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House of Lords



WEDNESDAY, February 1, 1715.

The Earl of Chatham presented to the House a Bill, entituled "A Provisional Act for settling the Troubles in America, and for asserting the supreme legislative authority and superintending power of Great Britain over the Colonies."

The Earl of Chatham rose. His Lordship began with reminding the House, that the last time he had the honour of imparting his sentiments to them, he had informed them that with their indulgence he would submit certain propositions to their consideration, as a basis for averting the dangers which now threatened the British Empire; and that, in performance of his promise, he had sketched the outlines of a Bill, which he hoped would meet with the approbation of every side of the House. He proceeded to state the urgent necessity of such a plan, as, perhaps, a period of a few hours might forever defeat the possibility of any such conciliatory intervention. He represented Great Britain and America as drawn up in martial array, waiting for the signal to engage in a contest, in which it was little matter for whom victory declared, as ruin and destruction must be the inevitable consequence to both parties. He wished, from a principle of duty and affection, to act the part of a mediator. He said, however, that no regard for popularity, no predilection for his country — not the high esteem he entertained for America on one hand, nor the unalterable steady regard he entertained for the dignity of Great Britain on the other, should at all influence his conduct; for though he loved the Americans as men prizing and setting the just value on that inestimable blessing, liberty, yet, if he could once bring himself to be persuaded that they entertained the most distant intentions of throwing off the legislative supremacy and great constitutional superintending power and control of the British Legislature, he should be the very person himself who would be the first and most zealous mover for securing and enforcing that power by every possible exertion this country was capable of making. He recurred his former arguments on the great constitutional question of taxation and representation; insisted they were inseparable, and planted so deeply in the vital principles of the Constitution as never to be torn up, without destroying and pulling asunder every hand of legal government and good faith which formed the cement that united its several constituent parts together. He entreated the assistance of the House to digest the crude materials which he presumed to now lay before it, and bring it and reduce it to that form which was suited to the dignity and the importance of the subject, and to the great ends to which it was ultimately directed.


He called on them to exercise their candour on the present occasion, and deprecated the effects of party or prejudice, of factious spleen, or a blind predilection. He avowed himself to be actuated by no narrow principle or personal consideration whatever; for though the present Bill might be looked upon as a hill of concession, it was impossible but to confess at the same time that it was a bill of assertion.

The Earl of Dartmouth observed, that the Bill took in such a variety of matter it was impossible for him to pronounce any certain opinion concerning its propriety; and as the noble Earl who presented it did not seem willing to press the House to any immediate decision, but appeared rather desirous that it should be maturely and fully considered, he supposed it would be quite agreeable to him that the Bill should lie on the table till the papers referred by his Majesty were first taken into consideration; if so, he had no objection to the Bill being received on those terms.

The Bill was then read a first time, viz:

Whereas, by an Act sixth George Third, it is declared that Parliament has full power and authority to make laws and Statutes to bind the people of the Colonies in all cases whatsoever. And whereas reiterated complaints, and most dangerous disorders have grown, touching the right of Taxation claimed and exercised, over America, to the disturbance of peace and good order there, and to the actual interruption of the due intercourse from Great Britain and Ireland to the Colonies, deeply affecting the Navigation, Trade, and Manufactures of this Kingdom and of Ireland, and announcing farther an interruption of all Exports from the said Colonies to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Islands in America: Now, for prevention of these ruinous mischiefs, and in order to an equitable, honourable, and lasting settlement of claims not sufficiently ascertained and circumscribed, may it please your most excellent Majesty that it may be declared, and be it declared by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the Colonies of America have been, are, and of right ought to be, dependent upon the Imperial Crown of Great Britain, and subordinate unto the British Parliament; and that the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have full power and authority to make Laws and Statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the people of the British Colonies in America, in all matters touching the general weal of the whole Dominion of the Imperial Crown of Great Britain,


and beyond the competency of the local representative of a distinct Colony; and most especially an indubitable and indispensable right to make and ordain laws for regulating navigation and trade throughout the complicated system of British Commerce, the deep policy of such prudent acts upholding the guardian Navy of the whole British Empire; and that all subjects in the Colonies are bound in duty and allegiance duly to recognise and obey (and they are hereby required so to do) the supreme Legislative authority and superintending power of the Parliament of Great Britain as aforesaid. And whereas, in a Petition from America to his Majesty, it has been represented that the keeping a Standing Army within any of the Colonies, in time of peace, without consent of the respective Provincial Assembly there, is against law: Be it declared by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, that the Declaration of Right at the ever glorious Revolution, namely, "That the raising and keeping a Standing Army within the Kingdom, in time of peace, unless it be by consent of Parliament, is against law," having reference only to the consent of the Parliament of Great Britain, the legal, constitutional, and hitherto unquestioned prerogative of the crown to send any part of such Army, so lawfully kept, to any of the British Dominions and Possessions, whether in America or elsewhere, as his Majesty, in the due care of his subjects, may judge necessary for the security and protection of the same, cannot be rendered dependent upon the consent of a Provincial Assembly in the Colonies, without a most dangerous innovation and derogation from the dignity of the Imperial Crown of Great Britain. Nevertheless, in order to quiet and dispel groundless jealousies and fears, be it hereby declared, that no Military Force, however raised, and kept according to law, can ever be lawfully employed to violate and destroy the just rights of the people. Moreover, in order to remove forever, all causes of pernicious discords, and in due contemplation of the vast increase of possessions and population in the Colonies, and having at heart to render the condition of so great a body of industrious subjects there more and more happy, by the sacredness of property and of personal liberty, and of more extensive and lasting utility to the parent Kingdom, by indissoluble ties of mutual affection, confidence, trade, and reciprocal benefits, be it declared and enacted, by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and it is hereby declared and enacted, by the authority of the same, that no Tallage, Tax, or other charge for his Majesty' s Revenue, shall be commanded or levied, from British freemen in America, without common consent, by Act of Provincial Assembly there, duly convened for that purpose. And it is hereby further declared and enacted, by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that it shall and may be lawful for Delegates from the respective Provinces, lately assembled at Philadelphia, to meet in General Congress at the said Philadelphia, on the 9th day of May next ensuing, in order then and there to take into consideration the making due recognition of the supreme Legislative authority and superintending power of Parliament over the Colonies as aforesaid. And moreover, may it please your most excellent


Majesty, that the said Delegates to be in Congress assembled, in manner aforesaid, may be required, and the same are hereby required, by the King' s Majesty, sitting in his Parliament, to take into consideration (over and above the usual charge for support of Civil Government in the respective Colonies,) the making a free grant to the King, his heirs and successors, of a certain perpetual Revenue, subject to the disposition of the British Parliament, to be by them appropriated, as they in their wisdom shall judge fit, to the alleviation of the National debt; no doubt being had but the just, free aid, will be in such honourable proportion as may seem meet and becoming from great and flourishing Colonies towards a parent country, labouring under the heaviest burthens, which, in no inconsiderable part, have been willingly taken upon ourselves and posterity, for the defence, extension, and prosperity of the Colonies. And to this great end, be it further hereby declared and enacted, that the General Congress (to meet at Philadelphia as aforesaid,) shall be, and is hereby authorized and empowered (the Delegates composing the same, being first sufficiently furnished with powers from their respective Provinces for this purpose,) to adjust and fix these partitions and quotas of the several charges to be borne by each Province respectively, towards the general contributory supply; and this, in such fair and equitable measure, as may best suit the abilities and due convenience of all. Provided always, That the powers for fixing the said quotas, hereby given to the Delegates from the old Provinces composing the Congress, shall not extend to the new Provinces of East and West Florida, Georgia, Nova-Scotia, St˙ Johns, and Canada; the circumstances and abilities of the said Provinces being reserved for the wisdom of Parliament in their due time. And in order to afford necessary time for mature deliberation in America, be it hereby declared, that the provisions for ascertaining and fixing the exercise of the right of taxation in the Colonies, as agreed and expressed by this present Act, shall not be in force, or have any operation, until the Delegates to be in Congress assembled, sufficiently authorized and empowered, by their respective Provinces, to this end, shall, as an indispensable condition, have duly recognized the supreme Legislative authority and superintending power of the Parliament of Great Britain, over the Colonies as aforesaid. Always understood, that the free grant of an aid, as here before required and expected from the Colonies, is not to be considered as a condition of redress, but as a just testimony of their affection. And whereas, divers Acts of Parliament have been humbly represented in a Petition to his Majesty from America, to have been found grievous, in whole or in part, to the subjects of the Colonies, be it hereby declared by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the powers of Admiralty and Vice-Admiralty Courts in America, shall be restrained within their ancient limits, and the Trial by Jury, in all civil cases, where the same may have been abolished, restored, and that no subject in America shall, in capital cases, be liable to be indicted and tried for the same, in any place out of the Province, wherein such offence shall be alleged to have been committed, nor be deprived of a trial of his peers of the vicinage: nor shall it be lawful to send persons indicted for murder in any Province of America, to another Colony, or to Great Britain, for trial. And it is hereby declared and enacted, by the authority aforesaid,


that all and every of the said Acts, or so much thereof as are represented to have been found grievous, namely, the several Acts of the 4th George the Third, chapter 15, and chapter 34; 5th George the Third, chapter 25; 6th George the Third, chapter 52; 7th George the Third, chapter 41 and chapter 46; 8th George the Third, chapter 22; 12th George the Third, chapter 24 — with the three Acts for stopping the Port, and blocking up the Harbour of Boston, for altering the Charter and Government of Massachusetts Bay, and that entituled "An Act for the better Administration of Justice, &c˙;" also, the Act for regulating the Government of Quebec; and the Act passed in the same session relating to the quarters of Soldiers, shall be, and are hereby suspended, and not to have effect or execution, from the date of this Act. And be it moreover hereby declared and enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all and every the before recited Acts, or the parts thereof complained of, shall be, and are in virtue of this present Act, finally repealed and annulled, from the day that the due recognition of the supreme Legislative authority and superintending power of Parliament over the Colonies, shall have been made on the part of the said Colonies.

And for the better securing due and impartial administration of justice in the Colonies, be it declared and enacted by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, that his Majesty' s Judges in Courts of Law in the Colonies in America, to be appointed with salaries by the Crown, shall hold their offices and salaries as his Majesty' s Judges in England, quamdiu se bene gesserint, and it is hereby further declared, by the authority aforesaid, that the Colonies in America are justly entitled to the privileges, franchises, and immunities granted by their several Charters or Constitutions, and that the said Charters or Constitutions ought not to be invaded or resumed unless for misuser, or some legal ground of forfeiture. So shall true reconcilement avert impending calamities, and this most solemn national accord between Great Britain and her Colonies, stand an everlasting monument of clemency and magnanimity in the benignant father of his people, of wisdom and moderation in this great Nation, famed for humanity as for valour, and of fidelity and grateful affection from brave and loyal Colonies to their parent Kingdom, which will ever protect and cherish them.

The Earl of Sandwich rose, and instantly changed this appearance of concession on the part of Administration. He insisted, that to concede was at once to give up the point; that he was well assured America had already formed the most traitorous and hostile intentions; that the last despatches brought over an account, that they had already attacked and taken one of the King' s Forts, and had seized the King' s Stores and Ammunition to employ them against him, which, if any thing could be deemed rebellion, it was plain this was. He highly condemned the mode of bringing this Bill forward, and every circumstance attending it; and observed, with no small degree of warmth, that it was no less unparliamentary than unprecedented. He said it was impossible, on so short a notice, to determine on a matter of such singular importance, so extensive in its objects, and so novel in its introduction. As to the stale pretension of preserving our commercial interests, that device could impose on none but those who were wilfully blind, and who were resolved to contradict the plainest evidence of facts, and shut their eyes against reason and common sense; for it was clear the Americans were not disputing about words, but realities; it was to free themselves from the restrictions laid on their commerce, that was the principal motive for their present obedience; it was not the Tea they really objected; for if they could procure it from any other place but Britain, they would be well pleased, of which he had the most undeniable proof in his pocket, in authentick letters, informing him, that there were Ships now lading at Amsterdam, Port l' Orient, and Havre-de-Grace, with various sorts of East India and European commodities, intended for certain parts of the Continent of North America. His Lordship therefore moved, "that the said Bill be rejected."

Lord Lyttelton set out with the highest encomiums on the great abilities and high political knowledge of the noble Earl who framed the Bill. He said his knowledge was as


extensive as his intentions were good and great; that in the most trying situations, when the Nation was reduced nearly to desperation and despair, he stood forth alone, on the dangerous ocean of politicks, and rescued the Nation from the ruin which was suspended over its head. For these reasons, as well as the particular merit of the proposition now made, he thought both the mover and the matter deserved a more favourable reception. He said, though he could not probably agree with the noble Earl in many of his ideas, particularly relative to the repeal of the Quebec Bill, which was included in those mentioned in the Petition of the American Congress to the King, he must still continue to think it was extremely improper at once to reject and put a negative on a proposition, which carried on the face of it a plan of reconciliation; and made an opening for changing negotiation for the sword. He avowed his former sentiments respecting the supremacy of the British Parliament; but would gladly enjoy all the substantial fruits of that supremacy, in the way of obedience and submission, in preference to wresting them by force and violence. His Lordship then proceeded to animadvert on the conduct of Administration, and on their manifest misconduct respecting the insufficiency of the force sent to Boston; but was called to order by the Earl of Sandwich; who was also called to order by the Duke of Richmond. His grace insisted Lord Lyttelton ought not to have been interrupted. Lord Lyttelton concluded with a simile drawn from the Roman history, where a General, in the time of Augustus, being sent with a force against the Germans, not adequate to the service, the General, with all his Army, were unhappily cut off. When Augustus heard of it, his observation was, that such a force should have been sent as would have ensured success.

The Earl of Shelburne disclaimed the least knowledge of the contents of the Bill till it was read by the Clerk. He was extremely animated, and painted in the strongest colours, the probable consequences of pushing matters to extremities. A ruined Commerce, starving Manufacturers, increased Taxes, heavy Poor-Rates, Rents fallen, an exhausted Exchequer, and a diminished Revenue, were some of the first effects he predicted, that would inevitably follow from adopting the measures of Administration. His Lordship proceeded to take notice of another matter which had been hitherto overlooked, but which deserved the most serious consideration. It was well known, that the vast supplies of Bread-Corn brought into this Kingdom from America, would now of course be stopped; and that again would add to all, our other accumulated misfortunes, riots and tumults of the most alarming and dangerous nature. People must eat, and it would be impossible to reconcile them to measures which would at once cut them off from procuring the necessaries of life, unless at a most exorbitant and advanced price, and the means of purchasing them at almost any price. He ventured to speak with the more confidence of what might be justly dreaded on this occasion, because, when only one part of the case existed, a scarcity of Grain in 1766, when he had the honour of acting as one of his Majesty' s Secretaries of State, he well remembered the dreadful alarms that were spread on account of the risings and tumultuous meetings in almost every part of the Kingdom. One day an express arrived from Norwich, another from the inland Counties, to which Troops were sent to quell the Rioters; the next day, one from Southampton and the Western Counties, and a fourth from Chester and the North. I would have these things maturely considered and weighed, said his Lordship. All the Troops now in Great Britain and Ireland, would scarcely suffice to put the proposed measures in execution. Think, then, in time; Ireland naked and defenceless, England in an uproar from one end to the other for want of bread, and destitute of employment. Besides all this, is there then a noble Lord in Administration who will rise and tell me, that he seriously thinks, the powers of Europe, particularly those whose commercial interests and Naval power clash with ours, will sit totally unconcerned, and let slip so favourable an opportunity of humbling that power, and hurting those interests? I cannot believe there is. Perhaps Administration trust to the assurances of their inveterate enemies and false friends; if they do, all I will add is, that I sincerely pity them.

The Duke of Grafton complained severely of the very


unparliamentary manner in which the noble Earl had hurried the Bill into the House. He said, he had the honour of sitting there longer than the noble Earl, and within his recollection he could safely affirm, he never remembered another instance of the kind. For his part, he was astonished how any matter so important in its nature, so extensive in its consequences, and directed to such a variety of objects, each of them worthy of a separate consideration, could be thus brought forward together, and in such a manner. In his opinion, the matter should have been laid before the House, in separate propositions, each of which should be singly discussed, as leading to one great comprehensive system. His own opinion respecting the general question, was, he said, perhaps different from that entertained by either party. When it came before the House regularly, and in a proper mode, he should declare it freely and openly, without reserve or predilection for the sentiments of any set of men; but when he considered the manner of introducing it, and the immense mass of matter it contained, however highly he might estimate the talents of the noble framer, or great a personal regard he might entertain for him, he must be for rejecting the Bill in the first instance.

Earl Gower rose in a great heat, and condemned the Bill in the warmest terms. He contended, that it fell in with the ideas of America in almost every particular, and held out no one security, that although we should be base and dastardly enough to betray the rights of the Parliament of Great Britain, America would agree to such parts of it as the noble Lord seemed to point out as matters of submission or concession; but above all, it not only sanctified the traitorous proceeding of the Congress already held, but further legalized it, by ordaining that another shall be held on the 9th of May next. He then endeavoured to prove that suspending the Acts mentioned in the Bill, would be to every substantial purpose an actual repeal. He defended those Acts one after another; and insisted, that the Act of Navigation would be of no avail, would be no more than a dead letter, if the laws for establishing the Admiralty Courts were repealed; for to talk of laws for restricting and regulating their commerce without the means of enforcing and executing them, was a mere mockery of reason and common sense. He next launched into great encomiums on the Quebec Bill; spoke much of its lenity, moderation, justice, and policy; said it was a measure no less founded in wisdom and justice, than its apparent policy, considering the rebellious temper of the Colonies was properly directed. He repeated what he had advanced on a former occasion, that those of the best characters and greatest property throughout the Colonies, were well inclined to obedience and submission to the mother country, that all they wanted to manifest their zeal and attachment was to be protected; that were it otherwise, Great Britain was called upon by every tie of interest, every motive of dignity, and every principle of good government, to assert its Legislative supremacy entire and undiminished. He avowed his advising every measure hitherto taken against them; and said he did not mean to screen himself from any consequence whatever, but was prepared for the worst, and ready to face the block in such a cause. He observed that the noble Earl who framed the Bill, seemed to entertain the highest opinion of the prowess of the Americans, and to lament greatly the cruelty and injustice of sending a military force against them; yet he remembered the time the noble Earl entertained very different sentiments on an occasion of infinitely less provocation, when he advised their Ports to be filled with Ships-of-War, and their Towns with Soldiers; adding, that an Ensign, with a few Regiments, would reduce them to instant obedience.

Here he was interrupted by the Earl of Chatham, who called on him to name the time and place. Earl Gower was proceeding, but was again called on to specify the time and place; on which, he said, it was in a debate in the other House.

The Earl of Chatham condemned such a procedure in very severe terms; said it was not decent or Parliamentary to mention words spoken out of the House; or if it were, to advert to some particular expressions, which could not be understood without referring them to the other parts of the speech; and in fact, that the noble Earl was mistaken, for no such expressions had ever fallen from him, as he knew too well, by his acquaintance with the force employed


during the late war in America, which was not less than forty thousand men, that an Ensign with a few Regiments could not reduce British America, when the part possessed by France of that Continent, which was not a third of the former, employed so great a force for full five years, under the command of one of the ablest Generals in Europe, Sir Jeffery Amherst. This altercation being finished, Earl Gower declared, in the most unreserved terms, for reducing the Americans to submission, and gave his hearty concurrence to the Earl of Sandwich' s amendment.

Lord Camden argued the matter generally, and challenged Administration to a full discussion of every separate proposition. He could answer for himself, he dared say he could answer for every noble Lord on the same side, that they never meant to consider so as to decide on the subject-matter in this stage of the business. It was not, he was certain, ever intended. I am not, said his Lordship, by any means prepared to speak fully to any one material part of it; but if, as is always usual on such occasions, they are determined to consider it and to enter into a candid examination, I here pledge myself to prove every leading proposition on which the Bill rests, particularly the main one, which in a great measure includes all the rest, the rescinding the Declaratory Law, asserting that the British Parliament can bind the Colonies in all cases whatsoever. On that ground I am ready to meet my antagonists; and if that argument falls, they must, it is evident, give way. I will maintain the negative on the great principles of the Law and the Constitution, and prove, that in no one stage of the Constitution, were taxation and representation ever separated; and that even in the case of the County Palatines, the very arguments deduced from the exercise of taxing them before they were represented, will incontrovertibly demonstrate, that legislation and taxation are neither co-extensive nor co-equal.

The Earl of Chatham replied to the several objections which fell from the Lords in Administration. He descanted with equal humour and severity upon the very extraordinary logick employed by the noble Duke, his quondam colleague in office, and very humble servant. The noble Duke, said his Lordship, is extremely angry with me, that I did not previously consult him on the bringing in the present Bill. I would ask the noble Duke, does he consult me, or do I desire to be previously told of any motions or measures he thinks fit to propose to this House? His Grace seems to be much offended at the manner this Bill has been hurried. I am certain he could not be serious, if he gave himself a minute to consider how the case really stands. Here we are told that America is in a state of actual rebellion, and we are now arrived at the first of February, and no one step is taken to crush this supposed rebellion; yet, such being the case, I am charged with hurrying matters; but whether my conduct may be more justly charged with hurrying this business into, or his Grace with hurrying it out of the House, I believe requires no great depth of penetration to discover. As to the other general objections, I presume it will be recollected, that the last day I submitted the proposition about withdrawing the Troops from Boston, I then gave notice that I would present, in a few days, a plan of general reconciliation. Eleven days have since elapsed, and nothing has been offered by the King' s servants. Under such circumstances of emergency on one side, when, perhaps, a single day may determine the fate of this great Empire, and such a shameful negligence, total inattention, and want of ability on the other, what was to be done? No other alternative, in my opinion, remained, but either to abandon the interests of my country, and relinquish my duty, or to propose some plan, when Ministry, by their inaction and silence, owned themselves incapable of proposing any. But even now let them speak out and tell me that they have a plan to lay before us, and I will give them an example of candour they are by no means deserving of, by instantly withdrawing the present Bill. The indecent attempt to stifle this measure in embryo, may promise consequences the very reverse of what I am certain will be the case if the Bill is admitted. The friends of the present amendment may flatter themselves that the contents of the Bill will sink into silence and be forgotten, but I believe they will find the contrary. This Bill, though rejected here, will make its way to the publick — to the Nation — to the remotest wilds of America.


It will, in such a course, undergo a deal of cool observation and investigation, and whatever its merits or demerits may be, it will stand or fall by them alone; it will, I trust, remain a monument of my poor endeavours to serve my country; and, however faulty or defective, will at least manifest how zealous I have been to avert those impending storms which seem ready to burst on it, and forever overwhelm it in ruin. Yet, when I consider the whole case as it lies before me, I am not much astonished; I am not surprised, that men who hate liberty should detest those that prize it; or that those who want virtue themselves, should endeavour to persecute those who possess it. Were I disposed to pursue this theme to the extent that truth would fully bear me out in, I could demonstrate, that the whole of your political conduct has been one continued series of weakness, temerity, despotism, ignorance, futility, negligence, blundering, and the most notorious servility, incapacity, and corruption. On reconsideration, I must allow you one merit — a strict attention to your own interests; in that view you appear sound statesmen and able politicians. You well know if the present measure should prevail, that you must instantly relinquish your places. I doubt much whether you will be able to keep them on any terms; but sure I am, that such is your well known characters and abilities, any plan of reconciliation, however moderate, wise, and feasible, must fail in your hands. Such, then, being your precarious situations, who can wonder that you should put a negative on any measure which must annihilate your power, deprive you of your emoluments, and at once reduce you to that state of insignificance for which God and nature designed you.

Earl Gower answered with strong marks of resentment. He said, let the Bill make its way where it might, he was ready to abide the consequences; that he did not doubt but sufficient industry would be exerted to circulate its contents; and that however zealous some persons might be to inflame the people both here and in America, it should not have the least effect on his conduct. He was determined to adhere to the true interests of his country, and the dignity of Parliament; and to stand with them to the last, or perish in the ruins; nor should the terrours of the block itself oblige him to change his purpose. As to the general charges thrown out against Administration by the noble Earl, it was time enough to answer them when he pointed them in such a manner as to call for defence or explanation; that till then they were unworthy of reply, as the persons included in such a censure only shared the fate of all other Administrations he ever remembered since his first knowledge of publick business, his Lordship having uniformly condemned them, though he afterwards thought proper to act with their authors; and if the noble Earl' s age did not stand in the way, he had no doubt but that, on the present occasion, his Lordship would give one more proof of his change of sentiment, by warmly espousing the very measures he now so loudly condemned.

The Earl of Hillsborough was severe on the noble framer of the Bill. He spoke fully on legislation, as involving in it every possible power and exercise of Civil Government. He contended that his Lordship' s computation of the numbers in America, who were ready to dispute the supremacy of Parliament, was extremely erroneous; that if that country contained three millions of people, he would be bold to say, from his own certain knowledge of their temper and disposition, that one-third at least were willing to submit to the Parliament of Great Britain; that out of the remainder — the women, children, and old men, could not be deemed fit to bear arms; so that the noble Earl' s facts were no less erroneous than his arguments, when he said that three millions of men, with arms in their hands, would never consent to be taxed by the Legislature of this country. He next endeavoured to correct a mistake of the same noble Earl, where he asserted that French America took forty thousand men to reduce it; being satisfied, he said, that at no one time were there above twelve thousand regular Troops employed on that service. He next defended the Declaratory Law, but insisted that it conferred no new right, for if it had never passed, the Legislative supremacy of Parliament would have remained the same; and concluded with holding out the favourable disposition of Administration towards the Colonies, when they manifested a suitable temper on their part, which could never


be till they submitted to the great constitutional claims of the British Legislature.

The Duke of Richmond took a comprehensive view of the question. He examined the Bills mentioned in the claim of rights, one by one, and showed with great ability the foundations on which they rested. He dwelt particularly on the Acts for establishing Courts of Admiralty, and for altering the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay. He said the former erected a jurisdiction, the Judges of which were interested in the decision; and the latter, under the colour of constituting Juries on the plan of those in England, lodged the power of selecting persons fit to serve, in an officer called a Sheriff, it was true, but an officer at the, same time as little known in our Constitution, as any Turkish or Russian Magistrate; an English Sheriff being irremovable by any power under Heaven, but for malversation in office, while a Sheriff in the Province of Massachusetts Bay is to be removable by his Majesty, his Governour, or Deputy Governour, by which means the Executive power has virtually the appointing of Juries, and consequently the lives, fortunes, and personal liberty of the subjects of that Province, totally at their disposal and mercy; a state of subjugation, he hoped, no Englishman would ever be so mean, slavish, or servile to submit to. He then insisted that the Administration had uniformly, for a number of years back, endeavoured to deceive the Colonies; that they had so repeatedly violated their most solemn promises, that all confidence was at an end; that out of numberless instances, he should only select one, which was the letter written by the very noble Earl himself, (Earl of Hillsborough) accompanying the Revenue Act, wherein he pledged himself, by the most solemn assurances, that they were mere matter of form, and were meant to be immediately repealed, being intended as a nominal assertion of the Declaratory Law, passed in 1766. [Here his Grace was called to order by the Earl of Hillsborough, who insisted that the promise contained in the letter was not broken. His Grace contended it was, and said he would appeal to the letter itself, which he desired might be read. It was not however read.] His Grace proceeded to recount the particulars relative to that transaction, how the Duties on Paper, Painters Colours, and Glass, were repealed, in a pretended performance of that promise, while that on Tea, the cause of all the present confusions, was continued. He then turned to the avowed firmness of a noble Earl, high in office, (Earl Gower) who seemed so willing to court danger, to face the block, and fall with the ruins of the Constitution, or triumph in its constitutional maintenance. He comforted the noble Earl with the strongest assurances of his being in no danger; for it was easily avoided, by only at a convenient time altering his opinion; to prove which he would take the liberty of adverting to a particular fact which came within his own knowledge. And then he jocularly observed, that how ever small the minority might appear on the present question, he had seen as small hourly increase till it became the majority; and then told the following anecdote, which happened when Lord Bute was at the head of the Treasury, to prove it: "I remember, said his Grace, at that period, a Bill was brought into this House to prevent the Members from being screened from their debts. I heartily acceded to this Bill upon principle, and had the honour of being joined by the noble Lord then at the head of the Treasury. On the division, the Noes as usual went below the bar, when, missing their leader, they turned short, and were much surprised to see him on the other side. The late Charles Townshend remarked upon this circumstance, that he would hold two to one, in less than a year those very Members who divided against him, would creep under the table to join him. Had he been taken up he would have won the wager." He next reminded the noble Earl (Gower) of an instance of his docility which came more directly home to him, as being pe rsonally concerned. It was in the year 1766, before Christmas, when a noble friend of his (the late Duke of Bedford) made a motion for taking into consideration the state of the Nation. He doubted not but the noble Earl was to the full as ready to face the block then as now, in support of what he deemed his duty; but what was the consequence? The noble Earl, the author, of the present Bill, having in the interim met him at Bath, and having had some conversation with


him, the Parliament was adjourned to the day after the state of the Nation was to be taken into consideration; all inquiry was at an end, and the Nation left to shift for itself.

The Duke of Manchester lamented, in a very sensible manner, the present situation of affairs, and the dangerous consequences of a civil war, which he feared would terminate as the social war among the Romans did, in the inevitable destruction of the whole Empire. He was moderate, pathetick, and drew the attention of every side of the House. He did not pretend to determine on the contents of the present Bill, nor adopt it throughout; all he wished was, that one sober view should be taken of the great question, before, perhaps, we blindly rushed into a scene of confusion and civil strife, the event of which it was impossible to foresee.

Earl Temple said that he had never given, in publick or private, a decided opinion whether it was wise or not to pass the Stamp Act; but that he was abundantly convinced that all the evils and distractions now complained of were derived from the fatal repeal of it; that the Bills of last year were more exceptionable as to the mode than as to


the matter. He said nothing with regard to the contents of the Bill which had been read, and finished with expressing his disapprobation of rejecting in so harsh and unprecedented a manner a Bill designed for the most salutary purposes, and presented to their Lordships by a hand so truly respectable as that of his noble friend and relation; this reason alone deciding upon his vote.

The question upon Lord Sandwich' s motion was then put: Contents 61; Non-Contents 32.

It was resolved in the Affirmative.

Ordered, That the said Bill be rejected.

List of the Minority.

DUKES. — Cumberland, Richmond, Devonshire, Portland, Manchester, Northumberland.

MARQUISS. — Rockingham.

EARLS. — Stamford, Abingdon, Scarborough, Cholmondeley, Stafford, Tankerville, Stanhope, Effingham, Fitzwilliam, Temple, Radnor, Spencer, Chatham.

LORDS. — Abergavenny, Ferrers, Craven, Romney, King, Fortescue, Ponsonby, Lyttelton, Wycombe (Earl of Shelburne,) Sondes, Milton, Camden.