick body.

With regard to the latter part of the motion, for suspending hostilities, I should think myself unpardonably tedious were I to go over again all the arguments which show the inexpedience of the war. I shall only state to your Lordships, in addition to what I and many others have said before, some information which I have received from the best authority, respecting the resources of the Provincials, and which I should think it my duty to lay before the House, even if it did not come immediately within the subject of our present debate. The first of our great mistakes seems to be in the number of their people. When the General Congress had ordered returns of the number of inhabitants in each Province, an idea prevailed that these returns were to be the measure of their quotas. It was proved at Boston,


that they only returned about four in five of their true numbers, and it was pretty certain that other places in New-England returned a still less proportion; yet the whole number amounted to three millions and a half; it can therefore be no exaggeration to say, that they considerably exceed four millions.

Their plan of finance is admirable for its solidity and simplicity. In September last, the General Congress issued three millions of dollars in paper, for the security of which all property in the twelve Colonies stands pledged. They will, this summer, lay a tax amounting to about a dollar per head, which will probably bring in most of their bills, which will be again issued in payment of the troops, &c. For the convenience of the individuals, each Colony will issue about half a million in smaller bills, on its separate credit, which will be issued from the Provincial Treasury, where the Continental bills will be received and returned to the general treasury. What a different paper credit is this from what is now weighing down this unfortunate country. How worthy is the plan of imitation, wherever the annual revenue can be made to bear any proportion to the annual expense.

In the summer of last year, the General Congress fixed the price of powder and other stores; also, of provisions, &c. One hundred pounds of good powder was rated at fifty dollars; for this the importer would receive, at his option, silver to that amount, or two thousand five hundred pounds of flour, or in proportion of lumber, or other provisions: this, in the West-India Islands, would fetch thirty pounds; so there is no fear of their being deprived of either their silver or their supply of military stores. Some have doubted whether they had any silver; but they should consider that, besides the contraband trade, our army must furnish them with some millions of dollars in specie every year.

Those who doubt their meeting with foreign assistance, would do well to satisfy themselves that the Agent from Madrid to Philadelphia had really no other business than to present the colleges in America with the labours of the illustrious translator of Sallust. It is also worth their inquiry, whether or no the French merchants have bought American commodities with arms out of the Royal magazines, delivered at twenty per cent, less than the current prices. Another idea has been, that they wanted saltpetre. To obviate this, the General Congress printed and dispersed an account of the best and simplest method of making it. In August last, a saltpetre work was become a necessary appendage to a farm; and no doubt is made but, from the numbers now established, saltpetre will become a considerable article of their future exports.

The management of the Indians was an early object of attention. The General Congress, considering what an unprincipled gang the bulk of Indian traders were, prevailed on a sufficient number of respectable men to undertake that trade. The natural event was, that the former traders were execrated, not without some reflections on those who should have prevented, not encouraged, the abominable frauds they had been subject to.

I should now wish your Lordships to advert to your situation nearer home. The Spaniards are again armed, and France has also prepared a considerable force. May not their late misfortune at Algiers make them wiser? If zeal for religion be supposed to actuate them, is it not possible that France may convince them that, by going to Ireland, they would serve both their spiritual and temporal interests? I appeal to a noble Viscount in my eye, if more than half that kingdom is not in their interest? They would be joined by numbers the moment they land, between Cork and the Shannon; and what force have you to oppose them, either by sea or land?

My Lords, I never can stand up in your Lordships' presence without throwing in a few words on the justice of this unnatural war. The principal foundation on which it rests, is an idea which has been, with much pains, promulgated of late, that taxes are not de gratia but de jure; that the necessity of the State gives to the legislative body a right to impose them, and that the people have no right to withhold them. I need no other proof that these principles are encouraged by Government, than that books, published by persons who enjoy pensions and favours, contain them; while there is no instance of any court favour being extended to any of those who have laid down other doctrines.


Indeed, my Lords, the situation in which some of these libellers of the Constitution are placed, decency forbids me to name; but this I will assert, that whatever doctrines others may hold, and whatever name they may please to give to their own principles, the moment I am satisfied of the truth of these arguments, I shall become a most determined and zealous Jacobite, and shall hold myself bound, in conscience and honour, to go all lengths, and risk all I hold dear as an Englishman, in atonement of having approved the Revolution, and sworn allegiance to the House of Brunswick.

Earl Talbot. The noble Earl who spoke last has certainly hit off one leading feature of the Americans. His Lordship tells you that even in the midst of their zeal for freedom and independency, they were not able to conquer their natural propensity to fraud and concealment. He tells you, that to evade the order of the Congress for supplying their quotas of men and money, they purposely concealed their real numbers. However I may differ from the noble Earl in the deduction he has drawn from this fact, I am not permitted to doubt the truth of it, as coming from a person in whose estimation they bear so high a place. This, with me, would be the strongest reason imaginable for not trusting to their professions, when it is seriously stated, that they are to be held by no ties whatever, not even by their most sacred engagements to support a cause which they deem essential to their very existence as a free people. They have had all along a reluctance to order and good Government, since their first settlement in that country; and I am every day more and more convinced that this people will never be brought back to their duty, and the subordinate relation they stand in to this country, till reduced to unconditional submission. Let them promise or hold out what present convenience or future views of independence may suggest, believe me, my Lords, they will never give up their favourite object, till they are fully convinced that the object is unattainable. No concession on our part, no lenity, no endurance, will have any other effect but that of increasing their insolence, and encouraging them daily to rise in their demands. They have been obstinate, undutiful, and ungovernable, from the beginning — from their first early and infant settlements in that country. They began to manifest this spirit so early as the reign of Charles I. They disputed our right of fishing on their coasts, in the times of the Commonwealth and Protectorate. But was this claim to exemption acceded to on our part, or this privilege, inseparably connected with sovereignty, relinquished? No: then, as now, they were treated as presumptuous and ridiculous. Indeed, the principle of absolute, unconditional supremacy, was so fully established in the reign of Charles II, that what by some people establishes a right on our part, of partial taxation over the Province of Pennsylvania, was, at the time, granted as a favour to Mr˙ Penn, who then had a strong personal interest with the Sovereign. Penn was a sensible penetrating man. He knew the power to tax existed in the Sovereign; he therefore got the right transferred to the Parliament, lest he or some of his successors should suffer under a tax laid on at the will and discretion of the Sovereign for the time being. This right was first vested in Parliament at the Revolution. It was not, to be sure, a full Parliament, but a Convention, which laid a foundation for the privileges the nation now enjoys. From that time, the right has continued clearly in Parliament, in the three branches of the Legislature conjunctively; so that taking the right of taxing, as derived from the Sovereign through Parliament, in the manner here described, or considering it inherently existing in the whole Legislature, as part of its very essence, the effect would be the same; for still it comes to this, that the supreme power retains the sovereignty over its several subordinate members, and of course among the other various powers which it possesses, is constitutionally entitled to exercise the right of taxation, whenever the common interest or exigencies of the State may render the exercise of such a right necessary.

Earl Temple. My Lords, I have heard, with the greatest sensibility, the very honourable testimony which has been given by the noble Earl [Earl Talbot] who spoke last, to the memory of one so deservedly dear to me; and I think the House is much obliged to his Lordship for the information he has given, and the new lights which he has thrown upon the question of sovereignty over America, in which


the right of taxation is specially included. Your Lordships have been so repeatedly persecuted by debates on American questions, and I have so frequently given my opinion upon these questions, that I could most willingly have spared you this trouble; but with a heart feeling as warmly as mine does for the honour and interest of my country, and accustomed to view her in the highest point of glory, I cannot bear the thought of being so much as suspected to be an indolent or an indifferent spectator of her unexampled distress; nor can I suffer my opinions, in so arduous and delicate a situation, to be collected from the sentiments expressed by any man, or set of men, whatsoever. I desire to stand or fall in your Lordships' opinion, and that of my country, by those I deliver myself. I am still clear, my Lords, as to the right this country has to exercise its sovereignty over America by taxation. I had no hand in passing the Stamp Act, in the Declaratory Bill, in the bill laying duties upon tea and other commodities, in the partial repeal of that act, nor yet in the insanity of sending the tea to America without repealing the duty. From these and other causes, together with the imbecility of Administration, this country is reduced into a situation so deplorable that the wisest and honestest man in the kingdom can propose nothing that promises an honourable issue. I feel that I speak in fetters; I therefore will not press arguments on either side to their full extent; the next easterly wind will carry to America what shall fall from any, and from every Lord in the House. I do not wish that the nakedness of my country and its weakness should stand confirmed by the authority and sanction of testimonies given here. It is a time to act, and not to talk. Much is to be done and little said. The die of war is cast, the sword is drawn, and the scabbard thrown away. With great respect to your Lordships, wise as you are, and no doubt the great hereditary Council of the King and kingdom, yet allow me to say, you are not enabled to decide upon matters of such transcendant importance and difficulty, without having the fullest materials before you, which you most certainly have not. This is a question for the Ministers to decide, who must be supposed to have the means of the most ample information: the execution will likewise lie with them. They have decided; and it is to be hoped that they have at last some well-considered plan; not only taking into pay all the troops that can at any rate be got, but also how they can be supported, supplied, and enabled to act with effect; in short, a plan consisting of a great variety of efficient parts. If I had the honour of being in the King' s Council, (which, thank God, I have not,) I should expect the fullest information before I could decide; but decide I would, and abide by the decision. Retired, however, as I now am, and uninformed, I have not presumption enough to give an opinion, nor do I hold myself specially called upon to do it. My country is, indeed, reduced to a deplorable situation. We are driven between Scylla and Charybdis, and it will be transcendently difficult to steer the vessel of State into a safe port. I must be allowed freely to confess, that I have not a good opinion of the King' s servants. Past experience will not justify confidence; I cannot, therefore, answer to myself or to my country, to trust such men with the expenditure often millions, and laying the foundation of lavishing many more, our last stake; thereby accelerating that bankruptcy which, sooner or later, I fear, by adopting either measure, is become inevitable. Nor am I, on the other hand, so friendly to them, as, by declaring our utter inability to reduce America, to furnish them with a golden bridge for concluding an ignominious peace, on any the most ruinous and disgraceful terms. I cannot consent to throw this once great and glorious country at the feet of America; and there humbly implore such peace as she, in her magnanimity, shall condescend to grant us. I am not yet made to the idea of hanging out a white flag of surrender. To those who lament the present most melancholy state of the Colonies, once so prosperous and flourishing, beyond the example of any others known in the annals of time, I cannot help observing, that I rejoice in the testimony, because it does honour to the Government of England, under whose care and influence they had prospered so wonderfully. I do verily believe, that till the late troubles they had infinitely less to complain of than the mother country herself; and that, separated as they are by the vast Atlantick, it was not in the nature of things that there must not be much to


complain of, though not sufficient to justify their ingratitude to the parent State. I cannot blame a determination to make peace, sword in hand; the sooner it can be had upon reasonable, safe, and honourable terms, the better for both countries. I never did declare, whether I thought it was consistent with sound policy to impose any tax upon America, and it will hardly be expected that I should decide it now. I have heard it called an unjust war: I know not who in this House have a right to call it so; not those who voted for the Declaratory Act; those only who denied our right of taxation, and how very few were they! [only five.] Negotiations of such importance and delicacy cannot he transacted with too much secrecy. I cannot, I own, approve of recalling your troops, and publishing the terms; to which you will yield, till there is reason to be well assured that they, or something near thereunto, will be accepted. Infinite sagacity and discretion are necessary to the attainment of what all alike, I am persuaded, must eagerly wish. When the happy and favourable moment for conciliation shall arrive, I hope the Ministers will seize it, and I sincerely wish them success. At least, at such a crisis I will not hang upon the wheels of Government, and thereby render what is already but too difficult, the more impracticable.

[His Lordship did not vote.]

Viscount Townshend. Having at first entertained doubts relative to the claims of this country over America, I gave the subject for some time all the attention in my power. I considered the several charters. I examined the relation both countries stood in towards each other. I looked back to the infant as well as the more mature state of the Colonies; and was at length convinced that America was bound by every rule of justice, and every tie of gratitude and political obligation, to contribute towards the common support; and consequently that America, from the beginning, had been the aggressor. But, my Lords, though the right of Great Britain to control every part of the dominions of the Crown were to be questioned; though the charters were binding and valid to the extent contended; still the state of things is such as renders it impossible to look back to the causes of this war, so as to answer any wise or salutary purpose. The justice of the cause is lost in the din of war. The noble Earl in the blue ribbon, who spoke last, has told you very justly that it is now become a struggle for power; the die is cast, and the only point which now remains to be determined, is, in what manner the war can be most effectually prosecuted, and speedily finished, in order to procure that unconditional submission which has been so ably stated by the noble Earl with the white staff, [Earl Talbot.] I know of no method so probable to insure success to our operations as that now adopted. By it we procure an immediate supply of men; men trained to the use of arms, and of course fit for immediate service. And I have no reason to doubt that the measures pursuing will put an end to the war in the course of a single campaign. This will operate doubly, in procuring the great objects we have in view; it will at once put an end to the calamities of war, and save an immense expense to the nation. A noble Earl [Lord Effingham] has appealed to me, in relation to the present state, condition, and disposition of Ireland: to which I can only answer, if any disturbances should break out in that kingdom, they must be suppressed. I do not believe they will; nor have I any reason to think such an event at all probable. His Lordship has stated his apprehensions of a French or Spanish invasion. That, too, I think equally improbable. France will be cautious of making any attempt of that kind, as long as she remembers the defeat and destruction of the armament sent there under Thurot, during the late war. But supposing that the noble Earl' s fears were well founded; in my opinion, it would be an additional motive for pushing on the war with vigour and effect; in short, to induce us to terminate it by the most powerful and decisive operations; for if it should be permitted to linger beyond the present campaign, we will have a right to expect the interference of some foreign power, who may probably avail itself of our domestick troubles and civil distractions. The noble Duke who made the motion has said that foreigners were attempted to be forced on Ireland, and that it has been stripped of its national military establishment. As to the last, if it be a fault, it cannot be charged on the Ministry of this country. It was an act of their own Parliament; and if his Majesty had not bound


himself by his royal promise, there was nothing to prevent him from sending the whole or any part of the military force stationed in that kingdom to what part of the empire he pleased, if the exigency of affairs, or the operations of war, should make it necessary. In respect to foreigners, the very state of Ireland, as represented by the noble Duke, would be a sufficient reason for his Majesty to send a body of foreigners into that kingdom for its defence, without advising with his Parliament there; for I believe the noble Duke will hardly contend that the King, with the advice of his Parliament here, or on an emergency previous to such an advice, may not send a body of troops into any part of the dominions of the British Crown, for its defence and protection.

The Duke of Grafton. The noble Duke who made the motion has stated the whole of the business of this day in so accurate a manner, with so much precision, and so judiciously pointed to the several leading points most deserving your Lordships' attention, as to leave very little for me to add. Indeed, as to the matter immediately under consideration, his Grace has totally precluded me. I cannot, however, sit down without expressing my general sentiments on this very momentous and important motion. From the beginning of the present troubles, I sedulously endeavoured to satisfy myself of the true ground and nature of the dispute; to examine the respective pretensions of the parties, to procure the best lights the nature of the controversy afforded, and to form my opinion without predilection or partiality. The effect of those researches was, that I plainly saw the people of America, instead of being protected in their rights and secured in their property, would be left nothing which they could call their own, because no line could be drawn, no boundary could be set up, to limit the extent of the claim. You could not say that supremacy shall exist for such and such purposes, and shall be restrained in its exercise in such and such cases; because the very instant you set limits to its right of taxation, you would annihilate the principle on which that right is founded, and consequently leave the question as undecided as ever. Taking it in the other light, that unconditional supremacy, in the mode and extent laid down by the noble Earl with the white staff, was of the very essence of Government, similar difficulties, though arising from a different cause, presented themselves to my view; I mean the inexpediency of coercing America, and the impracticability of carrying coercive measures into effectual execution. I perceived that great allowances were to be made for a people who had been, as they thought, in the exercise and possession of certain specifick, defined lights for more than a century. I was convinced of the cruelty and bad policy of wresting those rights from them wantonly and without any apparent cause. I evidently perceived the wildness and impracticability of the attempt, and the insurmountable difficulties which stood in the way of a project so big with folly and injustice. But let me go one step further, and suppose that the expediency and practicability were equal to the presumed justice of the cause: ought we not to look to our own abilities, to our resources, and compare the inconveniences which must result from these measures with the advantages we propose to obtain? I am tolerably acquainted with the finances of this country, and I do most solemnly assure your Lordships, that I do not know of a single tax which it is in the power of the most fruitful invention to devise or conceive, that would increase the receipt at the Exchequer. Every tax that can possibly be thought of will interfere with some other already in being. The nation is loaded to the full extent of its abilities; and what are you going to do? You are entering into a war, the success of which is problematical at least, if not improbable. To carry on this war, new taxes will be necessary; and having no security to give, the consequence must be, that you will be obliged to pledge the old funds, contrary to publick faith, and the security of the publick creditors; or you will be compelled to contract new debts, which, if the war should continue for any time, national credit will be ruined and the kingdom undone. This leads me to a consideration of the first importance; it is, the general inattention and indifference to the interests of the nation which prevail among those to whom they are entrusted. A most alarming profligacy of manners, and unbounded love of pleasure and dissipation, have taken possession of almost all ranks and degrees of people. Ministers


are trusted indiscriminately; Parliament has surrendered or abandoned its right of control, and all the great concerns of the nation are trusted to chance, or to men by no means fitted for the arduous task of Government. How do you think, my Lords, this will terminate? When the people find themselves borne down under the pressure of taxes, which they will be no longer able to pay; when publick bankruptcy stares them in the face; when, in consequence of such a state of things, universal ruin and despair spread themselves through every part of this Island; — I will tell you, my Lords, the people, no longer able to endure such calamities, and expecting no redress where only it can be legally or constitutionally sought, will seek relief in the means which God and nature has pointed out. They will forbear to look up to Parliament, because Parliament has betrayed them, has been deaf to their entreaties, and inattentive to their interests. It may be answered, that the present measures are measures of the people, that they are approved of by a great majority of the nation, and that they have, in a variety of instances, and through a variety of channels, expressed the most hearty and zealous approbation. I deny the fact; but though I should allow the proofs, they are very far from combatting anything I have now asserted. If the people have been misled or lulled into a deceitful security, it proves my argument on the ground I have taken it up. It is not on the wisdom and soundness of the measures, but on their fallacy and evil tendency, that I draw the present deductions. Besides, addresses, and the various means employed by men in power to obtain the publick sanction and approbation, will never pass with me for proof of their being the real sentiments of those to whom they are imputed; for at no time since the first establishment of the Monarchy did this test of publick opinion manifest itself more than during the greater part of the reign of James II. Addresses, congratulations, engagements to support him with their lives and fortunes, poured in from every quarter; yet that infatuated Monarch fatally discovered, in the hour of trial, that they were but the mere efforts of Ministerial art and Court adulation. On the whole, my Lords, considering this great question in all its different points of view, and pursuing it in all its consequences, I can perceive nothing but inevitable rain. I contemplate it with the most pungent anxiety; I turn my face from it with horrour. These have been my sentiments from the very beginning, and I have uniformly acted conformably thereto. I have argued, prayed, and implored, that the wild, ruinous, and destructive project might be laid aside. I do now beseech your Lordships, for the last time, to bestow some further consideration on the subject. The die is not irretrievably cast; the sword is drawn, but it may yet be sheathed. The proposition now made to you by the noble Duke may open a field for peace and reconciliation. This opportunity once lost, I fear can never again be recovered. I would beg to recall to your Lordships' recollection what fell from me in the course of the last year, when in another situation, (where I unhappily stood single in opinion,) that I promised to submit a plan for composing the differences now subsisting between Great Britain and America to your consideration. Whatever has been urged by the noble Lord in the blue ribbon to the contrary, I am convinced it is not yet too late, and that all the miseries and calamities which now threaten the nation may yet be averted, if we will only, without distinction of party, undertake the performance of the arduous task with willing hearts and proper dispositions. As to the treaties, which make more particularly the subject of this day' s debate, they have been so amply commented on, and fully explained by the noble mover, that I should have hardly troubled your Lordships, did not I think it my duty, as applying directly to the manner in which this business of foreign treaties has been conducted on the part of Administration, to express my utmost astonishment at the language held by a noble Lord, in whose department, as Secretary of State, this negotiation must, of course, have been transacted. The noble Lord rises to declare his ignorance, whether or not a Commander-in-Chief, appointed by his Majesty, or the Commander of those foreign mercenaries, should have the supreme command? Did his Lordship take upon him to negotiate this treaty, without any one official requisite to conduct and conclude it? Or has he first made the treaty, and after it is finally concluded, and made binding on the nation, does he come into this House totally


ignorant whether he acted right or wrong? to receive instructions from such of your Lordships as are conversant in military affairs, to know whether the whole of the British dominion in America is, or is not, to be under the absolute command of a foreign mercenary, at the head of twelve thousand hirelings? But supposing his Lordship should tell me, that the supreme command is vested in the Commander-in-Chief, though he be a junior officer: will he assure me that the matter has been so understood by the Landgrave of Hesse, or that his General is apprized of it? Or, lastly, will his Lordship inform me whether sufficient provision has been made in case of death, or any other accident, to supply the vacancy with a succession of other officers, who may be eventually called to the command, by commission granted for the purpose; and that the Prince and his General have been acquainted with this eventual arrangement, and have acquiesced in it? I think it proper, before I sit down, to allude to one circumstance, in which I took a part, but in which I was most egregiously deceived; I mean the vote I gave respecting the Massachusetts-Bay Charter Bill. To induce me to give that vote, I was informed that the alteration of the Charter was at the express desire of the merchants and a great majority of the people of property and consequence inhabiting that Province. I have since discovered that I was deceived; for that at the time, as well as since, the contrary was the fact. It has been, indeed, the uniform practice, since the commencement of this business, to give false information, or proceed on none. I have, therefore, only to declare, that I would never have given my sanction to that law, if I had not been led into error by a false state of the matter; and though I unhappily fell into the snare laid for me, I am now free to declare, that the law for altering the Charter of Massachusetts-Bay was in every respect oppressive, impolitick, and unconstitutional; and if coupled with the claim of taxation, I am fully justified in maintaining, that as one leaves the subject no property, the other deprives him of every natural and political right; and that they are both equally destructive of the inalienable privileges of an Englishman, and the natural rights to which all mankind are entitled, if not stripped from them by fraud, force, or injustice.

The Earl of Suffolk. I presume the noble Duke in the blue ribbon misunderstood what I said; for I do not presume his Grace had any intention of misrepresenting my words. I did not say or mean, that I had any doubt whether the Commander-in-Chief, though a junior officer, had a right to command the Hessian General. I positively and unconditionally asserted he had, and only referred to the noble Lords present, conversant in military affairs, in proof of that assertion. As to the other point the noble Duke alluded to, the same rule which prevails in respect of the Commander-in-Chief, will of course take place in the person who may be appointed, or happen to succeed him.

The Earl of Sandwich. I did not intend to trouble your Lordships on the present occasion, had I not been particularly called on by the noble Duke who made the motion; and to set another noble Duke [of Manchester] right, respecting some points on which he seems to be misinformed. My noble relation has informed your Lordships, that the town of Norfolk, in Virginia, has been burnt and destroyed, and has accompanied his narrative with several exaggerated circumstances attending that affair. I will tell the noble Duke how the matter really happened. One of our ships-of-war, being in great distress for water, sailed to Norfolk in order to procure it, and applied to the inhabitants, who, instead of complying with the common dictates of humanity, fired on the flag of truce, and killed or wounded two or three of our men. This occasioned what afterwards happened, and caused the town to be burnt. I do not believe it is yet burnt. The inhabitants of Norfolk were so cruel and barbarous, that the whole crew must have perished for want of fresh water, had it not been for the relief they procured by the distillation of salt-water. It was not the man-of-war' s men that burnt Norfolk; it was the inhabitants themselves. The Norfolk people set fire to the town; that is, the fire from the man-of-war set fire to part of it, and the inhabitants burnt the rest. The noble Duke who made the motion has entertained your Lordships a great while relative to the appointing and superseding of officers. His Grace has adverted to me frequently in the course of his observations. I will tell the noble Duke, that he is


mistaken in his facts and conjectures. Admiral Graves was not dismissed nor recalled; nor was there the least objection to his conduct as an officer; on the contrary, his Majesty, to show the good opinion he entertains of his services, has appointed him a Vice-Admiral. As to Admiral Shuldham being superseded in the supreme command, he never imagined that he was to command in chief. He only succeeded Admiral Graves; and as the service was to be extended and carried on upon a larger scale, it became necessary that more Admirals than one should be employed; not that I know that Admiral Shuldham means to remain on the American station. I assure the noble Duke that the appointment of Lord Howe did not originate with me, though I think him a very deserving officer; I was not, however, overruled in the Cabinet; for, understanding that his Lordship wished for the command, I was happy in having an opportunity of gratifying his desires, and furthering the appointment of so able and deserving an officer. The noble Duke says that the servants of the Crown who support the measures now pursuing against America, secretly disapprove of them, and express their disapprobation of them in private company. I do not pretend to say what company the noble Duke keeps, who so confidentially impart their opinions to him; but this I will venture to affirm, that I converse both publickly and privately with them all. And yet I never heard one of them express the least disapprobation whatever of the present measures. The noble Duke says, that though we have ships, we have not men sufficient to man them. In this he is equally mistaken; for out of the whole complement of able seamen necessary for the twenty guard-ships, there are only five hundred wanting. And I will add another piece of intelligence, no less fatal to another argument made use of by his Grace, which is, that so far from the men being averse to the service, this very deficiency in the complement of the guard-ships has arisen from a most uncommon alacrity in the men to serve on the American station, the greatest part of those who enter choosing to serve in the fleet now destined for that country in preference to staying at home. On the whole, the five hundred men deficient of the stated complement aboard the guard-ships could be procured in a few days, which, with the ordinary seamen and landmen; would enable the twenty guard-ships, that are all of the line-of-battle, to proceed to sea in the course of a week; and suppose any difficulty should arise, we should procure more than sufficient at the shortest notice; so that, taking it in either light, we are prepared for any sudden event or emergency whatever.

Viscount Townshend. I believe the noble Duke' s solicitude relative to whom the command would devolve on in case of the death of the Commander-in-Chief, is totally unnecessary, as I take it the next senior officer would succeed of course. I remember this was the case during the late war in America. First a noble Lord, a member of this House, [Lord London,] had the chief command; afterwards General Abercromby; and though Colonel Stanwix was the next senior officer when Sir Jeffery Amherst was appointed Commander-in-Chief, the supreme command immediately vested in Sir Jeffery as a matter of course.

The Earl of Shelburne. An insinuation, my Lords, has been thrown out, in order to give a sanction to the present measures, that a certain noble Earl, [of Chatham,] whom I do not this day see in his place, has changed his former opinions respecting them; but I will venture to affirm, without any direct information on that head, that it is equally groundless and ill-founded. I am sure I can answer so far as to say, that in the several conversations he has done me the honour to hold with me on the subject, nothing leading or even tending that way has ever escaped him; besides, his motion, and the consequent step taken by his Lordship, which remain on your Lordships' Journals, put the matter beyond doubt or uncertainty. His plan, since the commencement of this business, has been conciliation, not coercion. So much has been already said on the subject of the treaties, that I shall trouble you very little, further than to express my astonishment at a language which has been held this day in relation to the employment of foreigners. It creates double wonder, when coming from the supporters of the present measures, against whose professed system of policy it militates in the most marked contradiction. The doctrine is shortly this: when you have any extensive operations of war to carry on, keep your own pen at home, employed in


your manufactures and agriculture, and trust the defence of the empire and commit the prosecution of your most essential interests to foreigners. Your country is small, and insignificant in point of numbers; the few hands you have are wanting at home; and should you employ them in war, your country would be ruined; the plough and loom must instantly stand still. Is this, my Lords, a language to be endured? Can this doctrine be seriously maintained in this House, without subjecting its authors to ridicule and derision? Were those the sentiments which prevailed during the late war, when we had at one time no less than three hundred and fifty thousand natives in actual service; and when the whole number we employed amounted to no less than four hundred and eighteen thousand men? Will any man say that our manufactures stood still for want of hands, when our imports increased full two millions annually, and when both our exports and imports exceeded anything known in former times? Could we thirteen years ago spare three hundred and fifty thousand men for carrying on the operations of war, and carry on our manufactures to an extent never before known; and shall it be this day gravely contended that we cannot raise a fifth part of the number, without ruining our manufactures, which consideration obliges us to apply for assistance to two paltry German States, as the only means of procuring our political salvation? Such arguments would surprise me, coming from any quarter; but much more so, from a set of men who have uniformly condemned all intercourse with the Continent, all German subsidies, and German connections. I remember a noble Duke, now no more, who I looked upon to be a very able man, and a noble Earl, both of whom have been mentioned in the course of this debate [Duke of Bedford and Lord Bute] during the late war, and at the conclusion of the late peace, held it as a point not to be departed from, that this country could subsist without any alliance to the Continent. I know that a noble Earl [Lord Chatham] who conducted that war, was of the same opinion; and justified his conduct by frequently declaring, in private and publick, "that he did not bring us to the Continent; that he found us there." We all know that this system at last prevailed, and that it has been the uniform politicks of the present reign to adhere to it. Shall we now be told, by the same men, acting up to the same rule for more than fourteen years, that the system is a bad one; that alliances on the Continent must be formed; that we have not men sufficient to defend and protect us; and that if we had we cannot spare them without ruin to our manufactures? His Lordship then turned his attention to the new levies; showed how the principle of keeping up old corps established at the peace had been departed from, by raising new corps; and how Highlanders had been recruited in London, and several parts of England, to fill up General Frazer' s two battalions. He spoke of the ill-treatment and resentments of the King of Prussia and the Emperour; and of our not having a single ally on the Continent of the least consequence.

Lord Lyttelton. My sentiments on the present subject are pretty well known. I shall only observe now that lenient measures have had no other effect than to produce insult after insult; that the more we conceded, the higher America has risen in her demands, and the more insolent she has grown. It is for this reason that I am now for the most effective and decisive measures; and am of opinion that no alternative is left us but to relinquish America forever, or finally determine to compel her to acknowledge the legislative supremacy of this country. I do not pretend to decide, in the present situation of both countries how far it may be expedient to insist on taxes, for the purpose of raising a revenue; not but it is evident we are fully competent to demand them, and able to compel their payment. However, it is plain, when they return to a proper state of obedience, that the right is with us, and that we may exercise it according to circumstances and local convenience. In the event of our prevailing in this contest, it is the principal of an unconditional submission I would be for maintaining; not that I would be for pushing the consequences of this doctrine to its full extent. I think the right once fully acknowledged, Great Britain ought, by all means, to secure to the people of that country those privileges and immunities to which every native subject of this free Government is confessedly entitled.

Lord Camden. Some allusions have been made in this


debate to a fact, which has been misrepresented. It has been supposed that the noble Duke in the blue ribbon [Duke of Grafton] and myself, both occupying high offices in Administration at the time the duties were laid on in 1767, approved of the measure. I confess, as mere matter of supposition, his conjecture is plausibly supported; but the fact, I do assure his Lordship, was entirely otherwise. I never did, nor ever will, give my consent to the raising any taxes, in any form, on the people of America, for the purpose of raising a revenue to be under the disposal of the British Parliament. As for the treaties now on your Lordships' table, and the proposed effect of the present motion, I shall beg your Lordships' indulgence for a few words. If I understand them right, they contain an agreement with the Landgrave of Hesse, Duke of Brunswick, and Prince of Hanau, for a certain number of troops for specifick sums of money, accompanied by subsequent conditions of a double subsidy to be paid, in case the war should be terminated in a shorter time than that usually fixed for the existence of subsidiary treaties. To give this bargain the appearance of what it really is not, the whole is stuffed up with pompous expressions of alliance, founded in reciprocal support and common interest; as if these petty States were really concerned in the event of the present contest between this country and America. Now, my Lords, I would appeal to any of your Lordships, if the whole of this transaction be not a compound of the most solemn mockery, fallacy, and gross imposition, that was ever attempted to be put on a House of Parliament. Is there one of your Lordships who does not perceive most clearly that the whole is a mere mercenary bargain for the hire of troops on one side, and the sale of human blood on the other; and that the devoted wretches thus purchased for slaughter, are mere mercenaries, in the worst sense of the word? This point once granted, look then on the present treaties in their naked and true light. Consider seriously the consequences which such a conduct on our part may probably be productive of. We not only pay dearer for these hirelings than was ever known on any former occasion, but, instead of availing ourselves of the advantages we might derive from treating with their respective Sovereigns, hiring out their troops in the manner now alluded to, we have entered into treaties of alliance offensive and defensive; we have, in fact, pledged the faith of the nation to all the eventual consequences of a Continental war. But, my Lords, even this measure, hazardous and impolitick as it is, is not what presses most forcibly on my mind, in the conduct of this wanton, cruel, and diabolical war; for if the arguments be true that have been urged by several of your Lordships this day in debate, they amount fairly to this, that men are not to be had in this country sufficient to give efficacy to the necessary powers of the State, nor assert the rights of this Legislature; and that, consequently, the present treaties, however exceptionable, are the mere creatures of necessity. I question much the truth of this argument; but supposing it to be a just one, does it not fairly prove that the salvation of this empire depends upon foreign assistance; and that all our boasted power, wealth, and every advantage, derived either from our situation or form of Government, are held under that precarious tenure? In short, that we can enjoy no one blessing of external strength, or domestick happiness, longer than our worthy mercenary allies on the Continent think proper to permit. Now, for my part, I always was of a different opinion; for, should the time ever arrive in which our existence as a nation depended on the assistance of foreign hirelings, from that instant I should deem our consequence as a sovereign State, and our liberties as a free people, no more. The history of all ages and nations prove the fatal effects of calling in foreign auxiliaries, but more particularly mere mercenaries, to f ight their battles; and my memory hardly furnishes me with a single instance of conquest over any great state or empire, in which the conquerors were not first introduced into the country as friends and allies. This general truth, my Lords, I allow, does not directly apply to the present treaties; but the principle, were the national imbecility such as your Lordships' heard it described to be this day really just, ought to create cause of great and serious alarm to every one of your Lordships. I cannot better express my disapprobation of employing foreigners, particularly to fight our domestick quarrels, than by quoting the opinion of that great man, Sir Walter Raleigh.


In his History of the World, he says, "that they are seditious, unfaithful, disobedient, devourers and destroyers of all places and countries whither they are drawn, as being held by no other bond than their own commodity. Yea, that which is most fearful among such hirelings is, that they have often, and in time of greatest extremity, not only refused to fight in the defence of those who have entertained them, but revolted to the contrary part, to the utter ruin of those Princes and States who have trusted them."

My Lords, great stress hath been laid, in the course of this debate, on the comparative riches and strength of Great Britain and America, from which a conclusion has been drawn in our favour, and a consequence from that conclusion, that we must in the end prove victorious. I deny the fact, the conclusion, and the consequence raised upon it. That we possess more of the precious metals than the people of America. I will readily grant; but that the materials for decorating Palaces, or that administer to the luxuries or elegancies of life are so much real riches, or that they constitute the real and efficient strength of a nation, is a doctrine I never can subscribe to; particularly when you have a people to contend with who prefer real liberty to the empty shadow, and who despise those baubles and trinkets, when compared with the substantial and rational benefits of civil society and domestick happiness. The native produce and industry of a country, I am bold to affirm, are what constitute its real opulence. The people of America have always been in possession of one; and the present inhuman and oppressive measures you have adopted will necessarily teach them the other. The policy of former times was, to improve the native advantages of the people of America to a twofold purpose: to encourage them to the raising raw materials for our own manufactures, or as objects of foreign commerce; and to render them as dependant as possible on this country for all the wrought conveniences of life. This was the inexhaustible mine from which this country was wont to draw her resources. The immense profits derived from such a commercial intercourse were the taxes we drew from that country; and those only will ever be the substantial, constitutional benefits which can or ought to be derived from the legislative authority claimed by this country. What will be the consequence of this mad, bloody war? You will teach America industry and frugality. You will necessitate them to wear their own rough manufactures. You, will create an emulation for excellence and improvement; and, by shutting them out from your own ports, you will compel them to explore those of foreign nations. In fine, you will point out to them the advantages of a foreign commerce, of a frugal habit of living, but, above all, the sweets of industry, directed to the establishment of new manufactures, and the improvement of old ones.

I would recommend to your Lordships to seriously consider the grounds of the present quarrel, and the object meant in the end to be attained by it. Has it not originated in taxation? and is it not now gravely asserted, that the tax is virtually relinquished, but that a war of conquest, or an acknowledgment of an unconditional submission on their part, is the only alternative now left? What, then, is the true effect of this language, but that the present is a war of conquest? For the noble Earl with the white staff [Talbot] has told you, that this country ought never to recede, till America has consented to an unconditional submission; and, consequently, that our subjects in that country are to be reduced to a state of absolute slavery, or to be forever separated and cut off from the dominion of the British empire.

But, my Lords, referring back to the old question of taxation, (for that I look upon to be the true and efficient ground of the present contest,) what does that question present to your Lordships' consideration? Why, that in the course of the present campaign you will have run in debt ten millions, which is more than you have been able to discharge in the course of a thirteen years' peace; and if all your measures of conquest should succeed, that you will probably, at the end of another year or two, be thirty millions worse than when you first began, and will be in the absolute possession of a ruined, desolated country, which, so far from being able to contribute to the discharge of your burdens, will become an additional one for a series of years to come. It has been urged, that none of these consequences will happen; that America, when she perceives that we are ultimately


determined, will submit, and that of course our expenses will cease with the cause that gave them birth. I should think there was something in this argument, if conciliation, not conquest, was intended; if the claims of America were patiently heard, and maturely considered; but is their one of your Lordships who seriously believes that those people will ever consent to lay down their arms till vanquished, if no terms of conciliation or accommodation are held out to them? The idea is preposterous, and I am certain is not believed or expected by those who urge it. On the whole, my Lords, I am heartily for agreeing with the noble Duke' s motion, because it will afford time for Administration to treat; it will give his Majesty an opportunity of putting a stop to the further effusion of human blood; it will strengthen the hands of Government, should America refuse such terms as Britain may consistently offer, and America reasonably and securely accept; and it will be the means of laying, on foundations of strength and security, the greatness, opulence, and perfect union of the British empire, whether considered as one body, or in respect to its several constituent parts.

Viscount Weymouth. The noble Duke in the blue ribbon, and the noble Lord who spoke last, happened to be both in Administration at the time the act was passed which laid on the duties that were the original cause of all the present disturbances. It is somewhat extraordinary that they should now complain of their own acts, and come before your Lordships to condemn measures which, for anything that appears to the contrary, originated from themselves, or at least received their sanction.

The Duke of Grafton. I confess I occupied a very high and responsible post in Administration when the duties in 1767 were laid upon tea, paper, painters' colours, and glass. I am, however, extremely well pleased to have an opportunity of explaining what yet has not been effectually cleared up. In that year, when the extraordinary expenses incurred on account of America were laid before the House of Commons, the House rose as one man almost, and insisted that that country should contribute to the burdens brought on by the military establishment there; and a motion was made for bringing in a bill for that purpose. I strenuously opposed the measure, as big with the consequences it has since unfortunately produced. I spoke to my friends upon the occasion, but they all united in opinion that the tide was too strong to expect to either stem or turn it, so as to prevent whatever might be offered in that shape from passing into a law. Finding that all my efforts would be vain, I was compelled to submit, but was resolved, as far as lay in my power, to prevent the effect; and while I gave way, to do it in such a manner as would cause least harm. I accordingly proposed the tea duty as the most palatable; because, though it answered the main purpose of those with whom taxation was a favourite measure, it was doing America an immediate benefit, for I procured the shilling a pound duty to be taken off, and three-pence to be laid on it in lieu thereof; so that, in fact, it was nine-pence a pound saving to America. However, the attempt was received in America as I expected it would: it immediately caused disturbances and universal dissatisfaction. In 1769, therefore, I moved in the Cabinet for a repeal, and was out-voted (if I recollect right) by a majority of one. This, therefore, was the part I took in this fatal business. When the partial repeal was agreed to in Council, I entreated and conjured my brethren in office to give up this paltry revenue; but, as I said before, I was overruled.

Lord Camden. For my part I was not in Council, or did not attend in Cabinet at the time this fatal measure was concerted; and as soon as I was apprised of the tendency of it, I expressed my hearty disapprobation.

Viscount Weymouth. The noble Duke says, he was outvoted in the Cabinet, and that there are some noble Lords now present who took an active part on that occasion. The noble Duke is very right; I was present, and am free to declare, that I was one of the members of the Cabinet who gave my vote for having the tea duty retained, and am not ashamed to own it, The noble Duke forgets there was no majority, or casting voice; the numbers were equal. The other noble Lord' s apology is the most extraordinary that I ever heard; his Lordship says, he was not present at the time it happened to be debated in Council. Will the noble Lord pretend to excuse himself as a Cabinet Counsellor on that ground? Or if he could, can he pretend to defend himself


self in giving his approbation and assent, and putting the question in every successive stage of the bill to a measure, sitting on that Woolsack as President of this august assembly, which he has asserted in the course of this night' s debate will be the certain ruin and destruction of this country?

The Duke Richmond replied to the observations made on his speech; and the question being put,

It was resolved in the negative.

Contents 29, Proxies 3.
Non-Contents 79, Proxies 21.