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Lord North' s Motion


Lord North moved to postpone the further consideration of the American Papers to the tenth.

Mr˙ Fox said, the noble Lord was all hurry till he had effected measures for rescuing General Gage out of the very dangerous situation he was in; that he now imagined he had got him into a state of security, he meant to proceed more coolly and deliberately, because he dreaded that the defeat and destruction of that General and his Troops, would be solely attributed to his Lordship' s negligence and rashness. He contrasted his Lordship' s conduct respecting the several Petitions presented by the American Merchants, remarking that Administration would not wait a single day to hear the complaints of so respectable a body; but now that his favourite measure was carried, he seemed to proceed with caution and deliberation. He concluded, by observing that he understood the measure his Lordship had next in contemplation to carry into execution, was the most extraordinary that ever entered into the head of an English Minister, to prevent the New England Provinces from fishing on the banks of Newfoundland.

Lord North replied, that it was impossible for him to escape the censure of the honourable gentleman, let him act as he might. If he had proposed any measure to the consideration of Parliament this day or to-morrow, hurrying matters precipitately would be imputed to him. Now that he had given the House a respite of one day to consider and deliberate, he was charged with procrastination; and to what motive was this delay attributed? Because General Gage was now in safety. For his part, he could not see how any Resolution of either House of Parliament could be a means of immediate security to that gentleman, if he were in danger; he was sure he was not; but was in all imaginable safety and security. As to the Petitions, he denied that the House refused to hear them; neither were they withdrawn, but were still properly under the consideration of the House; nor upon any ground could the information of one day, upon a subject so vast and extensive, be of any material service.

Resolved, That this House will, upon this day seven-night, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House, to consider further of the Petition of the Merchants, Traders, and others, of the City of London, concerned in the commerce of North America, and of the several other Petitions referred to the consideration of the said Committee.

Resolved, That this House will, upon Friday morning next, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House, 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.