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Mr. Hartley' s motion for an Address to the King on the affairs of the Colonies



Thursday, May 23, 1776.

Mr˙ Hartley said that there was not any occasion for many words to explain the motives for recommending such an Address as he proposed to the House, as the terms in which it was drawn up were, when read, sufficiently explanatory of the intent; that he wished to leave upon record a testimony for himself and for his friends, of their anxiety and apprehensions for the important events of this year, and of their readiness to sacrifice the personal considerations of rural amusements and relaxations, to the momentous concerns of this country and America. He thought that the unlimited confidence, which the House had put in Ministers, who were known to be adverse to America, without any materials of information laid before them, together with the neglectful manner of turning our back upon their cause, would alienate the Americans from the hopes of reconciliation. He therefore wished to show them that they still had some friends left, who thought no anxiety or labour too much to take the least chance of improving any favourable event that might happen, towards the restoration of peace, and to prevent the effusion of blood.

He moved —

"That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, setting forth, that his faithful Commons, in compliance with the sentiments and recommendations of his Majesty' s most gracious Speech at the opening of the present session, have been induced to support his Majesty with very great and expensive armaments, both by sea and land, together with many powers of coercion and punishment of such of his Majesty' s subjects in America as are in a state of resistance to his authority; that his faithful Commons, reposing themselves implicitly upon the wisdom and moderation of his Majesty' s counsels, and without any communication of the detail of matters and transactions in America, either from the Governours of the several Provinces, or the Commanders of his Majesty' s forces, or any communication of authentick papers from any of the publick offices corresponding with the Plantations, which might be explanatory of the views, tempers, forces, connections, publick proceedings, number and disposition of the persons discontented and in arms, have adopted measures, in general confidence of the recommendations of his Majesty' s most gracious speech from the throne, without specifick materials of information, his Majesty not having thought proper to refer any such to this House; that his faithful Commons, having reposed a boundless trust in the wisdom of his Majesty' s counsels, think themselves so much the more bound to their constituents, and to their country, to watch that the powers which they have so entrusted to his Majesty may not be ignorantly or destructively applied by his Ministers. And as the events of this anxious and important year may probably be decisive to the future union and well-being of all his Majesty' s dominions; and as the advice of Parliament at the shortest notice may be of the utmost importance to the salvation of these kingdoms; and as a continued series of unsuccessful and unpromised events have attended the execution of his Majesty' s counsels for many months past, from the loss of Ticonderoga to the retreat of his Majesty' s forces from Boston, which seem to betray either ignorance or concealment of the operating causes which have produced such unexpected events, and which have occasioned a general disquietude and alarm; that his faithful Commons humbly entreat that his Majesty will be graciously pleased not to prorogue the Parliament, but that he will suffer them to continue sitting, by adjournments, during the summer, that they may be ready to receive from time to time such information of the transactions in America as his Majesty shall think proper to lay before them, to watch and to provide for every important event at the earliest moment."

It passed in the negative.