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we persisted in it, clearly removed us farther off from the moment of reconciliation and of reason, and tended rather to create new difficulties, than to smooth the path to peace and friendship. As to the proposed address, it was a dark and desperate attempt to blind the eyes of the king, and to insult the people of England. Was there any one independent member of that house, who would stand up in his place, and say, that those men who had hitherto so misguided the affairs of the kingdom, and in whose hands almost every undertaking had failed, ought to be trusted with the farther management of a war, which they had so wretchedly conducted? What had been done, in recompence for the effusion of human blood that this war had exhibited, and for the enormous grants of supplies with which the ministry had been entrusted? The great events of the war were nothing but so many fatal misfortunes, defeat and ignominy following every effort of our arms, from one end of the continent of America to the other. He there. fore implored the house, not to vote for an address which was fraught with hypocrisy and treachery; and which could not have been framed by any who had the smallest spark of regard for the honour of the king, the dignity of parliament, or the interest of the nation.
SIR. JAMES LOWTHER,
Against the Continuance of the American War,
OBSERVED, that the late speech from the throne had given a just alarm to the nation; it had shewn them, that the ministry were determined to persevere in the
American war; that they had a bigotted attachment to it; and that more blood and more money was to be lavished in this ruinous and fatal contest. The men wha were invested with the powers of government derived no advantage from experience. The surrender of one army only gave them spirit to risk and to lose a second; and the surrender of a second only instigated them to venture a third. There was no end of loss, nor of madness. Administration went on, from year to year, against the voice of the people of England, because they were supported by a set of men, whom they paid for that purpose in that house. But every unprejudiced and uncorrupted Englishman perceived the wretched and disgraceful situation of his country. He saw the inferiority of our fleets, and the inefficacy of our armies. The melancholy experience of seven years had afforded too much evidence, that the continuance of the American war would lead to irretrievable destruction. The unexampled ignorance, and infamous mismanagement of the ministry, were now visible to all the world; and those delusions which had sheltered and enriched the most unprincipled, whilst they afflicted and impoverished the best citizens of the empire, had lost the power of imposing on the awakened understanding, and of amusing with ideas of imaginary security, the wounded feelings of an irritated nation. When every hope of our success against the colonists was fled for ever, it seemed a proof of madness to presist in the commission of hos tilities, which might remove all opportunities of introducing future peace and lasting conciliation. It was, therefore, the indispensable duty of that house, before they voted the supplies requisite for the army, to come to some solemn resolution, in order to mark and define their idea of the American war; and to convince their constituents, that they were awake to the real situation of the country, and anxious to execute their duty, in a manner becoming the representatives of a great and free people.
On the same subject.
He declared, that the vote of that day must either accelerate the ruin of Great Britain, or prove the instru ment of restoring it to its habitual lustre, to all its former power, and to the plenitude of happiness and honour. A variety of pretexts, insidiously advanced by the ministry, and too credulously received by the majo rity of that house, had seduced them, from one session to another, to move with fatal steps along the path to national destruction. They had persevered in the Ame rican war against the voice of reason and of wisdom, against that experience which ought to have taught them, and that calamity which ought to have made them feel. That war was the idol of his majesty's ministers, to which they had sacrificed the interests of the empire, and almost half its territories. They had bowed before it themselves, and had made the nation bow. They had asserted, that the public resources were not exhausted; and they had made this assertion, because they themselves found no diminution of income. Their annual incomes arose out of the public purse; and instead of diminishing they increased with the misfortunes, and with the impoverishment of the country.
It would be ridiculous to imagine, Mr. Powys proceeded to observe, that many of those gentlemen who had formerly conceived hopes that the Americans would be compelled to fall, with unconditional submission, at the feet of England, had not relinquished such extravagant ideas. They could not remain insensible, that all arguments for the continuance of the war against the colonies had lost their force. The conduct, which, at the commencement of hostilities, was denominated firmness,
had now degenerated into the grossest obstinacy: an obstinacy, which called upon all honest and independent men to desert the present administration, unless a change of measures were adopted. As to the perseverance of the ministry, in their attempts to vanquish the Americans, that was not in itself a subject of much astonishment. To war they were greatly indebted for the possession of their places, for the enjoyment of immense profits, and of a powerful and far extended influence arising from them. Peace would overwhelm them with insignificancy. It would strip them of the honours and of the advantages of office. It would throw them from the seats, which they had filled to the disgrace and to the ruin of the kingdom. This was the ground of their struggle for the continuance of hostilities against the colonies. That such men should persevere in such iniquitous and selfish measures, was not extraordinary. But it was a just cause for wonder, that they should be supported by individuals of independent principles, and independent fortunes. It could not be denied, that men, of this description were still amongst the friends of the ministry; and such gentlemen themselves only could explain, what the motives were for the continuance of an attachment, which in the general opinion was unexampled and unaccountable. The insidious pretence, that it was necessary to make war against the colonists, as the sole means of gaining from them a revenue for the service of government, was grown at length too stale for imposition. That idea had been dropt: and, therefore, could not operate as a reason for an attachment to the measures of the ministry.
SIR GEORGE SAVILLE,
(Member for Yorkshire,)
Distinguished himself by his opposition to the American war, and by bringing in the bill for the repeal of the penal statutes against the Roman Catholics. His speeches abound with real wit and humour. He died 1784, at the age of 59.
On the American War.
He had not been in town, he said, when the king's speech was delivered, nor when the address in answer to it was agreed upon, having been prevented by ill health. But when he read the royal speech in the country, it filled him with horror; because it announced a continuance of the destructive war with the Americans. As to the answer to the speech, experience had convinced him, that the address of that house was avowed to mean nothing; that it was an empty form, and generally nothing more than a mere echo, to the words in the speech from the throne, which was also the speech of the minister, This echo had always been, and this echo would perpetually continue; and in so ridiculous a degree, that were the speech from the throne a repetition of the line,
What beauties does Flora disclose! the echo from that house would fill up the couplet, and reply,
How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed!
In fact the crown and the two houses danced a minuet together, to a tune of the ministers composing. The crown led off one way; the two houses in a similar step to the opposite corner; then they joined hands, and, at length, finished just as the dance began.