Page images

noble earl, as a preparatory step to negociation, now become necessary. On the contrary, if negociation and peace were real objects to be attained, so far from such a measure having the desired effect, he believed, upon his honour, the Americans would laugh at us for our want of spirit, or impute it to imbecility, and the want of means either to assert our rights, or maintain our national reputation. His lordship next observed, that the noble earl had mentioned, that America was subordinate and dependent on this country, and con tended, as the true test of subordination, that the navigation act should be preserved inviolate in all its branches; yet the effect of the noble earl's speech is calculated to prove that we were not able to inforce that act, nor of course that constitutional dependence of which he supposes it to be the true basis. He had heard the noble earl say, "that if America persisted in asserting her independ ence, after the troops had been withdrawn, he would throw himself in their way." What could he mean by such a declaration, unless that of acknowledging the impossibility of subduing them by evacuating those ports we have got, which no future force could perhaps regain? For if they were thus left to the exercise of their own will they would not only be independent of this country, but in the course of twenty years, America, when she had established her marine, would be a superior empire. In reply to that part of lord Chatham's speech in which he denied ever officially sending out orders for hiring the Indian savages to wage war against the French; his lordship observed, that savages were employed on that occa sion, and in great numbers; and though perhaps not under the express direction of the noble earl, the mea sure was notwithstanding his, since the officers, so far from being called to any account for it by him, were at least tacitly justified in the deed. As to giving up the idea of subduing America, because we had been in one instance unfortunate, it was a proposition every way dis graceful to Britons. What would the house of Bourbon

without rising up, as much astonished dmade respecting was an Indian knife

think of such unexampled pusillanimity? Would she not conclude us an exhausted nation, and this a fit moment for her to wreak her vengeance on us? His lordship here apologized for the warmth into which the subject had betrayed him; but said he should have had to accuse himself, if he had permitted the supposed fears of a British senate, to get into the world, and shewing the folly of them. H at the great parade the noble ea the tomahawk and scalping-knife a more dreadful weapon than ai. Englishman's bayonet? In the present war the chief of the blood which had been shed, was shed by the point of the bayonet; yet who talked of the bayonet as a savage instrument of war? He wished as heartily as any noble lord present for a happy and honourable end of the contest, and perhaps the late misfortune might make it proper to hold out terms to America. He wished not, how ever, that it should induce us to withdraw our troops, as such a fatal measure would most assuredly give America a su periority and advantage we should never be able to sur mount. It would be indeed at once rendering her inde, pendent; and the moment America was lost, Great Bri tain would be ruined and undone.


On the same subject.

CHARGED lord Cardiff with inconsistency, declaring that he had shewn the American war to be impractica ble as to any good purpose, and yet advised administra.

tion to continue it with all possible exertion, His grace particularly complained of the ministry's withholding every species of necessary information from parliament. His grace drew a parallel between the probable fate of Britain and that of the Athenian commonwealth, respecting their Sicilian colonies. He said the oppression which Athens exercised over its colonies in the island of Sicily having caused the revolt of the Sicilians, the Sicilians, obediently and friendlily inclined, petitioned, and at length remonstrated, but all to no purpose; they must be sub dued. Armies were sent from Athens; they met with difficulties; they were defeated. New levies were made; still victory declared in favour of those who were fighting for what they deemed their rights. The Athenian armies were unsuccessful. At this critical period arose a great popular speaker, who was likewise a sol-. dier (adverting to the conduct of Nicias and Alci biades.) He made speeches, he proved the justice of the war; he prophesied success; he got the command of the army. What was the issue? The army was cut off; he fell himself; Sicily was lost : Athens was drained, exhausted and weakened; she became a prey to her ambitious neighbour, the state of Sparta. The pride and power and military glory of Athens was no more : her rival Sparta gave her laws, armies, protection, and legislators; and such was the fate of that once glorious republic. The people of this country had been spirited up in a similar manner; they had been deluded and imposed upon by specious tales and inflammatory speeches. Mr. Burgoyne's blind efforts to penetrate through Canada were like the land march of the Athenian generals towards Syracuse they were equally brave; but their plans being both unjust, and wanting wisdom, their fortitude was unjustifiable; and he was very apprehensive, from similitude of circumstances, that the issue upon the whole would be precisely the same; that of certain ruin and destruction falling on the head of the aggressor.


On Lord Oxford's Motion to adjourn the House.

Ir is not with less grief than astonishment I hear the motion now made by the noble earl, at a time when the affairs of this country present on every side prospects full of awe, terror, and impending danger; when, I will be bold to say, events of a most alarming tendency, little expected or foreseen, will shortly happen; when a cloud, that may crush this nation, and bury it in destruction for ever, is ready to burst and overwhelm us in ruin. At so tremendous a season, it does not become your lordships, the great hereditary council of the nation, to neglect your duty, to retire to your country seats for six weeks, in quest of joy and merriment, while the real state of public affairs calls for grief, mourning, and lamentation; at least, for the fullest exertions of your wisdom. It is your duty, my lords, as the grand hereditary council of the nation, to advise your sovereign, to be the protectors of your country, to feel your own weight and authority. As hereditary counsellors, as members of this house, you stand between the crown and the people; you are nearer the throne than the other branch of the legislature; it is your duty to surround and protect, to counsel and supplicate it. You hold the balance; your duty is to see that the weights are properly poised, that the balance remains even, that neither may encroach on the other, and that the executive power may be prevented, by an unconstitutional exertion of even constitutional authority, from bringing the nation to destruction. My lords, I fear we are ar rived at the very brink of that state; and I am persuaded

that nothing short of a spirited interposition on your part, in giving speedy and wholesome advice to your sovereign, can prevent the people from feeling beyond remedy the full effects of that ruin which ministers have brought upon us. These calamitous circumstances ministers have been the cause of: and shall we, in such a state of things, when every moment teems with events productive of the most fatal narratives, shall we trust, during an adjournment of six weeks, to those men who have brought those calamities upon us, when, per. haps, our utter overthrow is plotting, nay ripe for exe cution, without almost a possibility of prevention? Ten thousand brave men have fallen victims to ignorance and rashness. The only army you have in America may, by this time, be no more. This very nation re mains no longer safe than its enemies think proper to permit. I do not augur ill. Events of a most critical nature may take place before our next meeting. Will your lordships, then, in such a 'state of things, trust to the guidance of men who in every single step of this cruel, this wicked war, from the very beginning, have proved themselves weak, ignorant, and mistaken? I will not say, my lords, nor do I mean any thing personal, or that they have brought premeditated ruin on this coun try. I will not suppose that they foresaw what has since happened; but I do contend, my lords, that their want of wisdom, their incapacity, their temerity in depending on their own judgment, or their base compliances with the orders and dictates of others, perhaps caused by the influence of one or two individuals, have rendered them totally unworthy of your lordships' confidence, of the confidence of parliament, and those whose rights they are the constitutional guardians of, the people at large, A remonstrance, my lords, should be carried to the throne. The king has been deluded by his ministers; they have been imposed on by false information, or have, from motives best known to themselves, given apparent credit to what they have been convinced in

« PreviousContinue »