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House of Commons


MONDAY, March 27, 1775.

Mr˙ Hartley rose and said:

I find myself under the necessity of making some apology to the House for the trouble which I am going to give them this day, and to assure them that it is with the greatest deference that I presume to obtrude any sentiments of mine, upon the important subject of America. Though I have so lately had the honour of a seat in this House, yet I have for many years turned my thoughts and attention to matters of publick concern and national policy. This question of America is now of many years standing — of the greatest publick notoriety, as to the facts upon which it turns; and every opinion has been so fully debated, over and over, that any man, who has given his mind to publick business, may be supposed equally informed, out of the House, as in it.

When I threw out the Propositions, casually, before Christmas, which I shall offer more formally to you to-day, my view was in no sort hostile to the Administration. I saw the difficulty that we were got into by our own precipitancy; that unhappy dilemma, which offered nothing but ruin in going forward, or disgrace in the retreat. I was in hopes, from some phrases dropped by the noble Lord at the head of the Treasury, in the beginning of the session, of others being more sanguine and more impatient than himself, that he, at least, would have shewn some disposition to relent; and I still believe, if he were at liberty to follow his own inclination and judgement, that it would be so. I am the more warranted in thinking so, from the proposition which the noble Lord himself offered to the House some time ago, [ See Folio 1598.] There was in that proposition a show of conciliation to captivate one side of the House, and sufficient to betray what were his own wishes; but on the other side there was the reality of every unrelenting and vindictive measure annexed, to prove that there still were others more sanguine and more impatient than himself, over whom, with all his abilities, with all his eloquence, with all the advantages of his situation, he could not maintain his ascendant. Whatever struggles the noble Lord may have had with himself, or his friends, they are all at an end; the die is cast for war with America. It was found that any conciliatory proposition must have been, in some degree, a concession, which none of his unrelenting friends would consent to.

However, by the noble Lord' s Proposition, there is one concession made to America, under the authority of this House, which cannot be recalled, and which, finally and conclusively, condemns the conduct of every Administration for these ten years past, one excepted — I mean the repeal of the Stamp Act. If it can be proper now to offer to the Colonies to pay upon requisition, what can this Nation say for having kept out of the only right road for ten years? How can we censure the Colonies for any errours committed by them, which were the consequences of our own beginning at the wrong end? Though a threat is now annexed to the noble Lord' s requisition, yet if, at first, we had begun with a requisition instead of taxing, it would have been more just and prudent. There could be no justice or prudence in threatening a people who had always contributed most freely; who never would have called our supposed right in question, but for our misapplication of it. Therefore, sir, when I have brought back the noble Lord' s compulsory requisition to my free requisition, it stands confessed, upon the very nature of his proposition itself, that I have set it upon its own true original ground.

There is another objection to the noble Lord' s plan, which, as I have mentioned it upon a former occasion, I shall only remind you of in a few words: I mean a breach


of faith with the Colonies. A Secretary of State writes, in 1769, a circular letter to the Colonies to assure them that you will never raise a revenue by taxing. A few years after, upon a negotiation with the East India Company, the three-penny Tea Tax becomes not only merely a quit-rent for the point of honour, but rises to an actual revenue. Then you plead that you did not break your word, as the revenue arising was not in your original intentions, but only casual, from a regulation of trade. But what can you say now? The noble Lord boasts that he has put the question upon the true ground, a demand for a substantial revenue; a demand attended with threats of compulsion. What is this less than raising a revenue by a tax?

But, in any case, let the noble Lord think what he will of his proposition, why has he not, in so many weeks, given it some practicable shape? Why has he not offered some act of Parliament to give it effect? However, as he has omitted that, I shall take the proposition without its objectionable parts, and propose an Address to the King to give it force; in which motion, I hope to meet with the support of those gentlemen who gave it countenance originally, when it came from the noble Lord. I shall give the whole substance of the proposition, only leaving out, in the Address to the King, any threats of the compulsion which you meditate in reserve. If you think that you have the right of taxing, I pass it over in silence; if you have the power, I do not — I cannot take that away. Then make a free requisition, and be contented to keep to yourselves the satisfaction of thinking, that you have something in reserve, in case of non-compliance. Keep that sub silentio, at least, till you find that it becomes necessary. I am not an advocate either for the right or the expediency of taxing the Americans, but the contrary. However, as far as we go the same road of requisitions, let us go together.

As what I have to offer will be founded upon requisitions to the Colonies, I will endeavour to answer an objection beforehand, which I have heard in this House: it is to the plan of Royal requisition. This objection to the interference of the Royal name, comes from a side of the House from which one should least have expected it. However, if this bean objection, mine are not Royal requisitions. My motion originates from the House of Commons, to desire the King, as the Executive Magistrate, to put their plan into effect. If the power of making requisitions to the Colonies is not in the King, my motion is to give the authority and sanction of Parliament to this measure. It is so far from being my proposition to enable the Crown to raise what supply it can from America, independent of Parliament, that my motion is the very first which has ever had in contemplation to lay a Parliamentary control upon that power, and to require that all answers from America shall be laid before this House for the very purpose of controlling that power in the Crown. I have so doubly guarded that point, that my motion is not even for the Crown to demand a supply from America, but for services to be performed in America, for the defence, security, and protection of the Colonies themselves.

I would wish to state to the House the merits of this question, of requisitions to the Colonies, and to see upon what principles it is founded; to revise and settle the accounts between Great Britain and her Colonies; and then, upon a foundation of distributive justice, to come to some settlement. We hear of nothing now but the protection which we have given to them; of the immense expense incurred on their account. We are told that they have done nothing for themselves; that they pay no taxes; in short, every thing is asserted about America to serve the present turn, without the least regard to truth. I would have these matters fairly sifted out.


To begin with the late war. The Americans turned the success of the war at both ends of the line. General Monkton took Beausejour, in Nova Scotia, with fifteen hundred Provincial Troops and about two hundred Regulars. Sir William Johnson, in the other part of America, changed the face of the war to success with a Provincial Army, which took Baron Dieskau prisoner. But, sir, the glories of the war, under the united British and American arms, are recent in every ones' memory. Suffice it to decide this question, that the Americans bore, even in our judgement, more than their full proportion; that this House did annually vote them an acknowledgement of their zeal and strenuous efforts, and a compensation for the excess of their zeal and expenses, above their due proportion. They kept, one year with another, near twenty-five thousand men on foot, and lost in the war the flower of their youth. How strange must it appear to them to hear of nothing down to March 14, 1763, but encomiums upon their active zeal and strenuous efforts; and then, no longer after than the year 1764, in such a trice of time, to see the tide turn, and from that hour to this to hear it asserted that they were a burthen upon the common cause; asserted even in that same Parliament, which had voted them compensations for the liberality and excess of their services.

Nor did they stint their services to North America; they followed the British arms out of their Continent to the Havana and Martinique, after the complete conquest of America. And so they had done in the preceding war. They were not grudging of their exertions; they were at the siege of Carthagena; yet what was Carthagena, to them, but as members of the common cause, of the glory of this country? In that war, too, sir, they took Louisbourg from the French, single-handed, without any European assistance: as mettled an enterprise as any in our history! — an everlasting memorial of the zeal, courage, and perseverance of the Troops of New England. The men themselves dragged the cannon over a morass which had always been thought impassable, where neither horses nor oxen could go, and they carried the shot upon their backs. And what was their reward for this forward and spirited enterprise? for the reduction of this American Dunkirk? Their reward, sir, you know very well; it was given up for a barrier to the Dutch. The only conquest in that war which you had to give up, which would have been an effectual barrier to them against the French power in America, though conquered by themselves, was surrendered for foreign barrier. As a substitute for this, you settle Halifax for a Place d' Armes, leaving the limits of the Province of Nova Scotia as a matter of contest with the French, which could not fail to prove, as it did, the cause of another war. Had you kept Louisbourg instead of settling Halifax, the Americans may say, at least, that there would not have been that pretext for imputing the late war to their account. It has been their forwardness in your cause that made them the objects of the French resentment. In the war of 1744, at your requisition, they were the aggressors with the French in America. We know the orders given to Monsieur D' Anville, to destroy and lay all their Sea-port Towns in ashes; and we know the cause of that resentment: it was to revenge their conquest of Louisbourg.

Whenever Great Britain has declared war, they have taken their part. They were engaged in King William' s wars and Queen Anne' s, even in their infancy. They conquered Acadia in the last century for us, and we then gave it up. Again, in Queen Anne' s war they conquered Nova Scotia, which, from that time, has always belonged to Great Britain. They have been engaged in more than one expedition to Canada, ever foremost to partake of honour and danger with the mother country.

Well, sir, what have we done for them? Have we conquered the country for them from the Indians? Have we cleared it? Have we drained it? Have we made it habitable? What have we done for them? I believe precisely nothing at all, but just keeping watch and ward over their trade, that they should receive nothing but from ourselves, and at our own price. I will not positively say, that we have spent nothing; though I do not recollect any such article upon our Journals; but I mean, not any material expense in setting them out as Colonists. The Royal Military Government of Nova Scotia cost, indeed, not a little


sum; above £500,000 for its plantation, and its first years. Had your other Colonies cost any thing similar, either in their outset or support, there would have been something to say on that side; but, instead of that, they have been left to themselves for one hundred or one hundred and fifty years, upon the fortune and capital of private adventurers, to encounter every difficulty and danger. What Towns have we built for them? What deserts have we cleared? What country have we conquered for them from the Indians? Name the Officers; name the Troops; the Expeditions; their dates. Where are they to be found? Not in the Journals of this Kingdom. They are no where to be found.

In all the wars which have been common to us and them, they have taken their full share. But in all their own dangers, in all the difficulties belonging separately to their situation, in all the Indian wars which did not immediately concern us, we left them to themselves, to struggle their way through. For the whim of a Minister, you can bestow half a million to build a Town, and to plant a Royal Colony of Nova Scotia; a greater sum than you have bestowed upon every other Colony together, since their foundation.

And notwithstanding all these, which are the real facts, now that they have struggled through their difficulties, and begin to hold up their heads, and to shew that Empire which promises to be the foremost in the world, we claim, them and theirs, as implicitly belonging to us, without any consideration of their own rights. We charge them with ingratitude, without the least regard to truth, just as if this Kingdom had, for a century and a half, attended to no other object; as if all our revenue, all our power, all our thought, had been bestowed upon them, and all our national debt had been contracted in the Indian Wars of America, totally forgetting the subordination in commerce and manufactures, in which we have bound them; and for which, at least, we owe them help towards their protection.

Look at the preamble of the Act of Navigation, and every American Act, and see if the interests of this country is not the avowed object. If they make a Hat or a piece of Steel, an Act of Parliament calls it a nuisance: a Tilting Hammer, a Steel Furnace, must be abated in America as a nuisance. Is it so with their fellow-subjects on this side of the Atlantic? Are the Hats and Cloths of Gloucestershire nuisances? Are the Tilting Hammers of Pontipool nuisances? Are the Cutleries of Sheffield and Birmingham nuisances? Are the Stockings of Nottingham nuisances? Are the Linens of Scotland, Ireland, or Broomsgrove, nuisances? Are the Woollen Cloths of Yorkshire, the Crapes of Norwich, or the Cottons of Manchester, nuisances? Sir, I speak from facts. I call your Books of Statutes and Journals to witness. With the least recollection, every one must acknowledge the truth of these facts.

But, it is said, the Peace Establishment of North America has been, and is, very expensive to this country. Sir, for what has been, let us take the Peace Establishment before 1739, and 1748. All that I can find in your Journals, is four Companies kept up at New-York, and three Companies in Carolina. As to the four Companies at New-York, this country should know best why they put themselves to that expense; or whether they were really at any expense at all; for these were Companies of fictitious men. Unless the money was repaid into the Treasury, it was applied to some other purpose; for these Companies were not a quarter full. In the year 1754, two of them were sent up to Albany, to attend Commissioners to treat with the Six Nations, to impress them with a high idea of our military power; to display all the pomp and circumstance of war before them, in hopes to scare them; when, in truth, we made a very ridiculous figure. The whole complement of the two Companies, did not exceed thirty, tattered, tottering invalids, fitter to scare the crows. This information I have had from eye-witnesses.

It has not fallen in my way to hear any account of the three Carolina Companies: these are trifles. The substantial question is, what material expense have you been at in the periods alluded to, for the Peace Establishment of North America? Ransack your Journals, search your publick offices for Army or Ordnance expenses. Make out your bill, and let us see what it is. No one yet knows it. Had there been any such, I believe the Administration


would have produced it before now, with aggravation, as was the case a few years ago with the East India Company, who had their effects arrested for a long bill, when they little expected it, and that bill too, not very scrupulously charged; but when money is in the case, whether from the East or from the West, Ministers can make as long bills as other people.

But, is not the Peace Establishment of North America now very high, and very expensive? I would answer that by another question; why should the Peace Establishment since the late war, and the total expulsion of the French interest, be higher than it was before the late war, and when the French possessed above half the American Continent? If it be so, there must be some singular reason.

I cannot suppose that you mean, under the general term of North America, to saddle all the expenses of Canada, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Florida, and the West Indies, upon the old Colonies of North America. You cannot mean to keep the sovereignty, the property, the possession, (these are the terms of the cession in the Treaty of 1763,) to yourselves, and lay the expense of the Military Establishment, which you think proper to keep up, upon the old Colonies.

Sir, the Colonies never thought of interfering in the Prerogative of making War or Peace; but if this Nation can be so unjust as to meditate the settling the expense of your new conquests separately upon them, they ought to have had a voice in settling the terms of Peace. It is you, on this side of the water, who have first brought up the idea of separate interests, by planning separate and distinct charges. It was their men, and their money, which had conquered North America, and the West Indies, as well as yours, though you seized all the spoils; but they never thought of dictating to you what you should keep, or what you should give up, little dreaming that you reserved the expense of your Military Governments for them. Who gave up the Havana? Who gave up Martinique? Who gave up Guadaloupe, with Mariegalante? Who gave up Santa Lucia? Who gave up the Newfoundland, Fishery? Who gave up all these, without their consent, without their participation, without their consultation, and after all, without equivalents? Sir, if your Colonies had but been permitted to have gathered up the crumbs which have fallen from your table, they would have gladly supported the whole establishment of North America.

Your Colonies have now shewn you the value of lands in North America; and, therefore, you have vested in the Crown the sovereignty, property, and possession of infinite tracts of land, perhaps as extensive as all Europe, which the Crown may dispose of at its own price, as the land rises in America, and grants become invaluable; and to enable the Crown to support an arbitrary Military, nay, even a Romish Government, till these lands rise to their future immense value, you are casting about to saddle the expense either upon the American or the British supplies. The Americans must, indeed, be in a state of insanity, if they do not see the tendency of all this; and we, ourselves, must be more insane and blind even than the Americans; we, who have already seen the patronage of the East Indies put into the hands of the Crown, and who now see the sovereignty, property, and possession of North America, with every military and despotick power, vested solely in the King' s hands; we, who are made to learn every hour, by precept and example, that Charters, being but the breath of Kings, are to be annihilated by the breath of pliable Parliaments; we must be, sir, I say, more insane than them, if we do not see the tendency of all this, and if we do not provide, in time, for our own security, as well as for that of America. I will not suppose, that we can be so improvident as not to attend to these important, and, perhaps, not very distant events; nor, with respect to the present question, will I suppose that Parliament meditates so great an injustice, as to require your old Colonies to support the charge of all your new conquests, and all the rest of America.

This country is very liberal in its boasting of its protection and parental kindness to America. Is it for that purpose that we have converted the Province of Canada into an absolute and military Government, and have established the Romish bigotry dominant, as a terrour upon all our ancient and Protestant Colonies? What security, what


protection do they derive? In what sort are they the better for the conquest of the French Dominions, if we take that opportunity to establish a Government, Civil, Military, and Ecclesiastical, in the utmost degree hostile to the Government of our own Provinces, and with the intent to set a thorn in their sides? Is this affection and parental kindness? Surely, you do not expect that they should be taxed and talliaged to pay for this rod of iron which you are preparing for them!

Now, sir, I come to a point, in which I think you may be said to have given some protection. I mean the protection of your Fleet to the American Commerce. And even here I am at a loss by what terms to call it; whether you are protecting yourselves or them. They are your Cargoes, your Manufactures, your Commerce, your Navigation. Every Ship from America is bound to Great, Britain. None enter an American Port, but British Ships and Men. While you are defending the American Commerce, you are defending Leeds and Halifax, Sheffield and Birmingham, Manchester and Hull, Bristol and Liverpool, London, Dublin, and Glasgow. However, as our Fleet does protect whatever Commerce belongs to them, let that be set to the account. It is an argument to them, as well as to us. As it has been the sole policy of this Kingdom, for ages, by the operation of every commercial Act of Parliament, to make the American Commerce totally subservient to our own convenience, the least that we owe to them in return is — protection.

Sir, I have now stated my sentiments upon the preliminary matters. I have endeavoured to state the services, in war, of the Americans, with ours, and their mutual proportions; in which, by our own confession, the Americans have taken more than their share. I have, stated the expense of your Military Establishment for them, such as it has been, or such as it need to be, always protesting against the imposition of the charge of the conquered Provinces upon them; and I have stated the necessity and convenience of your Fleet to their Commerce. Let this line of dividing the question be pursued to what minuteness you will, in order that we may come to a fundamental judgement; let debtor or creditor fall on which side it; will, I have no bias to either side of the argument; but to have perfect and liberal justice done, and reconcilement, if possible, effected upon sound and equitable principles. I will, beg leave to read to the House, a draft of a Letter of Requisition, which I have drawn up after the manner of former requisitions to the Colonies, and which I have endeavoured to adapt to the present circumstances.

Here he read the following draught of a Letter of Requisition to the Colonies:

"His Majesty having nothing so much at heart, as to see every part of his Dominions put into a state of security, both by Sea and Land, against any attack, or even apprehension of attack, from foreign Powers, has, therefore, particularly taken into his consideration the necessity of keeping up a respectable Marine Establishment, as well for the actual protection of the commercial interests of Great Britain and America, as to maintain, undiminished, the power and pre-eminence of the Royal Flag of Great Britain, and to preserve that Navy, which has, in the time of war, carried us triumphant over all your enemies, from falling into neglect or inaction in the time of peace. The Naval power of Great Britain is, more especially, necessary for the protection of his Majesty' s American subjects, from the special nature of their case; who have indeed, each of them, by their respective Militias, a provincial security by Land, but from the want of a similar establishment at Sea, are particularly unguarded on that element. The Colonists are dependent upon the security of the Sea, not only for their own trade, but likewise for that supply of British Manufactures, which, if they were under the necessity


of providing for themselves, would draw them off from those objects of their colonization, which are more beneficial to them — the possessing, and bringing into culture, the extensive and fertile lands of America. It is, therefore, the peaceable pursuit and enjoyment of all and every one of these advantages, for which they are beholden to his Majesty' s Royal Navy for protection.

"His Majesty has likewise taken into his consideration the state of the American Colonies, with respect to their military defence by land. The glory of all the American conquests, in the late war, was accomplished by the active zeal, and strenuous efforts of the British and American united arms; in the prosecution of which, his Majesty has repeatedly had experience, that his faithful and loyal subjects of America, have contributed more than their proportion. His Majesty is, therefore, well pleased, that his American subjects should reap, upon the fortunate termination of that war, the advantages of security most peculiarly beneficial to their situation. He considers this security as no more than a just and adequate recompense for the liberality, zeal, and courage of their exertions, in the conquest of all those hostile Provinces, and in the extirpation of all those foreign, European interests, which have for many years been hovering, with an evil aspect, over the British American Colonies, and circumscribing their early growth.

"His Majesty considers, that the establishment and confirmation of his newly-acquired Dominions, for the peace, safety, and tranquillity of his ancient and loyal Colonies, requires the same union of mind and measures between all his subjects, on each side of the Atlantic Ocean, by which they were acquired; and that suitable and proportionate provisions should be made, by the respective parts of his Majesty' s Dominions, according to the interest or advantages to each, respectively, resulting; the sovereignty, property, and possession of the said conquered Dominions, being ceded to Great Britain on the one side, and a permanent and peaceable security, from all foreign enemies, or foreign forces, being the beneficial advantage acquired, and from the time of their conquest enjoyed, by the American Colonies on the other. His Majesty, therefore, on this subject, considers, that in reason, by much the greater part of the expenses of the establishment of the conquered Provinces should fall where the sovereignty, property, and possession are vested.

"With respect to the military defence of his Majesty' s ancient Colonies, the same plan may be adopted, which has obtained in former times of peace, as no greater standing force need be added to the Militias of each Province, than was found necessary, before the expulsion of all foreign interests from North America. Upon consideration of each of these branches requiring some Military Establishment, his Majesty thinks it necessary, with the consent of Parliament, to keep up some standing forces in America, as well for the security of his newly acquired Dominions, as to be in readiness, in case any of his ancient Colonies should be Attacked, to act in conjunction with the Militia of any such Colony, for the required defence. His Majesty, therefore, upon consideration of the premises, both with respect to the necessary Naval and Military Establishments, thinks it not unreasonable, to order Requisitions to be made to the several Assemblies of his loyal Colonies in North America, for a suitable and voluntary provision, for the purposes of defending, protecting, and securing the said Colonies.

"And to make the execution of this matter as convenient, and as satisfactory as possible, to his subjects in America, his Majesty recommends the mode to the option of the Colonies; as it will be equally satisfactory to him, if the Colonies, themselves, will undertake the performance of the services, under his Majesty' s orders, by equipping, arming, and maintaining, a suitable number of Vessels, with the proper complement of Men, to be under the command of such Naval Officers, as his Majesty shall from time to time appoint: and in like manner to levy, clothe, pay and provide for, such proportion of forces upon the Military Establishment of America as shall be equitable upon the circumstances of the case, and upon consideration of the respective abilities of each Province; such forces to Act either separately, or in conjunction, with any other of his Majesty' s Forces, and to be under the supreme command of all such Officers as his Majesty shall think proper to


appoint. His Majesty will order an account to be laid before the several Assemblies, of the Naval and Military Establishments, which his Majesty hereby requires them to furnish.

"His Majesty is not unmindful of the many restraints and prohibitions which the Colonies are under, in respect to their Commerce and Manufactures; and that many of the regulations established by the authority of the British Parliament, operate to the same effect (though indirectly) as taxes. This is the accepted condition of their emigration, to continue subordinate to the British Commerce, and instrumental to the support and extension of British Manufactures, while they are left at liberty themselves, to spread into the Continent of North America. But as many of these regulations and restraints were formed in old times, when the principles of Commerce were, perhaps, ill understood, and as it may be found that many of them are nugatory, or vexatious to the American Colonies, without being beneficial to Great Britain; his Majesty hopes, that an amicable compliance with the above-mentioned reasonable requisitions, and an ostensible contribution on the part of the Colonies, to the general Parliamentary supply, will pave the way for many relaxations in the articles of Commerce. And his Majesty gives the strongest assurances to his Colonists, that he will, at all times, recommend to his Parliament, to revise, repeal, explain, amend and relax, all such restraints and prohibitions, as shall appear to be frivolous, unjust, impolitick and oppressive to the Colonies.

"It is with great grief that his Majesty, who is the common father of his people, and views with an equal eye of affection, his subjects in every part of his Dominions, has of late years observed the very unhappy divisions, which have subsisted between his British Parliament and the Assemblies of his American subjects; and, that needless and imprudent discussions of speculative points, from mutual misapprehensions, have been converted into anger and animosities, which threaten the most fatal consequences. His Majesty is too well acquainted with the natural justice and moderation of his British Parliament, to believe that they could ever entertain the thought of any known or intended injustice or grievance to their fellow-subjects in America; and from the many recent and repeated proofs of obedience, loyalty, and affection from the Colonists, and of their liberality and disinterested zeal for the honour of his Majesty' s Arms, which they have freely and cheerfully followed into distant climates, after the complete conquest of America; he is equally assured, that his American subjects are incapable of being influenced by narrow or selfish motives. His Majesty has the fullest confidence in the repeated declarations of his American Colonies, who have separately, and collectively, declared "That they do sincerely recognise their allegiance to his Crown, and all due sub-ordination to the Parliament of Great Britain; that they shall always retain the most grateful sense of the assistance and protection which they have received; that their lives and fortunes are entirely devoted to his Majesty' s service, to which, on his Royal Requisitions, they have ever been ready to contribute to the utmost of their ability." Therefore, his Majesty has the fullest dependence, "that whenever the exigencies of the state may require it, they will, as they have heretofore done, cheerfully contribute their full proportion of men and money." His Majesty entertains the most confident hope, from the upright intentions of both parties, that, upon a cool re-consideration of the original matters in dispute, which his Majesty has endeavoured to state upon the grounds of reason, with fairness and impartiality, all unhappy animosities and civil distractions will be composed upon the solid foundations of equity and justice; and that all things will be restored to that happy state of harmony and mutual affection which subsisted at the termination of the late glorious war; and that every hostile and vindictive Act, or Declaration, which has passed from the commencement of these unfortunate troubles, will be buried in everlasting oblivion.

"It would be a grievous affliction to his Majesty, to see the courage of his faithful subjects averted to civil dissensions, and the lustre of the national Arms stained with civil blood; to see the general peace and tranquillity broken, and invitations thereby thrown out to his enemies, to disturb


the glories of his reign; to see the unhappy divisions of this Kingdom against itself, giving courage to their secret resentments, and tempting them, in an evil hour, to re-assume those hostile purposes against his Majesty' s Dominions, which the united and compacted powers of the whole House of Bourbon were unable, in the late glorious war, to accomplish, against the then united and compacted Arms of Great Britain and America. His Majesty' s most earnest and most anxious wishes are, to see unanimity restored amongst all his subjects, that they may long enjoy, in peace, the fruits of those common victories which have heretofore cemented them in one general cause; that living in harmony and brotherly kindness one towards another, and in one common obedience to the supreme Legislature, they may join all hands with one heart, to support the dignity of his Crown, the just authority of Parliament, the true and combined interests of Great Britain and America; and thus transmit to posterity, with everlasting honour, the united Empire of these Kingdoms."

This is the plan, and the terms, or to the effect, that according to the best of my judgement, a Requisition on the present subject should be drawn. I have endeavoured to state the case in such a manner as may open a way to reconcilement on both sides. Make your requisitions free, and let them be founded in reason and justice; and there are no subjects in any Kingdom that will be deaf to reason, justice, common interest, and mutual obligations: and I am sure, from the repeated liberality and zeal of our Colonies, we, of all the Kingdoms in the world, have the least reason to distrust those of our own consanguinity.

I cannot think it a possible thing in our Constitution, that any one seriously, upon a moment' s reflection, can admit the thought of denying to the Americans their judgement upon the necessity or application of money required. That is the right of all free subjects, without which they have nothing that they can call their own. Let your requisitions be free, for reasonable and substantial services, and faithfully performed, and there is no example of a refusal in such a case, in any state. That consents are withheld, and ought so to be, in case of grievances unredressed, our own history abounds with examples. Our rights and liberties would have long ago been trampled under foot, but for that reserved power in the Commons. But a refusal, in a reasonable case, is, as yet, without example. Absurdity and caprice are not the principles which govern men in the great concerns of state: but reason over-rules all little caprices. In Holland, the consent not only of the States General, but of the Provincial States, and in many instances, I believe, of every Town in each Province, is necessary for great acts of state; and yet that negative never stands in the way against reason. Where measures have common sense, and common reason, for their foundation, they will never be obstructed; where they have not, they ought to be defeated.

But it is said, that we can hear of no terms with the Americans, who have been in a state of resistance to our authority. Sir, I wish to cast no retrospect, but only to look forward to reconciliation, and to prevent the shedding of blood. The Resolution of the noble Lord has confessed, and the House has adopted the truth of it, that Requisition is the proper way. Your Colonies have been calling out to you incessantly for ten years, to make your demands by constitutional requisitions. This House, after a ten years misunderstanding, has confirmed that to be, in their opinion too, the right way. Then why not close now, at least, upon that ground, without retrospect. The Colonies have been driven to resistance against their wills, lest they should have nothing that they could surely call their own. The right to take any Nation' s money indefinitely, without their consent, without measure, without account, without any inquiry into the application, is not to be conceded or compromised by any Nation upon the earth. Resistance or ruin must infallibly be the consequence; and those who are compelled to resistance, by your having persevered in the principle of taking by force, till the noble Lord' s proposition, which has, at least, condemned it, have been forced to deny that authority, which they always had, and always would have wished to acknowledge and support. It was that unconquerable and irresistible impulse of nature, self-defence, which cut off all retreat; then let us cast no retrospect. If the grounds of this unhappy dispute


can be settled, all may be peace yet. If the Americans could be assured that you would not again make resistance absolutely necessary to their security, and very being as a people, they are ready enough to acknowledge their subordination, and all the rights of Great Britain. Let them know, that peace and security to their rights and properties shall be the certain condition of acknowledging the supreme Legislation of this country, and the matter is ended.

Sir, after I shall have received the determination of the House upon the motion for Requisitions, I shall take the liberty to offer three other motions, for a suspension of the three vindictive American Bills of the last session. The connexion of these motions with the preceding, is too obvious to require any explanation or debate. I would only take leave to say, that I should not have moved for a mere suspension of these Bills, if a motion for their repeal had not already been rejected by this House. Having given an unavailing vote for their repeal, I now come to entreat for the next degree, at least for suspension. You have ex-communicated Boston, and proscribed the whole Province of New England, unheard: then recollect your justice, and whether you send even the noble Lord' s compulsory Requisition to America, or this motion of mine for a free Requisition; suspend your vindictive hand, and, whilst you treat for peace, arrest the sword.

Sir, I have now offered what I have to say upon this important subject. I have given it my most serious, I may say, my only attention, ever since I have been in a situation to give a responsible vote upon it; and I heartily wish that some means or other may be found in time to stop the effusion of civil blood. And here, sir, I offer my poor sentiments to the House, and to the noble Lord, as in the place of Minister. It is a great responsibility that will lie at his door, who is to have the recommendation, I might say the decision, of the measures to be adopted. We, on this side the House, who have opposed the whole system of American measures, have not done it merely for the sake of opposition. We have not sheltered ourselves under "No, no;" but we have declared our principles, we have offered our plans; and they must now remain with Great Britain and America, at large, to discuss and weigh their merits, to accept, or to reject them. The noble Lord has a great ascendant in this House. Perhaps his plan, if he has any thing to be called a plan, may find advocates and voices here. But our country at large, Great Britain and America, must finally decide. My honourable friend near me (Mr˙ Burke) has, with unrivalled ability, opened to you his principles and plan. The Earl of Chatham has, in the other House, offered his provisional Bill, for conciliation, to the Ministry there; and for myself, sir, it is with the greatest deference and humility that I presume to offer any thing of mine, in conjunction with such great names and abilities. I can only plead the sincerity of my intentions as an apology for my presumption. All our plans tend to one centre, and to one point of reconciliation, to save the effusion of blood between those who ought to be, reciprocally, good and useful friends. If the noble Lord has any secret feelings of relenting, as many of his friends, and many more who would be his friends, most sincerely wish, let him stand out, and do justice to his feelings. His country calls upon him, not to give way to sanguinary and impatient councils, contrary to his own better judgement. This is the decisive hour; the fate of Great Britain and America are depending.

The eyes of all this country, and America too, are turned towards the noble Lord, as the ostensible and responsible Minister, to receive his final determination as to the measures which are to decide the safety or ruin of this Empire. The ways of peace are still before him. If war is to be the measure with America, let him consider that it is not a majority of this House that can conquer America. The support of reason and justice to his measures will stand him better in stead, than the noisy tumult of a majority; in which majority there may be lurking, treacherous counsellors, and pretended friends, secretly urging him to his ruin, even against his own judgement. The important responsibility is out of measure. When the debates and measures of this year are transmitted to America, they may, perhaps, tell the noble Lord: — Had you pursued a plan of equity and justice, all had been peace. At home,


one plan of conciliation has already been proposed, for which the City of London, foreseeing the certain ruin of other measures, has given thanks to its great and noble author, as an earnest for the rest of the Kingdom. If Great Britain and America should come to one mind of peace, they may unite to crush those men who keep them asunder.

He then moved,

"That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to give orders, that Letters of Requisition be written to the several Provinces of his Majesty' s Colonies and Plantations in America to make provisions for the purposes of defending, protecting, and securing the said Colonies and Plantations; and that his Majesty will be pleased to order all such Addresses as he shall receive, in answer to the aforesaid Letters of Requisition, to be laid before this House."

Sir Cecil Wray seconded the motion: he declared he did it as it recurred to a system which had been in use before the present troubles had begun, namely, before the unfortunate passing of the Stamp Act, and wished all the rest of our disputes could also be put on the same foundation. He observed, in respect to the right of taxation, that the Parliament of Britain had no right to tax those it did not represent; that representation had originally been for the sole purpose of taxation, and that it was only by chance, and an usurpation by the people from the Crown, that the Representatives had acquired the rights of Legislation. This appeared from our ancient Parliaments; in which, after the Parliament had granted taxes, they applied, by Petition, to the Crown to remedy certain grievances, which the Crown sometimes did, by making an Ordinance for that purpose; and that, even in the most despotick German Governments, the Prince could not, at this day, impose internal taxes without the approbation of the States, or Representatives of the people. That even if Parliament had the right to tax America he should be against using that power; as, in that case, justice would demand that we should give to America an equal power of paying taxes; that that could only be done by opening the trade of the whole world to America, in common with Britain; a measure which no one could wish to see adopted, as it would then be at the expense of the latter, and a very considerable defalcation ensue in its power of then paying the taxes it now does. That Britain, in his opinion, was, at present, low taxed, in comparison with either of the neighbouring Nations, or of what it was at the period before the commencement of the National Debts. That the quantum of taxes are not to be estimated by the sum of money raised, but by the proportion such sum bears to the ability of the persons taxed: for instance, if a farmer who, at the last mentioned era, paid one hundred Pounds a year rent, and now is enabled to raise three hundred Pounds more than the sum he could then, by the increased price of his Goods, he cannot be said to have his rent raised, but rather lowered, if his landlord makes him pay two hundred Pounds rent instead of one. He next observed, how impolitick it was to undervalue the courage of those we were to engage with; mentioned the high spirit shewn by the people of Genoa, in driving out the veteran Germans, when raised by enthusiastick valour. He observed, too, that perhaps the character, given of the Americans was as true of our own common people; that in all conflicts between them and the military, a very few muskets from a few red coats, had always dispelled the most mutinous; at the same time mentioned that the cause of this was the total disuse of arms; for those very people, when once disciplined, became the best of Soldiers. In his opinion, the sole power this country ought to have over the Colonies, which was of necessity, not of right, vested in the British Parliament for the good of the whole, should only be exerted in saying what the Colonists should not do, not what they should do; that, in particular, it was requisite for Parliament to have a watchful eye on the Navigation Act, and on all others which regulated the external commerce of all parts of our Dominions, as on those, and on our trade, depended the sole power of paying our taxes.

Lord North, opposed the motion. He entered into the reasons for which the present measures had been adopted; and said that it could not, in the present state of affairs, betwixt


us and the Colonies, be consistent with our dignity in the least to recede. The propositions made to Parliament against the measures adopted by the House, were very different from one another, and, therefore, inconsistent — Lord Chatham' s, Mr˙ Burke' s, and the present; and that Parliament having adopted his own, which were more consistent with the dignity and superiority claimed by Britain over her Colonies, it would now be very unparliamentary to adopt new measures which would, in effect, overturn it. He objected to Royal Requisitions, as projected, as he could not see the difference betwixt such a requisition and the demand by Charles the First of Ship-money; as it was the same thing whether we asked for Ships, or Money to build Ships. He observed, that if we adopted this proposal, it would not bring us back to the state we were in before the Stamp Act passed; nor could the idea of the gentleman, who seconded the motion, of Parliament' s having a right to say what the Colonies should not do, take place without the consent of the Colonies; as in the instance of burning the Tea, assaulting the Magistracy, destroying the King' s Stores and other acts of violence, the Colonies had been lately guilty of, which they would say they had a right to do, notwithstanding our prohibition of them.

Sir Cecil Wray said he did not mean that this measure would bring us back to the state we were in with the Colonies before the Stamp Act; but approved of the measure, as being similar to those in practice before the passing the Stamp Act; and that, as to the Prohibitory Acts, he did not mean such as the noble Lord had mentioned, which were only acts of self-defence against the execution of unjust, tyrannical laws, but regulations of external trade, and things of that nature, which, for the good of the whole, it was the duty of Parliament to regulate.

Mr˙ T˙ Townshend observed, that though the present measures were adopted by a large majority in Parliament, yet, if they did not succeed, the noble Lord would find himself responsible; that it had been frequently said, that the disturbances in America arose from the advice and speeches made in England; that this he would call calumny, unless some gentleman would get up and avow this doctrine, and produce convincing proofs that this was so.

Lord W˙ Campbell answered, that he had said so in debate, and he had a right to do so; he had letters in his pocket proving it; but the Papers on the table were sufficient to convince every gentleman of it, without applying to private proofs.

Mr˙ Lyttelton observed, that the quarrel which brought on the late war was not for a quantity of derelict land in America, but that the French had endeavoured, by their encroachments, to obtain another Port on the Sea-coast, Quebec being shut up by the ice for many months in the year, and Louisiana by no means a flourishing Colony; that this Port and communication would have been by the River St˙ John; that, therefore, the war must be considered as an American war.

Sir G˙ Savile shewed, that the three different propositions mentioned, had been made at different times; that when one could not be obtained, a second, (something different, according to the rule of Parliament,) and now a third, again differing, were made; that this did not shew a difference of measures, but only a desire of obtaining something in favour of ourselves and the Colonies. He expressed his surprise that the noble Lord should liken requisitions of this nature to Ship-money; the dispute in the latter case was not the demand, but the manner of enforcing that demand under the sanction of law.

Mr˙ Vyner was surprised at two assertions of the seconder of the motion; the first, that Britain was not high taxed; he did not know what could be called so, if the present state was not. Did we not pay three Shillings in the Pound? Was not every article of life taxed? As to the second, namely, the cowardice of the people of England, that too he utterly denied; they were, indeed, inferiour to regular Troops, but that these Troops were Englishmen, and as brave as any in the world.

Mr˙ Tuffnell attempted to shew, that the war, though begun in America, was the plan of the French Minister, but that he did not mean it should have taken place so soon as it did.

The question then being put on the motion,


It passed in the Negative.

Mr˙ Hartley then moved, and the question being put, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to suspend, for the term of three Years, the force and execution of an Act passed in the last session of Parliament, entituled "An Act to discontinue in such manner, and for such time, as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping of Goods, Wares, and Merchandise, at the Town and within the Harbour of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America;"

It passed in the Negative.

Mr˙ Hartley then moved, and the question being put, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to suspend, for the term of two Years, the force and execution of an Act of


Parliament, passed in the last session of Parliament, entituled "An Act for the impartial Administration of Justice in the cases of persons questioned for any acts done by them in the execution of the Law, or for the suppression of Riots and Tumults, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England;"

It passed in the Negative.

Mr˙ Hartley then moved, and the question being put, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to suspend, for the term of three Years, the force and execution of an Act passed in the last session of Parliament, entituled "An Act for the better regulating the Government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England;"

It passed in the Negative.



* This draught is made out according to the usual and official forms, and upon the model of former Letters of Requisition to the Colonies. Whenever it has been thought proper to require aids from the Colonies, it has been the invariable custom for the Secretary of State to write a Circular Letter to the Governours of the several Provinces, stating the occasion of the demand, the circumstances of the case, and the necessity, importance, or expediency of the services required, with directions to lay the same before the respective Assemblies, "to use his influence with them, and to recommend it to them, to take these matters into their consideration, and to comply with such reasonable requisitions." The American Colonies have ever complied, most cheerfully and liberally, with all such reasonable and constitutional requisitions.