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Motion by the Earl of Dartmouth


THURSDAY, March 16, 1775.

The Order of the Day being read, for the further consideration of the Bill;

The Earl of Dartmouth observed, that as the witnesses deemed necessary on the occasion, had been thoroughly examined, their Lordships now possessed the fullest information; he therefore moved "To commit the Bill."

The Marquis of Rockingham opposed the motion. His Lordship asserted that the Bill was oppressive and tyrannical throughout; that the principle which pervaded it, and the means of putting it in execution, had one merit — that of consistency; and that, from the same motive, he should heartily dissent from every syllable of its contents. He meant not to trouble their Lordships in any future stage of the Bill, or perhaps at all on the same subject, during the continuance of the session, for which reason he hoped for their indulgence on the present occasion. He desired to repeat, that the present Bill, and every other framed on the same principle and directed to the same object, to be attained only by the most flagrant acts of cruelty and oppression, must forever continue to meet with his strongest disapprobation; that as he had uniformly dissented from every American measure lately adopted, he now felt the double impulse of principle and of humanity both strongly urging him to express the utmost abhorrence of the Bill before the House. The evidence in support of the Petitions had clearly demonstrated the several evils that would result from the Bill, should it pass into a law. Had the counter evidences invalidated these facts? So far from it, that the whole of their testimony tended to prove a matter foreign to the point; for, when it was urged on the one hand, "that the Mercantile interest of this country would sustain a material injury, and that some thousands of innocent people would be reduced to famine, should the Bill pass into a law," evidences had been contrasted, not to disprove these allegations, but merely to evince "that the British Newfoundland Fishery was an excellent nursery for Seamen!" Was this an answer to the objections urged against the Bill? Did it obviate all, or any of the obnoxious clauses? Rather, by not so much as touching the facts alleged by the evidences in support of the Petition, did it not shew that those facts were incontrovertible; and that all the miseries as set forth by the Petitioners to be expected from the Bill, were founded on just apprehensions? That the noble Lord who presided at the head of the Admiralty, should eagerly catch at any project which carried but the least appearance of increasing the maritime power of this country, was perfectly natural; it


fell in with the duties of his department. But the question before the House was not whether the British Newfoundland, Fishery afforded an excellent nursery for Seamen? but whether an innocent people should be reduced to every extreme of poignant misery? Whether they should be cut off by any inhuman act, from the very means of subsistence? Whether the trade of Great Britain should ultimately sustain a shock, and the whole body of the North American Merchants be. reduced to suffer hardships, from which their importance to the state entitles them to be wholly exempt? These were the questions before the House for discussion; because, on the determination of these points, depended the final acceptance or total rejection of the Bill. If the trade of England should be at stake, it could not be admitted as a plea of justification for the loss of that trade, to say, "that an additional number of Seamen were raised;" nor, if a people were to experience the horrours of famine, would it be the smallest alleviation of their sufferings to allege, "that the measures, although harsh, yet occasioned the fitting out a greater number of Shallops, and thus afforded employment for a greater number of Sailors." Yet this was tantamount to the whole of the evidence delivered in favour of the Bill; and that this did not operate as exculpatory of the evils flowing from this iniquitous source, was extremely certain; it left no favourable impression on the mind; humanity and sound policy still refused their concurrence with the measures; justice revolted at it, as in every respect repugnant to her righteous decrees; and thus, unsupported by every human virtue, the Bill should be rejected through every principle of human wisdom.

His Lordship then entered into a comparative view of the trade of America at different periods, and that of New England in particular. He quoted from the Papers lying on the table, that the Exports in 1704, amounted to no more than £70,000 per annum; in half a century, in 1754, it was £80,000; about the time of the repeal of the Stamp Act, in 1766, it was nearly £400,000; and within the last ten years it had so prodigiously increased, as to amount to 7 or £800,000. This increase had extended itself, he was well assured, in pretty much the same proportion to all the other Colonies; and it appeared by a gentleman who gave evidence at the bar, (Mr˙ Watson) that the amount of total Exports in the last mentioned period, was above £2,600,000. His Lordship said he could not help remarking the agreement there was between that gentleman' s account and the one on the table, which made the Exports to all America, in 1764, about £2,700,000.

The vast increase and consequent importance of the North American trade being thus clearly demonstrated, the illustrious Marquis censured the impolicy of measures which struck at the existence of a branch of commerce of such extreme magnitude; but the House, in the discussion of American affairs, has hitherto proceeded in the gross, without ever considering the detail of things; yet this default was to be ascribed to the Ministry, who seemed studiously to withhold the necessary information; and in matters fraught even with national ruin, such intelligence was kept back as might throw light on affairs proper for investigation. Thus, with respect to American Papers, they were laid before the House in a most mangled state, such only being submitted to the inspection of the noble Lords as answered a temporary purpose, or served to corroborate the assertions of those in office. As an exemplification of this truth a letter from Lord Dunmore, giving an account of the then state of things in Virginia, dated in December, had been laid before the House, because that letter treats the Americans as an "infatuated people," and encourages Administration to hope for a speedy accomplishment of their purposes; yet not the least notice is taken in that letter of the following Association, into which the Officers of Lord Dunmore' s Army had entered, early in the preceding November:

"At a Meeting of the Officers under the command of his Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl of Dunmore, convened at Fort Gower, November 5, 1774, for the purpose of considering the Grievances of British America,

"Resolved, That we will bear the most faithful allegiance to his Majesty King George the Third, whilst his Majesty delights to reign over a brave and free people; that we will, at the expense of life, and every thing dear and valuable, exert ourselves in support of the honour of his Crown and the dignity of the British Empire. But, as the love of liberty, and attachment to the real interests and just rights of


America, outweigh every other consideration, we resolve that we will exert every power within us for the defence of American Liberty, and for the support of her just rights and privileges, not in any precipitate, riotous, or tumultuous manner, but when regularly called forth by the unanimous voice of our countrymen.

"Signed by order, and in behalf of the whole Corps.


Could Lord Dunmore be supposed ignorant of this Association? It was impossible that his Lordship could be ignorant of so important a fact, a fact of such notoriety, a fact so truly alarming. But were that even so, a paper which he held in his hand, made it clear that his Lordship could be at least no stranger to its being published at Williamsburg, in Virginia, the seat of his Government, two days preceding the date of his celebrated despatch. Perhaps it might have been a spurious account, and as such his Lordship could not have taken notice of it; but if that were the case, he should be obliged to some noble Lord in Administration, to rise and tell him so; otherwise he must continue to think that the proceeding of the noble Governour was not to be accounted for, consistent with his duty, or at least with the duty of those, who, having better information, thought proper to hold it back. To treat the associations of the people with superciliousness, and affect to consider them of little moment, at the same instant that a military league was entered into by the Officers of Lord Dunmore' s own Army, whereby they pledge themselves to defend American Liberty with the sword, what was this but to talk at random without adverting to the true state of things? But Administration were accustomed to deal in generals themselves, and hence they might encourage general assertions unsupported by facts in others; thus, general hints had been thrown out respecting the New-York defection; yet, when the fact was examined into, to what did it amount? Why, the very persons on whom Ministry placed the firmest reliance, though they may disclaim the authority of the Congress, yet have they virtually denied the Legislative authority of Great Britain, and voted, in consequence, a Petition to the King, a Memorial to the House of Lords, and a Remonstrance to the Commons! Did not these things plainly indicate that even the friends of Government in America are averse to the measures of Administration? And, if those on whom the noble personages in office, rely the most, cannot yet be brought to approve their deeds, from avowed enemies nothing but an opposition, constantly and extremely rigorous, was to be expected.

The illustrious Marquis next avowed it by no means his intention to combat this or that particular clause of the Bill, he directed his enmity to the whole; he disliked the starving principle on which the Bill was framed; which, he said, exactly resembled the mode adopted by Marshal Rosen, King James the Second' s French General in Ireland, in order to reduce the rebellious citizens and other defenders of Londonderry. They, brave men, as the Americans are now, were styled Traitors and Rebels; and they, as well as our rebellious subjects in America, were to be starved into compliance; that is, the means employed were to be justified by the goodness of the cause. The Marquis wished his noble auditors to bear in mind the situation of the New Englanders, to be deprived of sustenance, if the Fishery Bill took place; as thus alone could the House determine as to the similarity of measures. He then read an order from Rosen, for obliging the garrison


of Derry to submit, which was, to collect the wives, children, and aged parents of the garrison, to drive them under the walls of the Town, there to perish, in the presence of their parents, husbands, and other relations; and if they offered to return, to fire on and massacre them. But as weak, infatuated, and bigoted, as that Prince was, his heart revolted at such a horrid expedient of subduing his enemies; for as soon as it reached his knowledge, he immediately countermanded the barbarous order, and left the innocent and unoffending to their liberty. The principle, he contended, was the same; the Irish Rebels might have avoided the barbarous purpose, by submitting; so, we should be told, in the course of this day' s debate, may the Rebels of America.

The noble Marquis concluded with a general disapprobation of all the measures pursued relative to America, since the repeal of the Stamp Act; and predicted that an useful and constitutional agreement in sentiments, and a cordial reciprocity of interests, would never take place between them and the mother country, till the same principles were once more recurred to.

The Earl of Carlisle was surprised that the noble Marquis could possibly conceive the Bill was either intended, or could be supposed to operate in the manner he affected to think it would; no such thing being meant, no such thing could take place. The present was not a question about taxation; it was not involved in difficulty, but simply, whether we were justified in employing the most lenient methods of bringing America back to obedience and a proper sense of her duty. The Bill was not formed on the narrow views of loading her with taxes, or for the sake of a paltry revenue. He believed the Ministry had no design of forcing her into any such concession; if they had, he was certain that neither he, nor any of the other Lords who intended to vote for the measure, had any such desire.

The Duke of Manchester censured the Bill generally, as indiscriminately cruel; for it involved the guilty and the innocent in one common punishment. A clause, however, there was, which precluded every hope that the Fishery, of which the New Englanders were thus to be deprived, would ever be restored to them; for, the resurrender of the Fishery into the hands of the Americans, depended on the restoration of the trade and commerce with Great Britain, and on the re-establishment of peace throughout the Massachusetts. The trade with Great Britain is to be carried on without the smallest interruption, for one calendar month. This fact is to be certified to the Governours and Council of the Provinces of New-Hampshire and the Massachusetts, by the Custom House Officers of the respective Provinces; considering, therefore, that the minds of such men are generally actuated by the meanest passions, could it be presumed that they would be in haste to certify what, if true, would contribute to the welfare of those against whom, for some petty injuries received, they may have entertained the most violent prejudices; and who, in their several stations besides, are to share among them the forfeitures to be received under this Act.

With respect to the famine threatened by the Bill, the noble Duke could not perceive the evil in any degree remedied, because some scores of Sheep were scattered on the Island of Nantucket. Were those the property of the Fishermen, whose occupations were to be obstructed by the Bill? If they did not belong to Fishermen, saying


they were on the Island, was saying nothing to the purpose. Could the noble Lord who urged this fact, mean that if the Fishermen stood in need of food, they might seize what Sheep they found on the Island, and kill them for their sustenance? This could never be meant; for this would be to authorize injustice, and countenance plunder. What availed it then to allege that Sheep were on the Island? The Fish caught by the industry of the inhabitants, had hitherto afforded them subsistence; to this they had an unquestionable right; but of this they were to be deprived by the Bill, and it was miserable consolation to tell them there were Sheep on the Island, to which they had no right. Equally absurd was the allegation, "that the Americans only would feel the effects of the Bill." The noble Duke had every reason to believe the property of many English Merchants was embarked in the Vessels which carried on the New England Fishery; why was that property to be injured? Why were English adventurers to be punished for crimes, in the commission of which they participated not? Was this justice, or was it tyranny? Was it not like the "tender mercies of the wicked," cruelty in the extreme? On the whole, to whatever part of the Bill the noble Duke turned his eyes, he could descry nothing but what bore the complexion of despotism; and, whether owing to the love of liberty, with which his mind had been early tinctured to a peculiar turn of thought, or to whatever other cause, yet be could not help presaging future evils from measures which carried so arbitrary, so tyrannical an appearance. Admitting the Americans enslaved, yoked, and in every thing obedient to our wishes, extreme dangers were to be apprehended; the Army employed to subjugate the Colonists, might prove instrumental in the destruction of our liberties; it was possible an arbitrary Minister might select that Army for the very purpose; and in the noble Duke' s opinion, it was not improbable, but that there were some distinguished personages connected with Administration, who, far from rejecting the idea, would adopt the plan with alacrity.

The Earl of Denbigh rose to correct a mistake which the noble Duke fell into, relative to the inhabitants of Nantucket, by informing him, that the Bill was not correctly printed from the copy; for that in the engrossed Bill every thing which had the least appearance of severity was provided against. As to the certificate required from the Custom House Officers, he said, that proceeded from a misapprehension of the noble Duke, for the application was to be made to the Governour of the Massachusetts Bay, not to the Custom House Officers. His Lordship then disclaimed the imputation thrown out by the noble Duke on Administration, so far as it might be supposed to affect himself, and was certain, that no one member of it ever harboured such a thought.

The Duke of Manchester answered, that the clause respecting Nantucket, however construed, could extend no further than to the Whale Fishery; for it still left all, but those employed in that Fishery, to starve without employment or bread. He still maintained what he asserted, respecting the mode of application to the Custom House Officers, so far as it related to the Colonies of Connecticut and Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantation. His Grace then read the clause out of the Bill, "If it shall be proved to the said Governour and Commander-in-Chief, and Council of Massachusetts Bay, by the testimony of the Officers of his Majesty' s Customs," &c. The noble Duke then exculpated his Lordship from the most distant suspicion that he would concur in any design to enslave his country, were he first Minister.

The Earl of Denbigh thanked his Grace for the good opinion he entertained of him; but if his insinuations were directed at a noble Lord who presided at the head of the finances, he begged leave to assure him he was mistaken; for he had known that noble Lord (North) from his early youth; they had been bred up together; he was perfectly acquainted with his disposition and sentiments; and by a knowledge thus founded and acquired, he could venture to affirm, with the fullest confidence, that there was not a noble Lord in that House, however zealous, would be further from co-operating in any design for overturning the liberties of his country, than he would. He therefore wished that the noble Duke would explain himself; for however flattering his Grace' s sentiments might be respecting himself,


it took off entirely from the pleasure it would otherwise cause, while it was founded in an insinuation against another, and given at his expense.

The Duke of Manchester assured his Lordship, that he had no intention of directly alluding to the noble Lord mentioned.

Viscount Dudley observed, that the whole state of the evidence given at their Lordships' bar, had a direct contrary effect upon him from that proposed by those who combated the Bill; for when the interests of this country, the manning of our Navy, the increase of our Seamen, and the employment of our own people, came in competition with the pretended hardships and severities of the Bill, he not only thought that it should receive the approbation of the House on the ground it was taken up on, but that it ought to be made perpetual, in order to secure forever to this country so important a branch of commerce. The Colonies were at present spared, by the lenity and mildness of Administration, who might carry fire and sword throughout the whole Continent of America. He totally differed from the noble Marquis, as to the conclusions he drew from the comparative state of the evidence of Mr˙ Watson, and its supposed agreement with that now on your Lordships' table, relative to the Exports to America in 1764, as he thought them both equally erroneous. The witness said, that the entries at the Custom House are generally more by one third than the Goods really shipped; and that he and the rest of his brethren, put into a box unsigned papers, containing an account of what each of them exported. Will any noble Lord in this House affirm that there could be an accuracy in such a mode, whereby every man was at liberty to set down any quantity he thought proper, without a possibility of detection. If such be the information this House is to be guided by, I am certain that no reliance ought to be had on it; and that it proves only, that both accounts ought equally to be rejected. He said, two of the noble Lords who spoke on the other side, seemed to feel greatly for the distresses of the Americans; but said not a syllable of the present miseries of our own Manufacturers, who were daily dismissed for want of employment; and whose sufferings would, he feared, if not prevented by this Bill, or some other of the same nature, become intolerable. For his part, he lived in the neighbourhood of one of the greatest manufacturing Towns in the Kingdom, (Birmingham,) and there the state of trade and the want of work was such, that should it continue much longer, the most dreadful consequences were justly to be dreaded.

Lord Camden rose and said: My Lords, I have so often troubled your Lordships on the subject of America, that on every new occasion of speaking to it, I rise with great unwillingness and reluctance to encroach on your Lordships' attention; and indeed, I feel myself not a little wearied with the fruitless efforts I have uniformly made since this business has been in agitation. My opinion, on the rights of England and the rights of America, is well known. I first formed it on the clearest conviction, and it continues the same to this day. This opinion I have uniformly maintained; but the great and certain majorities in both Houses of Parliament, and the great numbers, for I admit there are such, perhaps the majority without doors, differing from those opinions, and overbearing with a high and powerful hand our feeble efforts, have almost wearied me into despair of obtaining any thing in this question, or on this subject, by argument or debate; and I would not now give your Lordships this trouble, but from a consideration of the duty in which I stand, as a member of this House, to interpose my endeavours towards the vindication of justice, and the service of my country. For this purpose, and in this debate, it will not be necessary to go into the several clauses of the Bill with a minute exactness. It will be sufficient for your Lordships to consider the general nature and character of the Bill, to advert to its operation and tendency, and to estimate its fitness and its wisdom, by the qualities that shall be discovered in its nature and character, and by the consequences that are to result from it.

This Bill, my Lords, is held out to us in various lights, and under various characters. It is sometimes described to us as a bill of trade and commercial regulation, to regulate and restrain North American Commerce, and in so doing to strengthen and increase the commercial interest of this country. At other times we are told it is a bill of


political operation; that it is to increase our maritime power, by augmenting the British Fishery at Newfoundland; and it is most industriously inculcated by official authority, that the Fishery of Great Britain and Ireland there, is the great, and perhaps the only source of our marine. We are told by some, that this is a bill of firmness and of vigour, to fill up the measure of justice, and to inflict condign punishment on the obstinate and rebellious Colonists; but other of your Lordships informs us, that it is a bill of mercy and clemency, kind and indulgent to the Americans, calculated to soothe their minds, and to favour and assist their interest. But my Lords, the true character of the Bill is violent and hostile. My Lords, it is a bill of war; it draws the sword, and in its necessary consequences plunges the Empire into civil and unnatural war. This, my Lords, is the true description of the Bill; and the various contradictory opinions on it, which I have already stated, will be found by your Lordships, when you consider this subject with due attention, not only contradicted by themselves, but by the truth and reason of things. The evidence yesterday produced at your bar was anxiously examined, to prove the beneficial effects of the Bill to this country, both in its commercial and political character; but when your Lordships recollect the persons who appeared at your bar, to decide points of such importance and such magnitude, you will reject, with due contempt, their petty and interested testimony. A Mr˙ Lyster, of Poole, and a Captain Davis, were to instruct your Lordships in the political system of Great Britain and America. Mr˙ Lyster, of Poole, was to convince your Lordships, that the profits of the commerce of America did not enrich this country; and Mr˙ Lyster, of Poole, and his brother-politician, were to satisfy the Legislature of this country that the utter destruction of American trade would strengthen the Navy, and invigorate the marine of England: and from their redoubtable testimony we were to believe, that the Fishery at present carried on by New England, might be supplied and continued by a sufficient number of Men and Ships from Great Britain and Ireland! that foreign markets should still be amply furnished; and that five or six hundred thousand Pounds, the value of the North American Fishery, should be continued, if not increased, to this country, by our own efforts, independently of them! Why, my Lords, or how? Because Mr˙ Lyster, of Poole, and his friend Captain Davis, were to gain two or three hundred Pounds a year by the operation of this Bill. Your Lordships see the frivolous and contemptible nature of such evidence. The narrow and interested minds of such men are totally unfit for such mighty discussions. Their little distorted scale of understanding cannot comprise, nor comprehend the policy of Nations; but a noble Lord, at the head of a Naval Department, warmly supports this Bill, because, in his opinion also, it is to derive prodigious advantages to our Navy. I do not wonder at the noble Lord' s embracing every idea which seems to have that tendency; but I cannot agree that these advantages to our Navy, so contended and hoped for, even if they were proved, are to be decisive arguments to your Lordships to commit this Bill. Though our Navy were to receive the addition of five hundred Seamen, or five thousand, I cannot think with the noble Lord, that we are therefore merely to give effect to a measure which involves the ruinous consequences that I shall have the honour of submitting to your Lordships.

But, my Lords, it is much relied on, that our general trade will not suffer, nor diminish, by the particular restrictions imposed on our American Fishery by this Bill. My Lords, this is a question of the most doubtful and dangerous nature, and requires the most circumspect attention from your Lordships. The benefits of trade we know are infinite, and the danger of tampering with it, is in proportion. When we consider its circuity, the various lines it forms, and the many channels through which its several streams flow to a common centre, we shall find it is easy to disturb, but most difficult to restore, the complicated arrangement. The sources are so subtile, and the complication so intricate, that these golden streams, if once disturbed, may be irrecoverably lost, and may imperceptibly glide into channels the most hostile and pernicious. But, it has been observed and argued, that in this great question, trade is a secondary consideration; that it is subordinate


to the great discussions of polity involved in this argument. We are then to understand that this is the state of the question: that to maintain a Legislative power over America, is the primary, the sole, and the necessary object; for the attainment of which, and for the reduction of the Colonies to an unlimited obedience, all considerations of the benefits of trade, be they what they may, and of the ruinous mischiefs of its loss, be they however certain and fatal, are to be suspended; that we are to contend through every hazard, and in neglect of every other, for this grand object, the establishment of supreme Dominion, voluntas pro imperio. I wish, my Lords, to place the question on its proper basis; and then to submit to your Lordships whether, on the real state of it, your wisdom and equity will, for such an object and in exclusion of all other, entail on your country the calamities that I maintain must result from this Bill, the calamities of civil war. Before wise and good men draw the sword, they consider whether the war in which they are going to engage be just, practicable and necessary. Unless the war, which this measure must produce, be found to have these qualities, it cannot be imagined that your Lordships will give your sanction to it. The consideration of the justice of the measure contended for, will bring your Lordships to the original cause of contention, Taxation. As to the right of taxing America, my ideas on that subject must ever continue the same; though I am not now to give them to your Lordships. I am tongue-tied on that question. It is now enacted to be law, and is not on this occasion, to be brought into debate. But the exercise of that right, we may always fully examine into. Now, my Lords, I must humbly submit, that we have attempted the exercise of this right of taxation, as some of your Lordships are pleased to call it, most unwarrantably, and pursued it most unwisely, as the events have proved. An East India Ship, freighted with Tea, goes to Boston: a mob, and a very inconsiderable mob, destroy it: no requisition is made for satisfaction, which would have been given: no step is taken towards accommodation, which would have been effected; no inquiry is instituted into the transaction; but you proceed, without hearing the parties, without distinguishing the innocent from the guilty, or examining whether any were guilty at all, you proceed to block up their Harbour, destroy their Trade, and reduce the whole country to the deepest distress. And for what, my Lords? For a transaction which every American disclaimed, and none have attempted to justify. Pursuing the same spirit, you arbitrarily introduce a total change into their Constitution, You violate their charter-rights of choosing their own Council, their own Assembly, and their Magistrates; and invest the Governour with these privileges. You rivet the dependence of their Judges, by making them removable at pleasure. You pack their Juries, by a bene placito Sheriff. And thus, my Lords, are annihilated all the securities of their freedom and happiness. In criminal matters, the tyrannical statute of Henry the Eighth is revived, and the mast oppressive partiality is established. If an American kills an Englishman, he is dragged hither, far from his neighbours, his friends, his witnesses; from all possibility of vindicating his innocence. If an Englishman kills an American, he is brought home to his own country, to be tried with all advantages, and without testimony or circumstances to prove his guilt. These are part of the oppressions you have accumulated on America; and to repel them, the Americans have united their counsels and their valour; and my Lords, I must maintain that they are justified in their union. But, my Lords, some ideas are most industriously circulated, extolling the irresistible omnipotence of Parliament; that the decrees of the Legislature must be obeyed, be they what they may; without doubt, and without appeal. A reverend Dean [Dr. Tucker, Dean of Gloucester] preaches these unlimited doctrines, in his book on the subject of America; and a pamphlet published a few days ago, called "Taxation no Tyranny," I know not the author, [Dr˙ Johnson,] speaks the same language; the press indeed abounds with politicks and pamphlets, studiously endeavouring to enforce the same principles. But, my Lords, I have learned other principles and other doctrines, and I learned them from a writer in support of the Court and the politicks of William the Third. Mr˙ Locke wrote his book on Government in defence of King William' s title to the Crown; and he


proves, in that inestimable treatise, that the people are justified in resistance to tyranny; whether it be tyranny assumed by a Monarch, or power arbitrarily unjust, attempted by a Legislature. My Lords, the bodies which compose the Legislature, are invested with that power for the good of the whole. We are trustees, and can exercise our powers, only in execution of the great trust reposed in us. What, my Lords, if both Houses of Parliament, with the concurrence of the King, if you will, should propose to surrender the dearest rights and privileges of the people: and the case lately happened in Denmark, almost before our eyes, and formerly in our own history, in the time of Henry the Eighth, when Parliament voted that his proclamation should be equivalent to law; in such cases, are not the people justified in resisting? These, my Lords, are the constitutional doctrines of resistance to arbitrary power in all shapes whatever. And let me observe that these are the doctrines which establish the present family on the Throne. Their title stands on this solid rock, the principles of Mr˙ Locke. I trust then, my Lords, those slavish tenets will never gain ground in this country, and that it will never be understood, that the Constitution gives you more power than that of doing right. And when I am asked whether the Legislature cannot retract Charters, and annul rights, if it thinks proper, and merely at its own will, I say, my Lords, it cannot; I say, it cannot. They may be lost, they may be forfeited; but they are not to be arbitrarily sported with, and wantonly violated. And when such is the conduct held against America, when the severest and most comprehensive punishments are inflicted, without examining the offence; when their constitutional liberties are destroyed; when their Charters and their rights are sacrificed to the vindictive spirit of the moment; when you thus tear up all their privileges by the roots; is there a country under heaven, breathing the last gasp of freedom, that will not resist such oppressions, and vindicate, on the oppressors' heads, such violations of justice?

Now, my Lords, whether the proposed measure of severity be practicable or not, is also most seriously deserving of your Lordships' attention. To conquer a great Continent of eighteen hundred miles, containing three millions of people, all indissolubly united on the great Whig bottom of liberty and justice, seems an undertaking not to be rashly engaged in. It is said by a noble Lord (Dudley) that only our mildness and lenity save them from utter desolation, and prevent our carrying fire and sword through their country. But I believe it is certain that we would have done so, if we could; and that nothing but inability has prevented our proceeding to the most hostile extremes of violence and devastation; if we may judge from what has been done in that line, in which alone any thing can hope to be effected. But, my Lords, where are you to get men and money adequate to the service and expense that the reduction of such a Continent must require? What are the ten thousand men you have just voted out to Boston? merely to save General Gage from the disgrace and destruction of being sacked in his intrenchments. It is obvious, my Lords, that you cannot furnish Armies, or treasure, competent to the mighty purpose of subduing America. It is obvious that your only effort can be by your Naval power; and, as far as those efforts can have effect, you may certainly expect success: at least when we consider America alone: but whether France and Spain will be tame, inactive, spectators of your efforts and distractions, is well worthy the considerations of your Lordships. But admitting full success to your Naval efforts, what can they effect; the blocking up their Ports, and the suppression of their trade. But will this procure the conquest of America? No, my Lords; they are prepared to meet these severities, and to surmount them. They are applying themselves most diligently to agriculture, that great source of strength and independence. Foreseeing the important crisis, they have provided against its wants; and have imported into their country stores of industry, implements of husbandry and manufacture. They have united in the rejection of luxury and superfluous enjoyment. They have suppressed their publick diversions, formerly common enough in their great and wealthy towns; and every man attaches himself wholly to the great business of his country. Such is the state of America. She has curtailed her expenses; she has reduced her table; she


has clothed herself in mean and coarse stuffs; she has adopted the wise system of frugal industry. Her wants can be only ideal, imaginary, nothing.

But, my Lords, what will be the state of this civilized, enlightened, dissipated and debauched country? How shall the want of American Commerce be supplied, of that commerce which contributes the means of your luxury, of your enjoyments, of the imaginary happiness of this country? We may feel the loss of American connection, a loss which nothing can compensate; but America will have little reason to regret her disconnection from England; and, my Lords, it is evident that England must one day lose the dominion of America. It is impossible that this petty Island can continue in dependence that mighty Continent, increasing daily in numbers and in strength. To protract the time of separation to a distant day is all that can be hoped; and this hope might be obtained by wise and temperate counsels; not by precipitation and violence, uniting America against you: for so it is, my Lords; there is not a man in America, who can endure the idea of being taxed, perhaps to the amount of his whole property, at pleasure, by a Legislature three thousand miles distant; or who can separate the idea of taxation from representation. The groundless and interested rumours that are spread, of discord among the Americans, can only impose on the grossest ignorance. They are considered as the cry of the Court, the talk of the day, and meet with the contempt they deserve. But, my Lords, when Administration attempt to join in the imposture, I cannot but think it most humiliating and disgraceful: and such is the attempt made in the exception in favour of New-York. The world is to be deceived into an opinion that New-York is detached from the general cause, and this dirty, humiliating contrivance, is to create distrust and disunion in America: and this, when the directly contrary state of the Province is well known. Did not they send Delegates to the Congress: to that Congress, which I shall, ever maintain to have been strictly justifiable? And, my Lords, the Committee is now in the Town, most heartily and unanimously co-operating and enforcing the general cause. Such mean insidious attempts to undermine the American union, only prove its solidity and firmness, which are otherwise not to be attacked or shaken, and against which, all your efforts of war must be vain and impracticable.

But, my Lords, an objection may be made to this account of the powerful and invincible state of America. It will be said, that if England cannot enforce obedience, and curb any refractory disposition that may arise in the Colonies, America might at any time revolt, and shake off the authority of the mother country. But the answer is this; that America, derives the invincible strength I have described, from her union, which can only be produced by the oppressions from this country; for, my Lords, the state of America is such, that union can never originate in herself. And this was wisely consulted in the original settlement of that Continent, by the different Constitutions given to the different Provinces, forming them of such diverse textures and dispositions, as not easily to unite or assimilate. Some received Royal Charter Governments; some Provincial; and some Proprietary. Some were shaped in the mould of Monarchy; others received the form of pure Democracy; and even these last were granted in a reign in which the most arbitrary counsels disgraced the Throne. But the Ministers of this Prince (Charles the Second) wisely detached them from each other, knowing that different forms of Government would give them different directions. And so it was. They could never, for themselves merely coincide or co-operate. You might as easily have reconciled fire and water, as have brought Virginia to shake hands with Pennsylvania, or associated New-York to the Massachusetts Bay. And if any one Colony could have ever been infatuated into an attempt entirely to throw off the dependence on this country, she would have had few or none to join her. The contest would then be speedily decided, and very different would be the efforts of divided America against united England, from the force which now resists you, the collected force of united America against England, weakened and divided. For such, my Lords, is the state to which the present measures have brought both countries. At home discontent and division prevail; and in America it was reserved for the wisdom of


these times to produce such an union as renders her invincible. The Americans are now united and cemented by the strongest ties. They are allied in the common defence of every thing dear to them. They are struggling pro aris et focis, in support of their liberties and properties, and the most sacred rights of mankind. Thus associated by the strongest mutual engagements, and aided by their mutual strength, grounded on the justice of their cause, I must assert and repeat, my Lords, that your efforts against them must be successless, and your war impracticable.

And now, my Lords, it remains to be considered, whether the war which this Bill must produce, be necessary; for without necessity, it will not be contended that any war should be undertaken; much less a civil war, which in the first instance proscribes, and drives to famine, such multitudes of your fellow-subjects: whole Towns and Provinces: for it is well known, that the Fishery is not only the Trade, but in a great measure, the food of New England. Now, it cannot appear that this ruinous measure, fraught with all fatal consequences, both to them and ourselves, is necessary; unless it appears that every prudent and proper endeavour has been made to accommodate, to conciliate, to pacify. If such endeavours have been used, and used in vain, then, my Lords, there might be some colour for the present violence. But it is notorious, that not the temper of moderation and humanity, but the spirit of violence and proscription, has uniformly actuated your counsels. In the first instance, without the forms of justice, for a particular fault, you inflicted general punishment. You proceeded from their Trade, to their Municipal rights, to their Constitutions, their Charters, their liberties; and now, this bill of famine and of war finishes the climax of severity. Such have been the counsels and the measures of Administration. Other counsels have been given, and different measures have been proposed; but they have not been even considered; they were rejected with disdain; though they came from a personage whose character gave them authority, and ought to have procured them respect; a great man, (the Earl of Chatham) the greatest perhaps that this age or this country has produced, to whom this country owes her present prosperity, and, I am sorry to say it, her pride, her pride of conquest, which has infatuated her, even in this impracticable war, with the ideas of victory, and certain success; that great man, from whose opinions, though some of your Lordships may sometimes differ, yet there is not one of your Lordships who does not pay homage to his consummate capacity, his extensive talents, his great services, and his age, when he delivers those opinions from his place. I lament that I do not see him there. That great man did propose to you a plan of conciliation between this country and her Colonies. How was it received? It was treated with the most scornful contempt; rejected without being looked into; spurned, trampled upon! I protest, my Lords, I am afflicted with grief, when I reflect on the proceedings of that day; in such an arduous moment, that such a plan, the labour of such talents and such experience, should be rejected, even from your consideration, unlocked into, with such indecent indignity. Erase it from your books; obliterate the transaction from your records; let not posterity be contradicted by history, that such could have been your conduct towards such a man!

So much, my Lords, for conciliatory plans in this House. In another House of Parliament, when a noble Lord, (North) whose character I by no means intend to reflect on, or to mention with disrespect, when he proposed what was conceived in some degree to tend towards conciliation, there was immediately a general alarm; it created almost a. civil war amongst his troops, and the confusion was universal, till some of the veteran and principal officers brought back their general, and fixed and ascertained him on the old ground of severity. Nothing conciliatory, therefore, has been proposed from Administration, or received from any other quarter; but an uniform system of maxims, doctrines, and measures of violence, has been maintained. And surely, before you resolved on measures of such magnitude, where the event is at least hazardous, and certainly of the extremest importance, it was your duty to have tried all possible means of lenity, accommodation, and of prevention, and not have rushed into such fatal calamities,


till impelled by the last necessity. As it appears to me, therefore, my Lords, that the war in which this Bill must involve this country, is neither just, practicable, nor necessary, I must give my vote against committing the Bill.

The Earl of Sandwich. The noble Lord mentions the impracticability of conquering America; I cannot think the noble Lord can be serious on this matter. Suppose the Colonies do abound in men, what does that signify? They are raw, undisciplined, cowardly men. I wish instead of forty or fifty thousand of these brave fellows, they would produce in the field at least two hundred thousand, the more the better, the easier would be the conquest; if they did not run away, they would starve themselves into compliance with our measures. I will tell your Lordships an anecdote that happened at the siege of Louisbourg : Sir Peter Warren told me, that in order to try the courage of the Americans, he ordered a great number of them to be placed in the front of the Army; the Americans pretended at first to be very much elated at this mark of distinction, and boasted what mighty feats they would do upon the scene of action; however, when the moment came to put


in execution this boasted courage, behold every one of them ran from the front to the rear of the Army, with as much expedition as their feet could carry them, and threatened to go off entirely, if the Commander offered to make them a shield to protect the British soldiers at the expense of their blood; they did not understand such usage. Sir Peter, finding what egregious cowards they were, and knowing of what importance such numbers must be to intimidate the French by their appearance, told these American heroes that his orders had been misunderstood, that he always intended to keep them in the rear of the Army to make the great push; that it was the custom of Generals to preserve the best Troops to the last; that this was always the Roman custom; and as the Americans resembled the Romans in every particular, especially in courage and love of their country, he should make no scruple of following the Roman custom, and made no doubt but the modern Romans would shew acts of bravery equal to any in ancient Rome. By such discourses as these, said Sir Peter Warren, I made a shift to keep them with us, though I took care they should be pushed forward in no dangerous


conflict. Now, I can tell the noble Lord that this is exactly the situation of all the heroes in North America; they are all Romans. And are these the men to fright us from the post of honour? Believe me, my Lords, the very sound of a cannon would carry them off, in Sir Peter' s words, as fast as their feet could carry them. This is too trifling a part of the argument, to detain your Lordships any longer. The noble Earl then went on to abuse the Americans for not paying their debts; he made no doubt that the real motive of their Associations, was to defraud their creditors; that the Congress, on which the noble Lord has passed high encomiums, was a seditious and treasonable meeting of persons assembled to resist the legal and just authority of the supreme Legislative power; and however dignified by his Lordship, or any other noble Lord, he should always continue to describe it by the latter appellation, as its only true and proper name. His Lordship entered into a long examination of the purport of the evidence given at the bar by Messrs˙ Lyster, Davis, Shuldham, and Paliser; and laboured to prove that the present Bill, whatever other objects it might take in, was not, nor ought to be, a bill of intimidation or experiment, but a perpetual law of commercial regulation, operating to extend our trade, to increase our seamen, and strengthen our Naval power.

The Earl of Shelburne, after stating at large the nature of the Newfoundland Fishery, and its great importance to this country, observed, that unless the present Bill was taken up as a permanent commercial regulation, however great an object it might be, it was by no means at present before the House. You are told it is in proof before you, that the people of Nantucket, the unoffending, peaceable inhabitants of that Island, will be deprived of every means of sustenance and support, should this Bill pass into a law. It remains yet uncontradicted, that the people of New England have not Corn nearly sufficient for their own consumption; and this Bill says they shall not be supplied elsewhere. How nugatory and ridiculous it is, then, to talk of commercial regulation, which is supposed to include improvement and protection, when that regulation is immediately directed to starve and oppress one part of your subjects, to whom there is not so much as any crime or offence imputed, in order to give commercial advantages to another. But if the several laws in being, for the improvement of the Newfoundland Fishery, are not sufficient, or that the Admiralty, in whose department it is, satisfy Parliament that those powers have been properly exerted, and are found to be inadequate, let a Bill be brought in for that purpose. I am convinced of the very great importance of the Fishery; and no man in this House will be more zealous to give it his most warm support, than I shall be. His Lordship next adverted to the sedentary Fishery, given up to Canada by the Quebec Bill, and fully explained the great pains taken by the two very able men who preceded him at the Board of Trade, Charles Townshend and a certain noble Lord and himself, to annex the Fishery of Labrador, &c˙, to that of Newfoundland. He gave the most flattering testimony to the attention and great abilities of Sir Hugh Palliser, to whom he entrusted the entire negotiation of that difficult affair with the Count De Guerchy, the French Minister. He entirely coincided in sentiments with the noble Lord (Camden) who called this a Bill of Pains, Penalties, and Coercion, not of Commercial Regulation. He agreed with him likewise, that the popular tide was against him; but he was certain it would not be long before it took a different turn, as the people would find they were deceived, and Parliament would at length discover they were misinformed and misled. He therefore, as a member of that body, put in his early claim of objecting to the current Ministerial language, that Parliament did this, and Parliament did that, for he insisted that Parliament had done nothing; it was the Ministry had done all. Attend only a minute to their conduct, said his Lordship, and you will see that what I have now advanced is strictly true. They have laid before us a mutilated correspondence precisely calculated to answer certain purposes. On one hand they have suppressed whole letters, and of such as they have laid before us, they have only given partial extracts; on the other, they have held back the whole of the official letters on this side of the water, one or two of no consequence only excepted. Will any noble Lord seriously affirm,


that whatever proceedings have been taken on such information, can be deemed the proceedings of Parliament? Or that any set of Ministers will be permitted to screen themselves under the protection of Parliament, when it shall be discovered that the measures recommended and adopted, were framed on facts misstated, or for want of material ones designedly suppressed? His Lordship concluded, with observing the strange diversity of sentiment which prevailed among the several leading members in Administration. He alluded to the plan of conciliation proposed by Lord North, which was instantly reprobated. He then observed, that of several of the noble Lords, no two of them scarcely thought alike; some were for commercial regulation, others for asserting the right, without wishing for a paltry revenue, and a very considerable body for the right and revenue both. This state of things put him in mind of a General whom he served under in Germany, a native of that country, who first desired the Regiments at the right to form to the left, then again to the right, then to the rear, again to the right-about; that the Troops, after being harassed for two days by these absurd, contradictory manoeuvres, at last found themselves in the place they set out from, without making the least way, on which the General desired every Corps to march as they liked, so as to make their way in the most speedy manner to the place of their destination. He hoped, however, that Englishmen would never copy the slavish obedience of Germans, but would learn to act for themselves, and spurn the direction of those who knew neither to lead them to victory, nor protect them from ruin.

The Earl of Suffolk totally disapproved of some of the reasoning employed, and facts alluded to, by Lord Sandwich. He said, that noble Lord' s insinuations and assertions, that the Americans would not fight, were what he could not approve of. He believed, there were as brave men in that country as in any other; and though the fact were otherwise, he could never hear it asserted, with any degree of satisfaction, that there was any part of the King' s subjects deficient in that degree of personal courage for which the whole were so justly renowned. There was another point much laboured by the same noble Lord, to which he could never give his assent; and he was sorry to hear it relied on, and so much adverted to in the course of the debate; that was, that the present Bill was meant to be a measure of permanent commercial regulation, distinct from its main object. This, he said, was by no means the intention of its original framers; it was intended as a bill of coercion, to oblige the people of New England to submit to the legal and just power of the mother country, and that the faith of Parliament would be pledged to them to restore the Fishery as soon as it should appear that they had returned to their former obedience. His Lordship then proceeded to defend the Bill on that idea; and, in answer to what had been said relative to the diversity of opinions which prevailed among the King' s servants, he was certain there was not a second among them as to the material question of the right, and the means of exerting it. As to the conciliatory motion in the other House, he owned that many of the Members of it were much staggered, and very justly so, till it came to be explained; and, for his part, he should be much grieved if there was not as great a majority against it as there appeared for it, if the motion had not admitted of the obvious sense it did when it came to be examined. He repeated how happy he was in being one of the persons who advised the dissolution of Parliament, as the designs and expectations of America were at once frustrated and broken by that measure; and concluded in replying to what the noble Marquis dropped early in the debate, that the repeal of the Stamp Act was the source from which all our present confusions had totally originated.

The Earl of Radnor said, he was at the throne, going out, not intending to vote on either side, when he heard the last noble Earl pledge the faith of Parliament that so valuable a branch of our commerce was intended to be given up to the New Englanders, as a sacrifice for their returning to their duty. It was an improper language to be held in that House, nor was the policy in every respect less exceptionable; for both which reasons he had returned to give his voice against the Bill.

The Earl of Suffolk said, he did not mean, as a Minister, to pledge the faith of Parliament, nor did he promise the


people of New England that the Fishery should be given up; the intentions he wished to impress being only, that the present Bill was not a bill of commercial regulation, but of coercion; which, as soon as the ends proposed were attained, would certainly be repealed, leaving Parliament, nevertheless, to take the matter up on motives of policy.

The Earl of Radnor, not at all satisfied with this explanation, adhered to his former opinion, and declared that he could not, in conscience, give his vote in favour of a Bill, obedience to which was to be purchased on the implied conditions of sacrificing the most important branch of commerce belonging to the British Empire.

The Duke of Grafton said, he had not the least difficulty in giving his vote on the present occasion, as it did not, in his opinion, rest on the question so much agitated on both sides of the House; the question of taxation so improperly introduced into the debate. The present Bill, he insisted, was founded on the principle of retaliation and punishment, for an outrage as daring as it was unprovoked, still further heightened and aggravated by a resistance to all lawful authority, and almost a positive avowal of a total independence on the mother country. On those grounds the propriety of the present Bill could only be fairly argued; and the motives of retaliation in one instance, and a withholding the benefits only due to a dutiful and obedient conduct in the other, were what had determined him to give his vote that the Bill should be committed. His Grace next disclaimed all ideas of taxation and commercial regulation, as being clearly out of the question. He observed, that a noble Lord in Administration (the Earl of Suffolk) had very improperly imputed all the present confusions to the repeal of the Stamp Act. I was the person, said his Grace, who framed those Resolutions, and had the honour to propose them to a Committee of this House, on which the Bill for that repeal was afterwards formed, brought in, and passed. I was then the advocate, and still take a particular pride in being the steady friend of America. The delicacy of my situation then, as well as now, will not permit me satisfactorily to explain the motives which led to that repeal, nor the consequent very disagreeable circumstances which succeeded it, and perhaps now regulate my conduct; but this, however, I am at liberty to declare, that the argument so confidently urged, that America contributes nothing towards the common support, however plausibly maintained, or forcibly expressed, is a fallacious one. I affirm, she does contribute largely to the publick burthens, in the great consumption of our Manufactures; and I should be very sorry to see, that what appears now a speculative composition, liable to be controverted, should ever come to be demonstrably, nay actually, proved. Will any noble Lord, at all conversant with the trade and commerce of this country, contend that we are not enabled to pay the great load of taxes we labour under, by the vast increase of our Exports to that Continent; or that the various articles of Leather, &c˙, and in short all exciseable commodities exported to that country, as well as the innumerable benefits derived to every part of the three Kingdoms, by the circuitous commerce carried on with it, is not, in reality, a very great augmentation to our revenue, and to every substantial purpose, answers the end of an actual tax, unaccompanied by any of the disagreeable consequences that never fail to attend laying burthens on the people, and collecting it? A noble and learned Lord, (Camden) seemed to take it for granted that all thoughts of conciliation are laid aside; and that this Bill is no less than a positive declaration of war on our part. I beg leave to differ from the learned Lord. I rejoice, said the Duke, that, in speaking before so numerous an audience, I can describe the true state of this transaction, and prevent its crossing the Atlantic in improper colours. When the noble Earl (Chatham) proposed his Bill, could such a Bill be expected? Could any man imagine a person of his wisdom and experience, (and I have all respect for his abilities, but would speak even if he were present with the same freedom I now do) of his Parliamentary experience, would propose a Bill which must involve us in fatal disputes with the Commons; a Bill which was to repeal nine Acts of Parliament, and many of them revenue Acts? But let his plan have been what it would, it was not spurned from this House; it is yet in this House; it now lies on your table. I believe that America will


trust to the parental disposition of this country, where she has many strenuous friends, among whom I number myself one of the warmest. I trust, therefore, that she will not blindly rush on her own destruction, and thereby prevent them from serving her, but return to her obedience, as the surest means of obtaining a reparation for any injuries she may have sustained. On the whole, therefore, I sincerely hope that the present Bill will have the desired effect; that our fellow-subjects in America will wisely and dutifully return to their obedience; and, that as in the present year 1775, we are prosecuting just measures to bring about so desirable an end, so in the year 1776, we may be employed in manifesting the most ample proofs of our removing all cause, or almost possibility of the return of the same evils, by ascertaining their rights and the constitutional power of this country, on the most fair, equitable, and permanent foundations. It was my task on a former occasion; and I shall, with pleasure, in the year 1776, as a strenuous friend to the just claims of America, unremittingly labour in the same cause.

The Marquis of Rockingham observed that a noble Lord (Dudley) had objected to the accounts of the American Exports of 1764, now lying on the table, as well as that given by a witness at their Lordships' bar, (Mr˙ Watson) and drew a conclusion from the method of obtaining them, one being made up from unsigned papers, and the other from false entries; that they were both erroneous, and consequently that every deduction drawn from such premises must be equally fallacious and undeserving of the least degree of credit or attention. To this his Lordship answered, that for the purpose he employed those supposed facts, it was totally immaterial whether they were correct or not; the Exports, for instance, might be £2,700,000, or only £2,000,000; the argument either way was equally good. All he meant to prove by stating them was to shew the vast increase of our trade to America, from a comparative state of it at different periods. The errour, his Lordship said, was uniform; it existed at all times, or not at all. Thus the Custom House entries, said the annual Exports in 1704, were of foreign Goods £17,000, and of home £54,000, in all £71,000; in 1754, £180,000; in 1764, in ten years, more than double; and in the last nine years again, nearly in the same proportion, the Exports being between seven and eight hundred thousand Pounds to New England alone. His Lordship concluded with observing, that some noble Lords, who formerly entertained an opinion of the propriety of the Stamp Act, seemed to have since altered their sentiments. He, therefore, called upon them to declare their minds freely, and not to act under any restraint: for he was ready and willing to unload them of such a burthen, and bear the whole of the blame on his own shoulders; trusting, on the other hand, if it proved a wise measure, that he might be entitled to claim the merit thus abandoned.

Lord Camden rose to explain, in reply to what had fallen from the last noble Duke who spoke in the debate. He begged leave to correct a mistake of his Grace' s, relative to the reception Lord Chatham' s conciliatory Bill met with, and to recall to the memory of the House the manner of its total rejection. When the noble Lord who brought it in had explained the purposes of the Bill, and delineated its great outlines, he apologized for the matter it contained, and the awkward dress it appeared in; beseeching, at the same time, the attention, indulgence, and assistance of the House, to amend it in matter and form, so as to suit it to the magnitude and importance of the objects to which it was meant to be directed. What was the immediate consequence? said his Lordship. A noble Lord in Administration, (Lord Dartmouth) remarkable for his candour, consented that the Bill should lie on the table, to be taken up on some future day, in order to consider it maturely, as it contained such an infinity of matter; but on a sudden another noble Lord, high in office, (Lord Sandwich) strenuously opposed it, and moved for a total rejection, refusing it even the cold compliment or ceremonial, of letting it lie on the table for twenty-four hours. His Grace has a kind of answer to this; he says, "though the Bill was not permitted to go to a second reading, it was never totally rejected, it is still before the House, and may be still brought under its cognizance." This I absolutely deny. The Bill, though on your Lordships' table, is now


no more than waste paper; it may be there, or any where else, as to any substantial purpose. Look into the Clerk' s minutes; suppose the Journals made up, and in either event you will find the Bill absolutely, to all intents and purposes, rejected; and as much out of this House, in point of order and Parliamentary proceedings, as if it had never been brought into it. His Grace' s reason for objecting to the Bill, however new, for I am certain nothing like it was suggested in the debate, is equally curious. The noble Duke says, it was highly improper and unparliamentary to bring a Bill into this House, which, by repealing several Revenue Acts, was a direct infringement of the right of the Commons, who claim it as an inalienable privilege to originate all Bills for raising and repealing taxes. Is the noble Duke to be informed, that when the Bill got into the Committee was the time to state that objection, where he or any noble Lord would be at liberty to put a question separately upon every word, sentence, and clause, by which means not only three or four Revenue Acts might be left out, but three or four hundred, if the Bill contained so many? On the whole, my Lords, whatever his Grace' s sentiments may be, it was to the principle, not the clauses of the Bill, the real objection lay, therefore those who were against the principle acted very properly not to trouble themselves with the clauses, but to reject the whole at once.

The Earl of Abingdon said, that reason, justice, conscience, principle, and instinct, all prompted him to pronounce the Bill a most diabolick measure. How the right reverend Bench reconciled it to their consciences, he was unable to conceive: for his part he put his trust in the Almighty; and though he knew all he could say would avail nothing against a Ministerial majority, yet he cautioned the Lords against injustice, as in the judicial visitation of Providence it generally fell heavy on the heads of those who planned iniquity.

The question Was then put; — for committing the Bill, 104; against it, 29.

Ordered, That the said Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House;

Ordered, That the House be put into a Committee upon the said Bill tomorrow.