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Report from Committee of the Whole


MONDAY, February 6, 1775.

Ordered, That there be laid before this House an account of all the Corn, Flour, and Bread, imported from North America into that part of Great Britain called England, from January, 1767, as far as the same can be made up; distinguishing each kind of Grain, and the quantity imported in each year.

Sir Charles Whitworth, according to order, reported from the Committee of the Whole House, to whom it was referred to consider further of the several Papers which were presented to the House by the Lord North, upon the 19th and 31st days of January last, and the first day of this instant, February, by his Majesty' s command, the Resolution which the Committee had directed him to report to the House; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same was read, and is as followeth, viz:

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee that an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to return his Majesty our most humble thanks for having been graciously pleased to communicate to this House the several Papers relating to the present state of the British Colonies in America, which by his Majesty' s commands, have been laid before this House, and from which, after taking them into our most serious consideration, we find that a part of his Majesty' s subjects in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, have proceeded so far to resist the authority of the supreme Legislature, that a rebellion at this time actually exists within the said Province; and we see with the utmost concern, that they have been countenanced and encouraged by unlawful combinations and engagements entered into by his Majesty' s subjects in several of the other Colonies, to the injury and oppression of many of their innocent fellow-subjects resident within the Kingdom of Great Britain and the rest of his Majesty' s Dominions. This conduct on their part appears to us the more inexcusable, when we consider with how much temper his Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament have acted in support of the Laws and Constitution of Great Britain; to declare that we can never so far desert the trust reposed in us, as to relinquish any part of the sovereign authority over all his Majesty' s Dominions, which by law is vested in his Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament; and that the conduct of many persons in several of the Colonies, during the late disturbances, is alone sufficient to convince us how necessary this power is for the protection of the lives and fortunes of all his Majesty' s subjects; that we ever have been, and always shall be ready to pay attention and regard to any real grievances of any of his Majesty' s subjects, which shall in a dutiful and constitutional manner be laid before us; and whenever any of the Colonies shall make a proper application to us, we shall be ready to afford them every just and reasonable indulgence; but that, at the same time, we consider it as our indispensable duty humbly to beseech his Majesty, that his Majesty will take the most essential measures to enforce due obedience to the laws and authority of the supreme Legislature; and that we beg leave, in the most solemn manner, to assure his Majesty, that it is our fixed


resolution, at the hazard of our lives and properties, to stand by his Majesty against all rebellious attempts, in the maintenance of the just rights of his Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament.

Lord John Cavendish moved that it be recommitted. He strongly recommended the reconsideration of a measure which he deemed fraught with so much mischief; commented on the proposed Address; thought it improper to assert that a rebellion existed; mentioned the insecurity created by the Act for changing the Government of Massachusetts Bay; said the inhabitants knew not for a moment under what Government they lived. His head and heart combined to deprecate the horrours of civil war, necessarily involving a foreign one also, with the combined forces of very powerful Nations. He represented the jealousy of our neighbours, from their disgrace and our glory in the last war. If the Americans should hear of our having declared them Rebels, and that more force was coming, might they not determine rather to attack a part than wait for the whole? a small rather than a greater number? He stated our domestic situation, our state with the Colonies and with foreign Powers. He called the attention of the House to the unequal balance of our loss and our gain in the event; in which we might find our Revenue destroyed, our Trade annihilated, and our Empire itself overturned; and if we succeeded in subduing America, we could gain nothing.

Lord Lumley seconded the motion. He expressed himself with modesty, handsomely making his youth a personal plea for his wishing the utmost time for reconsideration on a matter so important.

The Lord Mayor, Mr˙ Wilkes. Mr˙ Speaker: the business before the House, in its full extent, respecting the British Colonies in America, is of as great importance as was ever debated in Parliament. It comprehends almost every question relative to the common rights of mankind, almost every question of policy and legislation. I do not mean to enter into so vast, so well-trodden a field. I will confine myself to the immediate business of this day. The Address now reported from the Committee of the Whole House, appears to be unfounded, rash, and sanguinary. It draws the sword unjustly against America; but before Administration are suffered to plunge the Nation into the horrours of a civil war, before they are permitted to force Englishmen to sheath their swords in the bowels of their fellow-subjects, I hope this House will seriously weigh the original ground and cause of this unhappy dispute, and in time reflect whether justice is on our side, and gives a sanction to the intended hostile proceedings. The assumed right of taxation, without the consent of the subject, is plainly the primary cause of the present quarrel. Have we, then, sir, any right to tax the Americans? That is the great important question. The fundamental laws of human nature, and the principles of the English Constitution, are equally repugnant to the claim. The very idea of property excludes the right of another' s taking any thing from me without my consent, otherwise I cannot call it my own. No tenure can be so precarious as the will of another. What property have I in what another person can seize at his pleasure? If any part of my property is subject to the discretionary powers of others, the whole may be so likewise. If we can tax the Americans without their consent, they have no property; nothing they can call their own with certainty; for we might by violence take the whole as well as the part. The words liberty and property, so dear to an Englishman, so pleasing in our ears, would become a cruel mockery, an insult to an American. The laws of society are professedly calculated to secure the property of each individual, of every subject of the state. This point is no less clearly determined by the great principles of that happy Constitution under which we live. All subsidies to the Crown have always been considered, and expressly declared, to be grants from the Commons of the Realm, free gifts from the people. Their full consent is stated in the grant. Much has been said of the Palatinate of Chester, and the Principality of Wales, and the period of their taxation; but, sir, there is a more remarkable case in point, which alone would determine this question. If gentlemen will search the Records in the Tower, and the Chapel of the Rolls, they will find that the Town of Calais, in France, when it belonged to the Imperial Crown of this Realm, was not taxed till it sent a Representative to Parliament.


A Thomas Fowler actually sat and voted in this House as a Burgess of the Town of Calais. From that period, and not till then, was Calais taxed. The Writ out of Chancery, and the Return in the reign of Edward Sixth, are still extant. I faithfully gave them to the publick from attested copies.

It will, I foresee, sir, be objected; is America then to enjoy the protection of Great Britain, and to contribute nothing to the support of that parent state, which has so long afforded it safety and security, which has carefully and tenderly nursed it to this hour of its present strength and greatness? The Americans themselves have given the fullest answer to this objection, in a manner not to be controverted, by their conduct through a long series of years, and by the most explicit declarations. Equally in words and actions, of the most unequivocal nature, they have demonstrated their love, their ardour, their strong filial piety towards the mother country. They have always appeared ready, not only to contribute towards the expenses of their own Government, but likewise to the wants and necessities of this state, although perhaps they may not be over-fond of all the proud, expensive trappings of royalty. In the two last wars with France, they far exceeded the cold line of prudence. With the most liberal hearts, they cheerfully gave you nearly their all, and they fought gallantly and victoriously by your side, with equal valour against our and their enemy, the common enemy of the liberties of Europe and America, the ambitious, faithless French, whom now we fear and flatter. Our Journals, sir, will bear witness to the grateful sense we had of the important services of our brethren in America, by the great sums we shall find voted to be repaid them for what they expended in the spirited warlike expeditions, which they carried through with equal courage and conduct. The siege and capture of Louisbourg, the various successful operations against the general foe, without the least knowledge, much less participation, on our part, are the fullest proofs of the warm affection of their hearts to this country, and of their readiness to bear more than their share of the publick expense and burthen. But, sir, the whole was the gift of freemen, our fellow-subjects, who feel that they are, and know they have a right to be, as free as ourselves. What is their language even now, at a moment when you are planning their destruction, when you are branding them with the odious appellation of Rebels? In the late Petition of the Congress to the King, they declare, "they are ready and willing, as they ever have been, when constitutionally required, to demonstrate their loyalty to his Majesty, by exerting their most strenuous efforts in granting Supplies and raising Forces." This is the unanimous Resolution of a Congress, composed of Deputies from the several Colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the two Carolinas.

I have heard, sir, of a plan of accommodation, which, I believe, would reconcile all differences. But alas, sir, it does not come from any servant of the Crown. It comes from the noble Lord, to whom this country has the most essential obligations; to whom it is so highly indebted for its late splendour and glory. The plan is, to assemble another Congress in the Spring, under the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain; the Deputies of the several Colonies to meet together, and to be jointly empowered to regulate the various quotas to be paid by each Province to the General Treasury of the whole Empire. I would, in addition to that plan, propose that a regulation, similar to what actually takes place with respect to Scotland, be adopted as to America. The proportion of each Colony might be settled according to the Land-Tax in England, at one, two, or more Shillings in the Pound. I am not deep politician enough to know what the proportion should be of each Province, which will vary greatly in half a century; but I speak of each quota being at all times to be regulated according to the Land-Tax of this country. The very extensive and flourishing Colonies of the Massachusetts Bay, Virginia, and South Carolina, for instance, should contribute more; the smaller and poorer Colonies of New-Hampshire and New-Jersey, less; but, sir, I insist, not a Shilling can be taken without their consent. After this day' s debate, should the Address now moved for, be


carried in this House, I greatly fear that not only this wise plan of the noble Lord, but every idea of a reconciliation between this country and her Colonies, will be utterly impracticable.

The Americans, sir, have of late been treated, both within doors and without, in a manner which marks no small degree of injustice, and even a wantonness of cruelty. We have been repeatedly told to-day, that they complain of the Navigation Act, and insist on the repeal of it. We have authentick evidence to the contrary. In the Resolutions of the Congress; they desire only to be put on the footing they were at the close of the late war, "as to the system of Statutes and Regulations;" nor among the various Acts, of which they solicit the repeal, have they once mentioned either the Navigation or Declaratory Act. It has likewise been asserted, that they are forward and angry enough to wish to throw off the supremacy of the mother country. Many express Resolutions, both of the General Congress, and the different Provincial Assemblies, are the fullest evidence of the sense which the Americans entertain of their obedience and duty to Great Britain. They are too numerous to be quoted. Their full claim, as stated by themselves, is so explicit and clear, that I beg leave to read it to the House from their Petition to the King. It declares, "We ask but for peace, liberty, and safety." Surely, sir, no request was ever more modest and reasonable, no claim better founded. It expressly mentions, "We wish not a diminution of the prerogative, nor do we solicit a grant of any new right in our favour. Your royal authority over us, and our connection with Great Britain, we shall always carefully and zealously endeavour to support and maintain."

What a contrast, sir, does this make with the proceedings of Administration at home. They are sedulously endeavouring to tear asunder those powerful ties, which have long and happily knit and bound us together.

The Address, sir, mentions the particular Province of the Massachusetts Bay as in a state of actual rebellion. The other Provinces are held out to our indignation as aiding and abetting. Many arguments have been employed by some learned gentlemen among us, to involve them in all the consequences of an open, declared rebellion, and to obtain the fullest orders for our Officers and Troops to act against them as against rebels. Whether their present state is that of rebellion, or of a fit and just resistance to unlawful acts of power, to our attempts to rob them of their property and liberties, as they imagine, I shall not declare. This I know; a successful resistance is a revolution, not a rebellion. Rebellion indeed appears on the back of a flying enemy; but revolution flames on the breast-plate of the victorious warriour. Who can tell, sir, whether in consequence of this day' s violent and mad Address to his Majesty, the scabbard may not be thrown away by them as well as by us; and should success attend them, whether in a few years the independent Americans may not celebrate the glorious era of the Revolution of 1775, as we do that of 1688? The generous efforts of our forefathers for freedom, Heaven crowned with success, or their noble blood had dyed our scaffolds, like that of Scottish Traitors and Rebels; and the period of our history, which does us the most honour, would have been deemed a rebellion against the lawful authority of the Prince, not a resistance authorized by all the laws of God and man, not the expulsion of a Tyrant.

The policy, sir, of this measure, I can no more comprehend, than I can acknowledge the justice of it. Is your force adequate to the attempt? I am satisfied it is not. What are your Armies? And how are they to be kept up and recruited? Do you recollect that the single Province of Massachusetts Bay has at this moment thirty thousand men well trained and disciplined? Do you not know that they can bring near ninety thousand men into the field? They will do it, when every thing dear to them is at stake, when they have their liberties to defend against cruel oppressors and invaders. You will not be able to conquer and keep even that single Province. The noble Lord (North) with the blue ribband, proposes only ten thousand of our Troops to be there, including the four Regiments now going from Ireland; and he acknowledges, with great truth, that the Army cannot enforce the late Act of Parliament. Why then is it sent? Boston, indeed, you may


lay in ashes, or it may be made a strong Garrison; but the Province will be lost to you Boston will be like Gibraltar. You will hold in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, as you do in Spain, a single Town, while the whole country remains in the power and possession of the enemy. Your Fleets and Armies may keep a few Towns on the Coast, for some time at least; Boston, New-York, St˙ Augustine; but the vast Continent of America will be irrecoverably lost. A few Fortresses on the Coast, and some Seaports only, will remain in your possession. All the back settlements will be independent of you, and will thrive in the rapid progression of your violences and unjust exactions on the Towns. A new and amazing landed interest will be created. The ancient story of the Philosopher Calanus and the Indian Hide will be verified. Where you tread it will be kept down; but it will rise the more in all other parts. Where your Fleets and Armies are stationed, the possession will be secured while they continue; but all the rest will be lost. In the great scale of Empire, you will decline, I fear, from the decision of this day; and the Americans will rise to independence, to power, to all the greatness of the most renowned states; for they build on the solid basis of general publick liberty.

I tremble, sir, at the almost certain consequences of such an Address, founded in cruelty and injustice, equally contrary to the sound maxims of true policy, and the unerring rule of natural right. The Americans will certainly defend their property and their liberties with the spirit of freemen, with the spirit our ancestors did, and I hope we should exert on a like occasion. They will sooner declare themselves independent, and risk every consequence of such a contest, than submit to the galling yoke which Administration is preparing for them. An Address of this sanguinary nature cannot fail of driving them to despair. They will see that you are preparing not only to draw the sword, but to burn the scabbard. In the most harsh manner you are declaring them Rebels. Every idea of a reconciliation will vanish. They will pursue the most vigorous measures in their own defence. The whole Continent of North America will be dismembered from Great Britain, and the wide arch of the raised Empire fall. But I hope the just vengeance of the people will overtake the authors of these pernicious counsels, and the loss of the first Province of the Empire be speedily followed by the loss of the heads of those Ministers who advised these wicked and fatal measures.

Captain Harvey. I shall make no apology for intruding on the time of the House, because I think it a duty incumbent on every man, who has the welfare of his country at heart, to speak out on this occasion, and declare his sentiments on so very important a crisis; a crisis, sir, in which I believe this country has not been involved in a more intricate one since the Revolution, and for which we are not only indebted to the refractory spirit of some of those ungrateful subjects on the other side of the Atlantic, but to some no less restless ones on this side of it; and which induces me to believe, that as a great Minister once boasted in this House, that he had conquered America in Germany, so, I very much fear, we shall now be obliged to conquer it, or at least some part of it, again in England; for, till we put a stop to the sedition that is so constantly, so artfully, and so shamefully blown from hence, and give a check to those incendiaries who dare breathe forth such inflammatory poison as every newspaper conveys, we can never hope, without the last extremities, to bring the wicked leaders of those deluded people to a sense of their duty.

To acknowledge, sir, the supremacy of the Legislative power of this country over all its Dominions, and dispute the right of that power to exert itself, as it shall judge best for the good of the whole, is, in my humble opinion, too puerile and too trifling to throw away an argument upon; and, in our present situation with the Colonies, too criminal not to condemn without hesitation. Either the Legislative power of a Kingdom has authority over all its Dominions, or it has none over any part of them; it cannot be partial; nor do I think any one branch of that Legislature can, by any act or charter whatever, exempt any particular set of its subjects from the authority of the whole Legislature. Could that be done, sir, and could a preference be given to any, I am very sure this House would long ago have turned their eyes towards our sister Kingdom of Ireland, who has


every claim to that preference in our affections and for our assistance, being as remarkable for their loyalty and obedience, as they are for their industry, and I am sorry to say, for their poverty.

That America, by every tie human nature can devise, ought to be subordinate to the authority of Great Britain, is beyond a doubt, more especially when we consider and reflect, at what immense expense of blood and treasure to this country, those very Colonies have been brought to that excess of greatness and riches, as that they shall now vainly think themselves able, and insolently declare themselves ready, to shake off their dependence, and become a separate state. That they have long been aiming at it, is evident from all their proceedings, and from all the papers before you; and that they may possibly become so in some future age (long may it be first) is natural to suppose, from what history teaches us of the vicissitude of all Nations. But this I am certain of, the more they dare to sound that alarm, and the more they struggle for that period, the more it is our duty, as Englishmen, to watch over them, and not let the evil day be anticipated by any remissness or want of firmness on our part, for that would not only be highly criminal towards our King and country to permit it, but also leave an everlasting stain on the present age, if we meanly shake off the task of preventing it from ourselves, and leave it for posterity to struggle with as they can.

Sir, although I am under no kind of apprehensions from the consequences that may ensue from enforcing obedience in the Colonies, from the good opinion I yet have of some cool, dispassionate, well affected men in the Colonies, yet I own, for the sake of tranquillity here, and our Manufactures, I wish there were any lenient measures left to pursue; but I know of none that have not been repeatedly tried; and I very much fear, that mildness and lenity, with which Government has proceeded throughout all their conduct towards the Colonies, that tenderness shewn in every step hitherto taken, has been both here and there construed into timidity, and from advantages drawn from thence, by disaffected and interested people, has produced these disgraceful and fatal effects.

For my own part, sir, if the House will allow me to trespass on their indulgence, and speak of the conduct of so insignificant an individual as myself, I will tell them, that notwithstanding all the threats and menaces, all the harsh censures that were the other night, on this subject, thrown out against all those who had supported the measures of Government, and all the crude epithets that were given to every thing that had been done, to every thing that was doing, and every thing that was to be done, (without knowing very well what that last was to be,) yet, sir, I shall, in defiance of all those threats and menaces, still glory in having given my negative to the repeal of the Stamp Act. I took the liberty on that extraordinary occasion to foretel to the House, the consequences that would ensue from that puerile, pitiful, and baneful measure; and I am now no less proud of declaring, that as my education and profession have led me a very different path from that of a politician; so, sir, from the moment I had a seat in this House, I thought it my duty to study the opinions and conduct of those, whose abilities and whose attachment to their country, justly entitled them to a preference, and very early attached myself to that good, wise, and able Minister, Mr˙ Grenville, whose loss this country will long feel and lament, and whose memory I shall ever honour and revere; though it is some consolation from what I heard the other night fall from a young noble Member, to find the father' s virtues and abilities reviving in the son. However, sir, I will not prove myself undeserving the friendship and confidence that Minister honoured me with, by deviating this day in one single iota from what I am confident would have been his conduct, had we been so happy to have had him still among us; and therefore, as far as my voice goes, I will never consent to the rescinding, the discharging, or the repealing any one resolution, order, or act, that either the last, or any former Parliament, has passed for the declaring, maintaining, and enforcing the Legislative authority of Great Britain over all its Colonies.

Sir, I shall be very happy to give my vote, (and if I had health and abilities equal to my zeal and inclination,) my assistance also, to any proper English constitutional measure that could effectually restore that harmony between the mother


country and the Colonies, so essentially necessary to both, but which I absolutely deny (in any one point of view) to be more so to England than to America; but, sir, whilst there are those individuals on this side of the water, some of great abilities, some of great titles, and some few of great fortunes, but all of great passions, whom I fear are so forgetful of their duty, as to be sacrificing the honour and welfare of this country, nay, risking the very existence of it to their own private views and ambition, to their own private piques and resentments, we can never flatter ourselves that any measures will have the wished for effect, but the most determined, the most firm, and the most vigorous ones.

Having said this, sir, let me not be understood to wish, or mean to recommend, the carrying execution through all the Colonies with fire and sword. No, sir, God forbid I should have so sanguine a thought. I flatter myself other means may be found, and I hope, and have not a doubt, but so soon as they find us determined to do our duty, they will be brought to a sense of theirs, and all difficulties will subside without shedding one single drop of blood; but should I be so misunderstood here, and so misrepresented without doors, (which is the prevailing mode,) all I can say is, that I am determined to be as indifferent to it as conscious innocence will ever be to every invidious slander. I look upon all such temporary misrepresentations and abuse, just as I do on the clouds that pass under the sun; they cast a momentary shade on all people and all things; wait but with a little patience, truth, like the sun, will break out, disperse those clouds, and all people and all things appear in their proper lustre. I shall, therefore, sir, wait with patience for that moment, trusting to those abilities, to that temper, and to that firmness, with which the noble Lord by me, who now holds the helm, has hitherto conducted us, through the violent storm, and through all the difficulties in which he found us involved; and make no doubt, but notwithstanding all the obstacles thrown in his way, he will bring us to a lasting and pleasing calm; and, therefore, sir, I shall most heartily concur in this proposed Address, and be against the recommitment of it.

Sir William Mayne. I should not rise to trouble you this day, could I reconcile to my own breast the giving a silent vote on a question, upon which depends not only the existence of this country, but the happiness of millions. The vote I shall give, will be free from the smallest tincture of that prejudice which has industriously been inculcated into the minds of the Americans from this side the water, that they are to expect from every Member of this House who drew his first breath on the other side of the Tweed. No sir; I will give my vote this day, uninfluenced by party, and undictated to by power; I will give it like an honest Member of Parliament, who considers the approbation of his own mind his best Parliamentary reward, and who acknowledges no dictator but that of his own conscience.

Some time ago, I gave my support to the Address to his Majesty, holding myself at full liberty to decide upon every point relating to America, when they came specially before this House. Since that time, I have taken all the information from the Papers upon your table, as well as from the proceedings in America, by which I regulate my judgment upon this great and arduous situation of this country. And it is with sorrow I say it, that so very violent has been, and still is, the conduct of the Americans, that there is scarce an opening left for British justice and British humanity to interfere for their relief, or to give protection to those loyal and faithful subjects, of which I trust many are yet to be found in that Continent.

No man, I think, can read the votes and proceedings of the American Continental Congress, held at Philadelphia on the 5th of September last, without amazement, compassion, and indignation; amazement at the act, compassion for the delusion, and indignation at the insult offered to their mother country.

Declaratory of what they say they are entitled to by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English Constitution, and the several Charters or compacts, they come to eleven Resolutions, all of which, in my opinion, both in spirit and in substance, are subversive of, and destructive to, every fundamental principle which either constitutes or supports our most excellent Constitution.


In the first Resolution they tell you they have never ceded to any power the disposal of their life, liberty, or property; which is a positive denial of their being British subjects, and of the existence of this Constitution, which we all know has inherent in it a power to make laws to hold in penalty the lives, liberty, and property of its subjects, when the general safety of the whole requires it; as in cases of felony, where life and consequently liberty is forfeited; and in cases of high treason, where both life, liberty, and property are forfeited.

They set forth that their ancestors were, at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural born subjects within the Realm of England, and that they, their descendants, are now entitled to the same; a claim which neither the wisdom nor justice of this country will deny them, provided they will yield the same obedience to the Laws and Constitution of this country, which was the pride, the glory, and protection of their ancestors at the time they left it.

It has been strongly urged by the advocates for America, that they were not represented; this has made deep impressions on the minds of many people, who thought if they were allowed an adequate number of Representatives in the British Senate all would be well, and every thing again subside to its original harmony; but how vain this hope, all must see who read the fourth Resolution of the Congress, whereby they expressly tell you that the English Colonies, from their local and other circumstances, cannot be represented in the British Parliament; from which it must be obvious to every one, that it is not a common, mixed representation with Great Britain they wish to enjoy, but a free and independent Legislature of their own.

They likewise claim the full benefit of our most excellent Constitution, though, in the same breath, they deny and resist its legal authority in every part. They declare the keeping a Standing Army in the Colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the Legislature of the Colony in which it is so kept up, is against law. In times of danger from their foreign and domestick enemies, they acquiesced without murmuring to this Standing Army, kept up at our expense; but no sooner is the moment of danger over, and they feel themselves in a state of security from the calamities of war, and that this Standing Army becomes necessary to secure their obedience and allegiance to the Laws and Constitution of this country — but it is inadmissible, contrary to law, and a flagrant violation of the freedom of their American Constitution.

Can we view with an indifferent eye the Resolutions of the Congress, where, in a style more becoming the haughty Courts of Versailles and Madrid, they inhibit all intercourse of commerce between America and this country. To all Nations with whom we are not actually at war, we can transport our commodities with safety, but it is only on the inhospitable Continent of America that British Manufactures, the produce of British industry, cannot find an asylum.

Much has been said with respect to the reception of the Merchants' Petition. Nobody can or ought to have a higher respect for that honourable body of men than I have; but I must say I think their Petition was decently received and decently treated. The advocates for it pressed for its being referred to the same Committee with the Papers; alleging, if it was not heard in that Committee, that you would decide upon the Papers without having the evidence of the Merchants, which might be essential to your determining properly upon that great question. In the course of the business of this House, it so fell out that on the Thursday fixed for considering the Papers, which was the day before the Merchants' Committee, the House could not proceed upon them, and the consideration of them was adjourned till the Tuesday following. This left the very next day open for the Merchants to come to your bar, and there give you their full evidence, which we could carry in our minds to meet that of the Papers on the Tuesday following; but what was our surprize when this House resolved itself into a Committee, and called for the Merchants; only one single person appeared, who read a written paper, the purport of which was, that they had nothing to offer, as they could not be heard in the same Committee with the papers. Much has been said too, of foreign powers taking


the advantage of our disputes with America. I am persuaded fears of that kind are ill-founded, as all Powers on the Continent of Europe, who have settlements in the Western and Southern world, are alarmed lest, if our Colonies should succeed in shaking off their dependence on this country, theirs would soon follow the example.

Strong suspicions have been thrown out that the Americans have been heated to their present phrenzy by incendiaries from home. If there are Catalines in this country, (I am sure there are none of them within these walls, for we are all honourable men) who have been plotting treasons in the dark against the state, let them be dragged to light; let them be offered up a sacrifice to the just resentments of the people and the violated rights of their country; let their names be handed down with infamy to posterity, and let ages yet to come execrate their memory.

Therefore, upon the whole, if a universal resistance to the Civil Government of America, as by law established, if denying a free and reciprocal interchange of British and American commodities, if resisting every act of the British Legislature, and absolutely, in word and deed, denying the sovereignty of this country, if laying a strong hand on the revenues of America, if seizing his Majesty' s Forts, Artillery, and Ammunition, if exciting and stimulating by every means the whole subjects of America to take Arms and to resist the constitutional authority of Great Britain, are acts of treason, then are the Americans in a state of the most flagrant rebellion; a state that every good man must lament, and none more than myself, as I sincerely wish every moderate and constitutional method to be taken to bring back these unhappy and deluded people to a sense of their duty. But if, after all, conciliating measures shall fail, this country has no alternative left but to make use of that power they enjoy, under Heaven, for the protection of the whole Empire; and to shew the Americans that as our ancestors deluged this country with their blood to gain this Constitution for us, we, like men, in defiance of faction at home, or rebellion abroad, are determined, in glorious emulation of their example, to transmit it perfect and unimpaired to posterity, or perish in the attempt. These, sir, are my sentiments on this great question, flowing from the purest dictates of an uninfluenced and unbiased conscience, supported by a heart ready to bleed for the rights and liberties of the people, indifferent to me where I meet the invaders of them, whether on the cultivated plains of Britain, or the more wild and uncultivated deserts of America; so shall give my hearty affirmative to this motion.

Mr˙ T˙ Townshend insisted that the imputation of causing a civil war was misplaced; called upon the last speaker to point out those Catalines who had fomented civil dissentions; and said that every one else thought the imputation and description belonged to another set of men. You are, said he, in the last moment wherein there can be any possibility of a pause that may suggest any measures of reconciliation. The Address cries havock!

Mr˙ Jolliffe said his ideas differed so widely from the noble Lord (North) that he could not give his assent to measures his soul shuddered at. He disapproved of the plan, and was for considering it in every light, lest resistance should be made justifiable.

Mr˙ Hans Stanley approved of the proposed Address; remarked on the Papers; said he wanted nothing but the Americans to submit; would then hang out the olive branch, propose an amnesty, an act of grace and oblivion, a compact; but thought some examples ought to be made.

Lord Irnham began with asking what are the real springs and motives for Administration carrying on this alarming and ruinous American war? The House of Commons, in my humble opinion, said his Lordship, cannot perceive, by any thing that has been communicated to us from Papers read at your table, which contain very little more than what we have seen in the publick prints; nor do I think it likely we should grow wiser by any information more candid and satisfactory than that they have already bestowed upon us. However, I shall suppose in their favour, that they have other motives for their conduct, than have hitherto appeared to that part of this House which consists of independent Members.

When I say "they," I mean the noble Lord at the head of Administration, and a few others his chief associates; for, as to the mass of those who support his measures, I


believe they do not insist upon more weighty arguments than that constant one he furnishes them with. Since, therefore, Parliament cannot merely, from the materials on your table, approve or sanctify this violent attack upon America; and since the safety or consequence of it cannot be tried on any commercial considerations, which this House has for the present debarred us from, kindly indeed, in one respect, as the view of it would have exhibited a most gloomy and uncomfortable prospect; we are, therefore, in obedience to their will, to combat them on the ground they have chosen; and we must consider this American war, in regard to its being a constitutional, and likewise a political question, under the latter head, including foreign and domestick policy. On the ground, then, that they have chosen, I will meet them, and fairly put our cause to the issue.

First, to consider it in a constitutional light, it militates against the great principles which has constantly been adopted by the friends of liberty, which is the life and soul of true Whiggism — that the interest of the community at large, and their sense of that interest, ought to govern and be the rule for the Executive power to act by, in preference to the will or opinion of any man, or order of men, however dignified, as servants of that community. To evince this clearly, let us look back to the first struggle for liberty, in the reign of Charles the martyr. What was then the great point to be decided? Was it not whether the few, though possessed of all the powers in the state, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, might employ those powers against the will of the many (the body of the people) or should conform themselves to the latter?

On the one side were, not only the Monarch then on the throne, but a high spirited and splendid Peerage, my Lords the Bishops, and indeed the whole hierarchy called the Church, by far the majority of my Lords the Judges, and the other superiours of the Long Robe, with their numerous dependants. These all were for supporting the prerogative of the Crown, as enlarged by the Tudors and Stuarts. They were for the dispensing power, star-chamber prosecutions, ship-money, and other arbitrary claims, as the true plan on which this Nation should be governed.

On the contrary side, were the People of England at large, and as part of themselves, their faithful and independent Representatives in this House; the great commercial Cities of London and Bristol; the important inland Towns, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, &c˙, the Manufacturers, Artificers, and Husbandmen, throughout the Kingdom; both sides appealed to the sword, and after the trial of many a well-fought field, it was determined in favour of the People at large; and on that decision all your liberty, property, and happiness has been founded — on that principle, of the sovereignty, virtually, ultimately, and really residing in the people. All Whiggism, every rational idea of the Constitution of this, and any other perfectly free country, must rest, and be bottomed on this definition. It was the Constitution of Rome, when in its perfection. The Romans had Consuls, representing the Kingly power; they had also a Senate, but the sovereignty virtually and ultimately resided in the People at large.

Now, sir, let us try the question of this day, as it includes in its consequences the liberty and property of your whole wide and extended Empire, still more extensive than that of Rome. Let us try it, sir, by that touchstone, that criterion, the interest and the opinion of that interest, consequently the will and desire of all who claim the rights of Englishmen. First, sir, your vast and beneficial territories in America; your Kingdom of Ireland; your unpensioned and unwarped neighbours of Scotland; and at home, your citizens of London, Bristol, and Norwich; your trading Towns of Manchester, Birmingham, and Coventry; and, in short, every great commercial and manufacturing City and Town in England; the Whigs dispersed throughout every County; these are all averse to this dreadful and dangerous civil war, and are attached and rivetted to the cause I now espouse, and to which Administration are enemies.

Pray, sir, what can you arrange on the opposite side? And who are for supporting those hostile measures? for, excepting the noble Lord at the head of Administration, and some few others, so very few, that they will easily occur to everyone that hears me, the rest of the abetters


of this extraordinary attempt, are as contemptible a collection of servile courtiers, renegade Whigs, and fawning, bigoted Tories, as ever strove to support the measures of any Administration. It reminds me of Virgil' s arrangement of the opposite forces at the battle of Actium. On the one side were Troops of Bactrians, Arabians, Egyptians, and every servile Nation then in the world; and at the head of them their contemptible divinities. "Omnigenumque Deum monstra et latrator Anubis" — (that Egyptian dog who was the emblem of servitude) — "Contra Neptunum et, Venerem contraque Minervam;" for, sir, Neptune, that is the whole seafaring as well as commercial interest, is against this measure. As to Venus, every grace of body and mind is annexed to liberty. And as for Minerva, wisdom and true policy are on the side of the Americans; and the Arts, of which she is the patroness, must immediataly withdraw, when you have removed her olive branch.

And now, sir, to view it next in a political light: first, in regard to foreign Powers, and then in regard to ourselves at home. Is it possible to conceive that any thing on earth could give that heartfelt pleasure to France and Spain that this unfortunate system of oppressing America has done! You had become the masters of all warlike America, which they term bold America; and with that assistance you bid fair to crush their power in every part of the globe, whenever they dared to provoke you; and now you have weakly, impoliticly, and dangerously contrived to irritate, injure, and inflame all America against you; and if we are not blind to our own interest, we might easily perceive this by the conduct of the French and Spaniards, on your applying to their respective Courts for orders to stop their Merchants from supplying America with Goods or War-like Stores. They immediately (apparently against every motive of their interest and policy) comply with your demands; and for what ends, but plainly to urge you on, and to incite you to your own destruction? For depend on it, that notwithstanding all this courtesy and politesse, the Americans will receive from them every ounce of Powder and Ball that they can pay for, as well as all other Goods in abundance. This is, therefore, a measure of confiding in our new friends and old enemies, the French and Spaniards, instead of our old friends and brethren the Americans. This kind of policy is insecure in private concerns, but must be ruinous in this important, this decisive one. And now, sir, to sift and examine it in what is infinitely of more importance, by a political process; by which it may be tried in those respects wherein it would operate as to our own internal happiness and security; that the making our Prince absolute and despotick over all his vast American Dominions, cannot, in the sober apprehension or constitutional creed of any man that hears me, add a tittle to the happiness our Sovereign enjoys, as a Monarch limited by the laws he found established both there and here; and I am fully persuaded, by the frequent gracious declarations that have fallen from his mouth, he, following his natural and noble disposition, unperverted and unseduced, either by his avowed or inward Cabinet, would, of all men living, less wish to possess such despotick power. But that the attempt may prove ruinous to our liberty, property, and every thing dear to our civil rights, I appeal to the history of every state that has heretofore figured on the stage of the world.

The adopting of the measures of supporting large Standing Armies to enforce the sovereignty over their Provinces, (an alluring motive) has subjugated them all in their turns, and extinguished their constitutional provisions and barriers against tyranny. To pass over the lesser states, not only Marias, and Sylla, and Caesar, but Augustus and Tiberius, those able tyrants, who systematically ruined the Roman liberty — achieved it by Troops raised to maintain the Roman sovereignty over their Provinces. They did, indeed, subdue those Provinces; but they also oppressed the liberty of the Roman Republick; and their project reached still farther than they expected; for it stopped not till the military power, established by them for that end, overturned the imperial power itself. In less than fifty years from the death of Augustus, those Armies, raised to keep the Provinces in awe, had no less than three Emperours on foot at the same time; and thenceforward the military power disposed of the Empire, and gave to whom it pleased the


throne of the Caesars. Whoever will calmly examine those precedents, must be convinced that the like causes must have similar effects. Oppressed by an overgrown Army the liberty of America and Ireland (for that stands next in the Ministerial plan) and afterwards that of Great Britain will follow of course; the monster of Despotism will only grant even of the latter the favour intended for Ulysses, that of being last devoured.

I have now, sir, to the best of my ability, agitated this great question on the ground proposed by Administration, in a constitutional as well as in a political light; and will venture to assert that it appears in both those views formidable and destructive; and that it becomes absolutely necessary to retract the unconstitutional and impolitick steps which Administration have hitherto taken, founded evidently upon Tory and arbitrary principles. Let us, therefore, at length return back to those glorious maxims of universal liberty, established by our great deliverer King William the Third — that friend to mankind; to whom we owe that this Nation, by adhering heretofore to those maxims, had become the most powerful and illustrious on earth; and by whose wisdom the sceptre of this Empire has been placed in the hands of the family who now wield it; which may they ever do with honour and perfect safety, whilst they remain enthroned in the hearts of all the loyal, free-born, independent, and Whiggish subjects throughout Great Britain, Ireland, and America.

Mr˙ William Adam spoke against the motion. He recurred to first principles; said he was a Whig; declared his readiness to support the Constitution of Great Britain, in which America was included; spoke of the doctrine of resistance; declared the Americans never had a legal power of resistance in their Constitution.

Mr˙ Scott represented the dangers of a civil war, but pressed the necessity of violent measures on the present occasion.

Governour Johnstone. Before you pronounce this dreadful sentence upon a meritorious, sober, and industrious people, I hope the House will indulge me with a few words in discharge of the duty I owe myself, and likewise with a view of transmitting my character fair to posterity, when those black scenes shall be examined without prejudice.

The real question before us, is upon the proper measures to be pursued respecting our fellow-subjects in America. In order to judge of this, we must consider the real cause of dispute. I say the substantial difference turns upon the right of Taxation. Most of the advocates on the other side, have endeavoured to slur this point, and allege "that the claims of the Americans extend far beyond this article, and that the Act of Navigation itself is in danger." But it is impossible for a judicious mind to read the material papers, and not to see that this is illusory. The Congress has expressly told us, "they are willing to acquiesce in those laws which secure to us the monopoly of their trade, as necessary in the mutual connection;" and the instructions from Philadelphia, on which the proceedings of the Congress are chiefly formed, avow these doctrines in more full and explicit terms. This method of condemning men by inference and conjecture, contrary to their repeated declarations, I cannot approve; I shall therefore bend the whole force of my arguement to the original cause of quarrel — Taxation.

The great and only secret yet found out for preserving the liberties of mankind from the encroachments of that power which is necessary for the Executive in large Kingdoms, is the power of the purse. This was the subject of contention in the civil wars of Charles the First. It is this privilege alone which makes the House of Commons respectable. This is the point which Hampden obtained for us! And leave every one acquainted with the history of those memorable times, to determine in his own mind, "whether we should ever have enjoyed this blessing, if he had tamely paid the tax, and had not resisted?" From this power we derive the certainty of assembling the Representatives of the people; by this, redress of grievances may precede supplies; and the security that the exercise will not be abused, is derived from hence, that the House cannot impose on others what they are not to feel themselves. By the principles of the Constitution, every man should be represented; but the deviation from a rule too nice for practice, is safely borne, because the interest of every particular member remains as a pledge, that no individual


can be over-burthened. When this security is removed, there is no longer any safety for those to whom the fact does not apply. What is the case respecting the Americans? Does any Member feel himself affected by the impositions he shall lay on them? Nay, does not the contrary principle prevail? The more he shall burthen America, the more he will relieve himself. Judge Hobert says, "if an Act of Parliament was made constituting a man a judge in his own cause, it would be void by the law of nature." Yet such is the precise situation in which we contend we ought to be placed respecting the Americans, and for the denial of which we are ready to condemn our fellow-subjects to all the tortures enacted by the laws of treason.

Let us look round, and view the fate of different states that have yielded or preserved the privileges for which the Americans contend. So soon as the Cortes lost this power, their slavery was complete. Portugal has now no vestige of this palladium — here is tyranny supreme! In France, where the traces are left, (as in the pais d' etat) their happiness is distinguishable from the misery of other parts. In Britain we are yet free, because we retain it. In Holland, Switzerland, and the other states of Europe, they are more or less so as they preserve it.

What are the circumstances that distinguish and protect the British Colonies from those of other Nations? The Representatives of the people met in General Assembly, and the trial by Jury. If the system of taxation by the Parliament of Great Britain, takes place, what being can be so credulous as to expect the assemblies of the people will ever meet; and it is confessed, that Admiralty Courts, disclaiming trials by Jury, are necessary to enforce this species of taxation. Here, then, are all the essential privileges of an Englishman dependent on this question, and the real interest of the state is in no way concerned in the contrary scale, since the prosperity of the Colonies must ever prove the riches and glory of England. Nothing but the absurd pride or narrow ignorance of the present Administration can be thrown into it. When once this system takes place, we shall then feel the tyranny and oppression of Governours, with all their train of dependants, as in the Provinces of Rome, which are now quoted as an example.

Thus much supposing the Americans right in the dispute (as I believe they are;) but supposing them wrong, I shall now state their excuse, and see what heart can condemn them, and retain any claims to humanity.

The question concerning the right to tax the Colonies, though clear to those who are accustomed to think deeply on the principles of free Governments, is difficult to common apprehensions. Montesquieu has observed, "that in Despotism every thing ought to depend on two or three ideas." As for instance, is there any thing so fit to solve this dispute, as the unity of the British Empire, the supremacy of the Legislative authority of Great Britain, the omnipotence of Parliament? Is there any man so ignorant, after having heard those sounding words, as not clearly to comprehend the whole of the controversy? Plodding, thinking creatures, who are accustomed to consider the complicated privileges in a free Government, from whence the harmony of the whole springs, may be puzzled; but men who have never disturbed their repose with such dry considerations, can have no doubt on the matter; be that as it may, certain it is, that the discussion of this most important question was debated in this assembly by the greatest abilities, after the fullest information that ever accompanied any political question. The decision was in favour of the Americans; the Stamp Act was repealed. I admit that "principles of expediency" are alleged as the reason, in the preamble of the Bill; but the men who boldly denied, during this discussion, the power of taxing the Colonies, as constitutionally existing in the Commons of Great Britain, namely, Lord Chatham and Lord Camden, (men of as extraordinary talents as ever adorned society) the one was made Prime Minister, the other was created a Peer and Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, the keeper of the King' s conscience! What American could have retained any doubt of his cause in the mind of his Majesty, or the Nation, after such a decision? The Compromising Act soon followed, (for the sake of gratifying a party) violating all the principles of commerce and policy in the lump —


giving drawbacks here, exacting duties there; committing the power and authority of the Nation on subjects which never could produce any effectual revenue, and this in a manner that all men of sense must ever condemn.

When the Americans saw, by this act of Parliament, that the great question was likely again to return upon them in the progress of time, through the greediness, ignorance, or caprice of statesmen, they met the position in its sly, circuitous, questionable shape; they recurred to their old principles; they revolted against the preamble; they transmitted Petitions; and all failing, they entered into Non-Importation Agreements. This produced Lord Hillsborough' s Circular Letter, which I will repeat again and again, till a contrary conduct is pursued; for no satisfactory answer can be given about it, while the present doctrines are avowed. The Americans, thus fortified in their opinions concerning the point of taxation, are unanimous against our power from Nova Scotia to Georgia. If there be any doubt on this fact, why not call Governour Eden? We are told he lately arrived; it would have been becoming to have produced him; but I call on his relations, friends, or any man, to contradict me in this assertion, "that the Americans are unanimous against this power of taxation." They are resolved to resist; and since you have placed them in a situation where they must either be rebels or slaves, the blame must lie with those who have drove them to this dilemma.

In discussing the question of resistance, the gentlemen on the other side have great advantages. We stand on difficult ground, since, from its nature, it never can be defined or admitted as lawful. The first Officer of the Crown has fairly expressed my ideas on the subject. The principle should never be extinguished in any Government, much less in a free country; the occasion must ever be referred to the general feelings of mankind. Now, if depriving a trading Town of its commerce; if cutting off whole societies from the benefit of the element which God has given them; if proceeding to deprive them of the fishery, their subsistence; if altering their Charter and annihilating all their rights, without hearing them in their defence; if establishing in its stead a new form of Government, which leaves all things in confusion; if erecting a system of tyranny in their neighbourhood, and establishing (not tolerating) all the absurdities of the Roman Catholick religion — trial by Jury dismissed — Habeas Corpus denied — the Representatives of the people determined useless — inferiour duties levied by Act of Parliament; in short, precedents for the violation of every thing we hold most sacred in this country; I say, if acts like these can vindicate resistance, the Americans can quote them, and God and the world must judge between us. For my own part, I consider with Lord Somers, that "treason against the Constitution is the first species of that crime." Acts of Parliament are sacred things, and yet they may be so made, grinding the face of mankind, that human nature will revolt at their severity. Dudley and Empson were hanged for acting according to Act of Parliament.

I have now stated the arguments which should induce you to pause at least before you take this irretrievable step. I shall examine next the consequences.

Suppose we should succeed in subduing the Americans, is it not clear from henceforward that we must govern them by military force? Must not our Army be increased in proportion? While his Majesty retains the power of moving his Troops from one part of his Dominions to another, can there be any safety for the liberties of this country? If the mortification begins at the extremities, will it not soon communicate to the centre? Every man acquainted with the history of Nations must foresee the consequences. If we fail in the attempt, which is the happiest event that can occur, what difficulties may not disgust, irritation, and all the horrours of civil war engender? While the justice and moderation of this country are blotted from the face of the earth, and the accumulated expense, when the springs of riches are cut off, must shake publick credit to the very centre.

The noble Lord has hinted, "if repealing the Tea Tax would do, he would yield that," and he speaks even faintly on the power of taxation. If these are his principles, we are yet more inexcusable. We are going to punish men for maintaining what we are ready to yield, and to engage


the Nation in endless expense, for the sake of a quiddity. Since, whether renounced on the principles of expediency or right, the satisfaction must be equally complete to the Americans.

But the noble Lord alleges, "that yielding the point of taxation would not now do." This is conjecture on his part; but at least it would produce this good effect — we should divide the Americans; we should unite men in this country, and go to the contest with better hopes of success. The proofs the noble Lord gives for his opinion, are several indiscreet acts of different meetings since the late confusion in America. Such detail never affects me. I think no conclusions can be drawn from them. In all civil wars, when the people are let loose to reason on Government, a thousand absurd doctrines are broached. Let us apply this to our own country; let us remember all the ridiculous circumstances which Hudibras has painted better than I can. But should the great cause of Liberty, in which our ancestors were engaged, suffer from such circumstances? To their feelings we may trust; on the reasoning of the multitude there is little dependence. For my own part, I think with Cardinal De Retz, that "any number above one hundred, is at best but a mere mob." [Here the House felt the expressions as too strong.] It never could be my intention to apply the rule to this House, long trained in form and discipline; though sometimes there are doctrines and proceedings, even here, that would surprise a, stranger into this belief.

But the noble Lord says, "Why not petition first and acknowledge the right, and then we will grant freely." Have they not petitioned? Is there a means of supplication and protestation they have not tried? I am convinced they went to the Crown merely as a mode of introducing their petition here. Now you deny hearing their Agents. An honourable gentleman in Administration says, "he wished we had heard their Petitions." Do not then condemn them for not petitioning, till you have declared your resolution to hear them. Can it be expected the Americans will act on the innuendos of a Minister? If you mean fair, why not declare your intentions by some binding act? After the East India Company, who will trust you? You invited them to petition, under hopes and declarations, and afterwards made use of this very petition to deprive them both of their money and their privileges. In the ceded Islands you invited men to settle under the Royal Proclamation, and then levied four and a half per cent on their produce, which procedure has lately been condemned in the Courts of Law. In Canada you have been guilty of a greater violation, as liberty is dearer than property. Here you have despised the Royal Proclamation, and forfeited your engagements to mankind. I repeat it again, what man or society of men can trust you?

The next objection to the Americans is the Congress. This is now termed an illegal meeting. Government here lay by with great expectation, waiting their Resolves. If they had been favourable to their views, or had any untoward circumstances broke their union, we should have had much eulogium on the Congress. Now they have come to Resolves favourable to the liberties of mankind, all is abuse. I do not know by what law, (except that of common sense) mankind can be regulated on these occasions. What kind of meeting can that be called which was held in this place at the Revolution? Aldermen and old Members of Parliament mixing in consultation. The necessity on these occasions gives rise to the case. You wished to know the sense of the people of America; was ever the judgment of a people so fairly taken? First the occasion is promulgated; the people choose Representatives; these choose Deputies; the Deputies in Congress publish their proceedings; each Member returns to his respective Colony, where his conduct is again approved; no place, no pension, no bribe, to influence his election or bias his vote. But even as to the legality, the manner of meeting is not new; Government itself called a Congress in the last war, to apportion the quotas of Men and Troops.

One gentleman has said, "that our situation is quite new, and there is no example in history to direct our steps." I say there is a case directly similar, but we are too conceited to profit from such experience. Philip the Second and his seventeen Provinces, are the counterpart of what we are acting. The debates in his Council on sending the Duke


of Alva into the Netherlands, are applicable in every part. He was advised by two sensible men, to repair thither himself and hear the complaints of his people, before he came to such rash resolves; but the majority said, as in this case, that his glory was compromised. It was not religion only, but taxing without the consent of their states, that brought matters to the last extremity. The Duke of Alva, it is true, was victorious everywhere at first, but his cruelties were but sowing the serpent' s teeth. The gueux, the beggars of the Briel, esteemed at that time infinitely more despicable than the New England men are represented, gave the first shock to the power of Spain. In comparing the probability of events, can any man say Great Britain has such a prospect of victory in the contest, as Spain might then have expected? Yet we know the event, and how that mighty Empire was rent in pieces. The present Resolution hurries us into that situation, from which there is no retreating. It obliges the Americans immediately to act. By declaring them in rebellion, they must have recourse to arms; all negotiation is cut off. I think the word "rebellion" both impolitick and unjustifiable. I beg to know what Paper on your table can vindicate that term? The first Law Officer of the Crown said, "a number of men committing treason was rebellion." I differ from him in the definition. According to my conception of the phrase, they must be in military array, to effect some military purpose. One hundred men coining money, are not in rebellion, though committing treason. Insurrections to pull down enclosures, is not rebellion, though deemed a constructive levying war. In the case of Purchase and Dammaree, for pulling down the Meeting Houses, they were convicted of treason, but no one ever thought of saying the confederates or associates were in rebellion. I think we should be very cautious how we criminate bodies of men on such intelligence. I dare say the noble Lord has been deceived himself; but this I affirm, he has hitherto constantly deceived this House. It appears to me that no intelligence from General Gage can be depended on. I beg the House will attend particularly to what I now say, before they engage their lives and fortunes. It appears General Gage has regularly deceived Administration. No event has turned out as he foretold, or gave reason to hope; the next letter constantly contradicts the expectations raised by the former. He seems never to have known what they were about — no doubt grossly imposed on himself, but the facts are undeniable. When he first arrived, he writes, the mal-contents were abashed, and the friends of Government would soon appear. Next, his expectations from the Assembly were disappointed, and he dissolves them in surprise; then, there would be no Congress; next, though there would be a Congress, they would differ and disagree. In short, led on, and leading others by vain expectations, till the last letter, which announces a total disaffection, and which I Believe to be the true state of the Provinces.

Singling out the Province of Massachusetts Bay, can answer no purpose, but to expose our partiality. It is the cause of all, and the other Colonies can never be so mean as first to encourage, and then desert them, before the general right is settled.

The noble Lord talks next of stopping their Fisheries; but he says, "the Act is only to be temporary." Does the noble Lord think he can turn the channels of trade as easily as he can turn the majorities of this House? To explain the idea, supposing the New England Fisheries stopped, their utensils must waste and destroy. But, will the English Merchant madly increase his stock, and fit out new Ships, if the Act is merely temporary? If it is perpetual, the people in America are ruined. The consequence is, that the French must in the end reap the benefit of all this strange policy.

We are constantly stating the great obligation we have conferred on the Colonies by our former behaviour towards them; if it was ever so good, we can claim no merit from hence in private or publick concerns, to do injury in future. They do not complain of your former behaviour, but they say, you have altered this very system from whence you would now derive their submission.

There are two arguments of the noble Lord which I must remark upon before I sit down; the first is, "the comparative view of taxation between this country and the


Colonies, according to the number of inhabitants." His Lordship says, "we pay about twenty-five Shillings a head, and they pay about six Pence." Who is there so unacquainted with political arithmetick, as not to know that the small sum people pay in taxation is often a proof of their poverty, and the large sum a proof of their prosperity, by demonstrating the riches from the greatness of the consumption? Let this kind of reasoning be applied to Ireland and Scotland, where we know the multitude to be poor in comparison to the inhabitants of London, whom we know to be rich; besides, if the Colonist does not pay in palpable cash from his own hand, does not he pay all the taxes on the four millions of Manufactures he receives, and part of those taxes on the raw materials he sends hither?

The other argument is still more extraordinary. The noble Lord says, "if we fail in our attempt of forcing America, we shall still be in the same situation we are in at present." What! after our Armies have been disgraced, our fellow-subjects destroyed, all the irritation of a civil war, publick confidence, and fair opinion lost! does the noble Lord think he will be in the same situation himself? I really speak it with regret; for personally I have much regard for the noble Lord, and particularly because I perceive from his faint manner of stating his propositions, that they are not the dictates of his own mind, and that they are forced on him.

I cannot see my other memorandums, and therefore I shall conclude by heartily concurring with the noble Lord who moved for the recommitment of this Address.

Sir Robert Smythe spoke of two kinds of connection which the Americans had with Great Britain. The first, as emigrants, they had a political connection; the commercial connection was next in order. If we had stopped to hear the Merchants' Petition, it was just the same as if we had stopped the measures of Government against the rebels, when they were in the heart of the Kingdom, to hear Petitions from Preston and Manchester: he was therefore for proceeding.

Mr˙ Burke applied his argument to that prevalent idea, which alone, he said, can make one honest man the advocate for Ministerial measures, namely, that the Americans attack the sovereignty of this country. He said, the Americans do not attack the sovereignty itself, but a certain exercise and use of that sovereignty. He stated, that no tyranny itself found a justification in the mere plea of their unlimited authority. He stated seven acts of tyranny, which justified resistance. He shewed, that the cause of the late rebellions at home, and those disturbances in America, differed widely; that the trade of the country was little affected by those rebellions; that our trade at present is the primary object; that the object of that rebellion was to set an unnatural tyrant on the throne; that he feared the Americans were now what we were then; and were struggling that an insufferable tyranny should not be established over them. He represented the delusion practised by Ministry, who in all speeches argue that Boston alone was in rebellion, and that it was an affair with Boston only; but he shewed that all America was concerned, from clear and positive facts. He proved, that from one end of the Continent to the other, the like resistance had been found; and he pressed the independent Members to consider that; for he said, if people were once convinced that the mischief was so wide, they would think a little more seriously what might have been the cause of so general discontent, and might wish to apply other remedies than fire or sword. He said, that their definition of rebellion was the oddest he had ever heard; it must be the destruction of Tea; but burning Tea was not in their definition rebellion; for such a place had burnt it; that spoiling it in damp vaults was not in their definition; for it had been so treated in such a place. Now, to answer their definition of rebellion, Tea must be drowned like a puppy-dog; and even that was not quite enough; it must be drowned, and drowned at Boston. This was the definition of rebellion. He exerted himself to deprecate the shameless tyranny we exercised. He abhorred political as much as he did religious persecution. His heart seemed engaged. He mentioned with horrour the idea of tearing a man from his family and friends the other side the Atlantic, and tearing his heart out in Smithfield, styling it the heart of a Traitor, because he would


not believe in virtual representation, and because he would not believe that America was part of the manor of Greenwich. He said, he had two years before called their attention to Virginia, the mother Colony; and shewed that in all their proceedings Virginia had taken the lead; and that therefore it was plain it was not Boston, but America; and if we meant a war with the whole, we ought with our eyes open to prepare for that, and not for a scuffle with Boston. He also put it on its true bottom; you have, said he, your option, America or this Ministry; and he exposed with all his wit, the absurdity of balancing in such a choice.

Mr˙ Solicitor General Wedderburn replied to Mr˙ Burke. He spoke largely of the goodness of Britain to America. Thought it highly necessary to enforce the laws, and complained much of the dispositions of the Americans being encouraged from hence by those who avowed their cause in England.

Colonel Barre allowed that the Americans might be encouraged by their confidence in having friends at home, when they recollected that a few years ago the gentleman' s voice who spoke last was made hoarse in condemning the measures of this country towards America. He was never louder than in his invective against Lord Hillsborough for the letter which he insisted deserved impeachment. The Colonel went into a fine eulogium on Colonels Howe, Burgoyne, and Clinton, destined to serve against America. He lamented that this country should lose their services when the course of things must call for it; for a foreign war was inevitable, if we incurred a civil one. He insisted that no honour could be gained there. He avowed a fear that we should not vanquish, and insisted it was our duty to cherish the Americans. He reproached the spirit of Administration, who in the Falkland' s Island business, and in all foreign transactions, readily sacrificed the honour of the Nation; but in dealings with our own people, when the people' s good ought to be the first object, pride and dignity was their only principle. He shew from Count De Guines' s Memorial, that we had agreed on that occasion to disarm first, but now the Americans must submit first; and when they do, they may look to be pardoned when the Ministers are ashamed to punish. He said he felt himself connected with America more than any man in the House; and added, you are this night to decide, whether you are to make war on your Colonies.

Lord North professed good intentions, but did not seem to promise much success in his measures. He made some distinctions between his administration and the Duke of Grafton' s; said he did not mean to tax America; and added, if they would submit, and leave to us the constitutional right of supremacy, the quarrel would be at an end.

Mr˙ Mackworth spoke against the Address, and observed that as the Minister had declared he did not mean to tax America, he was for stopping short, as he thought it an idle quarrel about words, when we were avowedly to get nothing.

Mr˙ Sawbridge was against the Address. Two parts in it he could not agree to: first, saying the Americans were in rebellion; the second, promising to risk his life and fortune.

The question then being put on the motion of Lord John Cavendish, to recommit the Resolution;

The House divided — Yeas 105, Noes 288.

So it passed in the Negative.

Then the said Resolution being read a second time,

An amendment was proposed to be made thereto, by leaving out from the first "and" to the end of the question, and inserting the words, "to assure his Majesty, that in order to fix the true dignity of his crown, and the authority of Parliament, on a sure foundation, we shall endeavour to recover the hearts of his subjects in America, too many of whom are unhappily alienated from their usual affection to their mother country, by attempting to remove all those causes of jealousy and apprehension which have arisen from an unfortunate management of his Majesty' s affairs, and from Acts of the last Parliament made without sufficient information of the true state of America," instead thereof;

And the question being put that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question,

It was resolved in the Affirmative.


Then the said Resolution was, upon the question put thereupon, agreed to by the House.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up an Address, to be presented to his Majesty upon the said Resolution.

And a Committee was appointed, of Lord North, Mr˙ Grenville, &c˙; and they are to withdraw immediately into the Speaker' s chamber.



* See Howell' s State Trials, vol˙ 15, p˙ 521.