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Motion by the Duke of Richmon


Tuesday, March 5, 1776.

The Order of the Day being read, for the Lords to be summoned:

The Duke of Richmond moved, "That the following Address be presented to his Majesty," (videlicet:)

"Most Gracious Sovereign:

"We, your Majesty' s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal in Parliament assembled, humbly beg leave to represent to your Majesty, that it is with the utmost concern we have seen the Treaties which your Majesty, by the advice of your Ministers, has been pleased to enter into with their Serene Highnesses the Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, and the Count of Hanau, and which your Majesty has been graciously pleased to communicate to this House.

"We beg leave humbly to represent to your Majesty the sense we entertain of the danger and disgrace attending this inconsiderate measure, when it has been judged necessary, in the first exertions of Great Britain to subjugate her Colonies, to hire an army of foreign mercenaries, acknowledging to all Europe that these kingdoms are unable, either from want of men or from disinclination to this service, to furnish a competent number of natural-born subjects to make the first campaign. And it is a melancholy consideration, that the drawing off the national troops (though feeble for the unhappy purpose on which they are employed) will yet leave these kingdoms naked and exposed to the assault and invasion of powerful neighbouring and rival nations.

"And we further beg leave humbly to submit to your Majesty, that if the justice and equity of this unnatural war was not questioned by so large a part of your Majesty' s subjects, yet a reconciliation with the Colonies, though attended with some concessions, would be more agreeable to sound policy, than to entrust the prosecution of hostilities to foreigners, in whom we cannot confide, and who, when they are at so great a distance from their own country, and suffering under the distresses of war wherein they have no interest or concern, and with so many temptations to exchange vassalage for freedom, will be more likely to mutiny or desert, than to unite faithfully, and co-operate with your Majesty' s natural-born subjects.

"We ought not to conceal from your Majesty the anxiety we feel on the latitude of the articles in the several treaties which stipulate the power in your Majesty of employing these troops in any part of Europe. Means are hereby provided for introducing a foreign army even into this realm; and we cannot so far confide in your Majesty' s Ministers, as to suppose they would be very scrupulous in advising such a measure, since they have already introduced foreign troops into two of our strongest fortresses, and have offered to bring four thousand more foreigners into the kingdom of Ireland, without the consent of the British Parliament.

"That we have, moreover, just reason to apprehend that when the Colonies come to understand that Great Britain


is forming alliances, and hiring foreign troops for their destruction, they may think they are well justified by the example in endeavouring to avail themselves of the like assistance, and that France, Spain, Prussia, or other Powers of Europe, may conceive they have as good a right as Hesse, Brunswick, and Hanau, to interfere in our domestick quarrels; and if the flames of a war from these proceedings should be kindled in Europe, which we fear is too probable, we reflect with horrour upon the condition of this country, under circumstances wherein she may be called upon to resist the formidable attack of powerful enemies, which may require the exertion of her whole force, at a time when the strength and flower of the nation is employed in fruitless expeditions on the other side of the world.

"That the treaty, by stipulating not only to give to the Landgrave of Hesse, in case of attack or disturbance in the possession of his territories, all the succour which shall be in your Majesty' s power to give, but likewise to continue such succour until the Landgrave shall have obtained entire security, and a just indemnification, lays this kingdom under a necessity of taking part in every quarrel upon the continent, in which his Serene Highness may happen to be engaged, and that without any equivalent consideration to make the contract reciprocal, as this Island can expect no assistance in any of her wars from an inconsiderable sovereignty in the heart of Germany, from which more troops are already drawn than she is able to replace for her own defence, and whose revenues are not sufficient to maintain even those she has lent, without the aid of subsidy. We conceive, therefore, that this engagement of Great Britain to defend and indemnify, must be considered as part of the price she is to pay for the hire of these troops. If this article of charges (which cannot be estimated) be added to the enormous expenses of levy money, charges of making good the losses of the several corps, ordinary and extraordinary subsidies, and their continuation after the troops are returned to their respective countries, and can be of no use to Great Britain, — we may say with truth, that Great Britain never before entered into a treaty so expensive, so unequal, so dishonourable, and so dangerous in its consequences.

"We therefore humbly implore your Majesty to give immediate orders for stopping the march of the Hessian, Brunswick, and Hanau Troops, and for a suspension of hostilities in America, in order to lay the foundation of a speedy and permanent reconciliation between the great contending parts of this distracted empire."

It was moved, "To agree with the said motion."