« PreviousContinue »
one power in Europe. I say, sir, by any one pain of being entirely deserted by us. power in Europe ; for I defy our ministers to was offered both by the Emperor and the French, show that even the Queen of Hungary desired upon the terms of uti possidetis, with respect to any such thing before it was resolved on. I Germany; but, for what reason I can not combelieve some of her ministers were free enough prehend, we were so far from advising the Queen to declare that the money those troops cost of Hungary to accept, that I believe we advised would have done her much more service; and I her to reject it. am sure we were so far from being called on This, sir, was a conduct in our ministers so by the Dutch to do so, that it was resolved on very extraordinary, so directly opposite to the without their participation, and the measures interest of this nation, and the security of the carried into execution, I believe, expressly con- balance of power, that I can suggest to myself trary to their advice.
no one reason for it, but that they were resolved This resolution, sir, was so far from having to put this nation to the expense of maintaining any influence on the King of Prussia, that he sixteen thousand Hanoverians. This I am afraid continued firm to bis alliance with France, and was the true motive with our new ministers for fought the battle of Czaslau after he knew such all the warlike measures they resolved on. Notha resolution was taken. If he had continued ing would now satisfy us but a conquest of Alsace firm in the same sentiments, I am very sure our and Lorraine in order to give them to the Queen troops neither would nor could have been of the of Hungary, as an equivalent for what she had least service to the Queen of Hungary. But the lost. And this we resolved on, or at least prebattle of Czaslau fully convinced him that the tended to resolve on, at a time when France and French designed chiefly to play one German Prussia were in close conjunction; at a time prince against another, in order to weaken both; when no one of the powers of Europe could asand perhaps he had before this discovered, that, sist us; at a time when none of them entertained according to the French scheme, his share of a jealousy of the ambitious designs of France; Silesia was not to be so considerable as he ex- and at a time when most of the princes of Gerpected. These considerations, and not the elo many were so jealous of the power of the house quence or address of any of our ministers, in- of Austria, that we had great reason to appreclined him to come to an agreement with the hend that the most considerable of these would Queen of Hungary. As she was now convinced join against us, in case we should meet with any that she could not depend upon our promises, success. she readily agreed to his terms, though his de- Sir, if our ministers were really serious in this mands were now much more extravagant than scheme, it was one of the most romantic that they were at first ; and, what is worse, they ever entered the head of an English Quixote. were now unaccompanied with any one promise But if they made it only a pretext for putting or consideration, except that of a neutrality; this nation to the expense of maintaining sixwhereas his first demands were made palatable teen thousand Hanoverians, or of acquiring some by the tender of a large sum of money, and by new territory for the Electorate of Hanover, I the promise of his utmost assistance, not only in am sure no British House of Commons can apsupporting the Pragmatic Sanction, but in rais- prove their conduct. It is absurd, sir, to say ing her husband, the Duke of Lorraine, to the that we could not advise the Queen of Hungary imperial throne. Nay, originally, he even in- to accept of the terms offered by the Emperor sinuated that he would embrace the first oppor- and France, at a time when their troops were tunity to assist in procuring her house an equiv- cooped up in the city of Prague, and when the alent for whatever part of Silesia she should re- terms were offered with a view only to get their sigo to him.
troops at liberty, and to take the first opportuThis accommodation between the Queen of nity to attack her with more vigor. This, I say, Hungary and the King of Prussia, and that which is absurd, because, had she accepted the terms soon after followed between her and the Duke of proposed, she might have had them guaranteed Saxony, produced a very great alteration in the by the Dutch, by the German body, and by all allairs of Europe. But, as these last powers the powerful princes of Germany; which would promised nothing but a neutrality, and as the have brought all these powers into a confederacy Dutch absolutely refused to join, either with the with us against the Emperor and France, if they Queen of Hungary or with ourselves, in any of had afterward attacked her in Germany; and all fensive measures against France, it was still im- of them, but especially the Dutch, and the King possible for us to think of restoring the house of of Prussia, would have been ready to join us, had Austria to such power as to render it a match the French attacked her in Flanders. It is for the power of France. We ought, therefore, equally absurd to say that she could not accept still to have thought only of negotiation, in order of these terms, because they contained nothing to restore the peace of Germany by an accom- for the security of her dominions in Italy. For modation between her and the Emperor. The suppose the war had continued in Italy, if the distresses to which the Bavarian and French ar- Queen of Hungary had been safe upon the side mies in Germany were driven furnished us with of Germany, she could have poured such a numsuch an opportunity: this we ought by all means ber of troops into Italy as would have been suffito have embraced, and to have insisted on the cient to oppose and defeat all the armies that Queen of Hungary's doing the same, under the both the French and Spaniards could send to and
maintain in that country; since we could, by our / got the better of their discretion, as well as of superior fleets, have made it impossible for the their military discipline. This made them atFrench and Spaniards to maintain great armies tack, instead of waiting to be attacked; and then, in that country.
by the bravery of the English foot, and the cow. No other reason can therefore be assigned for ardice of their own, they met with a severe rethe Queen of Hungary's refusal of the terms pulse, which put their whole army into confuproposed to her for restoring the tranquillity of sion, and obliged them to retire with precipitaGermany than this alone, that we had promised tion across the Mayn. Our army thus escaped to assist her so effectually as to enable her to the snare into which they had been led, and was conquer a part of France, by way of equivalent enabled to pursue its retreat to Hanau. for what she had lost in Germany and Italy. This, sir, was a signal advantage; but was it Such assistance it was neither our interest nor followed up? Did we press upon the enemy in in our power to give, considering the circum- their precipitate retreat across a great river, stances of Europe. I am really surprised that where many of them must have been lost had the Queen of Hungary came to trust a second they been closely pursued ? Did we endeavor time to our promises ; for I may venture to to take the least advantage of the confusion into prophesy that she will find herself again deceiv- which their unexpected repulse had thrown ed. We shall put ourselves to a vast unneces- them ? No, sir; the ardor of the British troops sary expense, as we did when she was first at- was restrained by the cowardice of the Hanotacked by Prussia ; and without being able to verians ; and, instead of pursuing the enemy, we raise a jealousy in the other powers of Europe, ourselves ran away in the night with such haste we shall give France a pretense for conquering that we left all our wounded to the mercy and Flanders, which, otherwise, she would not have care of the enemy, who had the honor of burydone. We may bring the Queen of Hungary a ing our dead as well as their own. This action second time to the verge of destruction, and may, therefore, on our side, be called a fortunate leave her there ; for that we certainly shall do, escape ; I shall never give my consent to honor as soon as Hanover comes to be a second time it with the name of victory. in danger. From all which I must conclude, After this escape, sir, our army was joined by that our present scheme of politics is fundament- a very large re-enforcement. Did this revive ally wrong, and that the longer we continue to
our courage, or urge us on to give batile ? Not build upon such a foundation, the more danger- in the least, sir; though the French continued ous it will be for us. The whole fabric will in- for some time upon the German side of the Rhine, volve this unfortunate nation in its ruins. we never offered to attack them, or to give them
III. But now, sir, let us see how we have the least disturbance. At last, upon Prince Conduct of prosecuted this scheme, bad as it is, dur-Charles's approach with the Austrian army, the
ing the last campaign. As this nation French not only repassed the Rhine, but retired must bear the chief part of the expense, it was quite out of Germany. And as the Austrian certainly our business to prosecute the war with army and the allied army might then have joinall possible vigor ; to come to action as soon as ed, and might both have passed the Rhine withpossible, and to push every advantage to the ut- out opposition at Mentz, or almost any where
Since we soon found that we could not in the Palatinate, it was expected that both arattack the French upon the side of Flanders, mies would have marched together into Lorwhy were our troops so long marching into raine, or in search of the French army. in order Germany ? Or, indeed, I should ask, why our to force them to a battle. Instead of this, sir, armies were not first assembled in that country? Prince Charles marched up the German side of Why did they continue so long inactive upon the the Rhine—to do what? To pass that great Mayn? If our army was not numerous enough river, in the sight of a French army equal in to attack the French, why were the Hessians number to his own, which, without some extraleft behind for some time in Flanders? Why ordinary neglect in the French, was impracticadid we not send over twenty thousand of those ble; and so it was found by experience. Thus regular troops that were lying idle here at the whole campaign upon that side was conhome? How to answer all those questions I sumed in often attempting what so often appearcan not tell; but it is certain we never thoughted to be impracticable. of attacking the French army in our neighbor- On the other side-I mean that of the allied hood, and, I believe, expected very little to be army-was there any thing of consequence perattacked ourselves. Nay, I doubt much if any formed ? I know of nothing, sir, but that of action would have happened during the whole sending a party of hussars into Lorraine with a campaign, if the French had not, by the miscon- manifesto. The army, indeed, passed the Rhine duct of some one or other of our generals, caught at Mentz, and marched up to the French lines our army in a hose-net, from which it could not upon the frontier of Alsace, but never offered to have escaped, had all the French generals ob- pass those lines until the French had abandoned served the direction of their commander-in-chief; them, I believe with a design to draw our army had they thought only of guarding and fortifying into some snare ; for, upon the return of the themselves in the defile (Dettingen), and not of French toward those lines, we retired with much marching up to attack our troops. Thank God, greater haste than we had advanced, though the sir, the courage of some of the French generals Dutch auxiliaries were then come up and pre
tended, at least, to be ready to join our army. | present happy establishment to consider what I have heard, however, that they found a pre- might be the consequence of the Pretender's text for never coming into the line; and I doubt | landing among us at the head of a French army. much if they would have marched with us to at- Would he not be looked upon by most men as a tack the French army in their own territories, savior ? Would not the majority of the people or to invest any of the fortified places; for I must join with him, in order to rescue the nation from observe that the French lines upon the Queich those that had brought it into such confusion ? were not all of them within the territories of This danger, sir, is, I hope, imaginary, but I am France. But suppose this Datch detachment sure it is far from being so imaginary as that bad been ready to march with us to attack the which has been held out in this debate, the danFrench in their own territories, or to invest some ger of all the powers of the continent of Europe of their fortified places, I can not join in any being brought under such a slavish dependence congratulation upon that event; for a small de- upon France as to join with her in conquering tachment of Dutch troops can never enable us this island, or in bringing it under the same to execute the vast scheme we have undertaken. slavish dependence with themselves. The whole force of that republic would not be I had almost forgotten, sir (I wish future nasufficient for the purpose, because we should tions may forget), to mention the Treaty of have the majority of the empire against us; and, Worms. I wish that treaty could be erased therefore, if the Dutch had joined totis viribus from our annals and our records, so as never to in our scheme, instead of congratulating, I should be mentioned hereafter : for that treaty, with its have bemoaned their running mad by our exam- appendix, the convention that followed, is one of ple and at our instigation.
the most destructive, unjust, and absurd that was IV. Having now briefly examined our past ever concluded. By that treaty we have taken Prospects for conduct, from the few remarks I have upon ourselves a burden which I think it impos
made, I believe, sir, it will appear that, sible for us to support; we have engaged in supposing our scheme to be in itself possible and such an act of injustice toward Genoa as must practicable, we have no reason to hope for suc- alarm all Europe, and give to the French a most cess if it be not prosecuted with more vigor and signal advantage. From this, sir, all the princes with better conduct than it was during the last of Europe will see what regard we have to juscampaign. While we continue in the prosecu- tice when we think that the power is on our side; tion of this scheme, whoever may lose, the Han- most of them, therefore, will probably join with overians will be considerable gainers. They France in curtailing our power, or, at least, in will draw four or five hundred thousand pounds preventing its increase. yearly from this nation over and above what they have annually drawn, ever since they had fensive alliance, concluded on the 2d of September,
4 The Treaty of Worms was an offensive and de. the good fortune to be united under the same
1743, between England, Austria, and Sardinia. By sovereign with ourselves. But we ought to con
it the Queen of Hungary agreed to transfer to the sider-even the Hanoverians ought to consider King of Sardinia the city and part of the duchy of —that this nation is not now in a condition to Placentia, the Vigevanesco, part of the duchy of Pacarry on an expensive war for ten or twelve via, and the county of Anghiera, as well as her years, as it did in the reign of Queen Anne. claims to the marquisate of Finale, which had been We may fund it out for one, two, or three years; VI. for the sam of 400,000 golden crowns, for which
ceded to the Genoese by the late Emperor Charles but the public debt is now so large that, if we go on adding millions to it every year, our credit Hangary also engaged to maintain 30,000 men in
it had been previously mortgaged. The Queen of will at last (sooner, I fear, than some among us Italy, to be commanded by the King of Sardinia. may imagine) certainly be undone; and if this Great Britain agreed to pay the sum of £300,000 for misfortune should occur, neither Hanover nor the cession of Finale, and to furnish an annual subany other foreign state would be able to draw sidy of £200,000, on the condition that the King of another shilling from the country. A stop 10 Sardinia should employ 45,000 men. In addition to our public credit would put an end to our paper supplying these sums, Great Britain agreed to send currency. A universal bankruptcy would en
a strong squadron into the Mediterranean, to act in
concert with the allied forces. By a separate and sue, and all the little ready money left among secret convention, agreed to at the same time and us would be locked up in iron chests, or hid in place as the treaty, but which was never ratified by-corners by the happy possessors. It would nor publicly avowed, it was stipulated that Great then be impossible to raise our taxes, and conse- Britain should pay to the Queen of Hungary an anquently impossible to maintain either fleets or nual subsidy of £300,000, not merely during the war, armies. Our troops abroad would be obliged to but so long " as the necessity of her affairs should enter into the service of any prince that could require.". The terms of the Treaty of Worms relamaintain them, and our troops at home would be tive to the cession of the marquisate of Finale to obliged to live upon free quarter. But this they since that territory had been guaranteed to them by
Sardinia were particularly unjust to the Genoese, could not do long; for the farmer would neither the fourth article of the Quadruple Alliance, consow nor reap if he found his produce taken from cluded on the 2d of August, 1718, between Great him by the starving soldier. In these circum- Britain, France, Austria, and Holland.-Coxe's Ausstances, I must desire the real friends of our tria, chap. civ. Lord Mahon's Hist. of England, vol. The alliance of Sardinia and its assistance would any gentleman have refused to congratumay, I admit, be of great use to us in defeating late his Majesty upon any fortụnate event hapthe designs of the Spaniards in Italy. But gold pening to the royal family. The honorable genitself may be bought too dear; and I sear we tleman would have desired no more than this, shall find the purchase we have made to be but had he intended that his motion should be unanprecarious, especially if Sardinia should be at- imously agreed to. But ministers are generally tacked by France as well as by Spain, the almost the authors and drawers up of the motion, and certain consequence of our present scheme of they always have a greater regard for thempolitics. For these reasons, sir, I hope there is selves than for the service of their sovereign; not any gentleman, nor even any minister, who that is the true reason why such motions seldom expects that I should declare my satisfaction that meet with unanimous approbation. this treaty has been concluded.
iii., p. 231. Belsham's Hist. of England, vol. iv., p. 2 With all their forces.
82, et seq.
As to the danger, sir, of our returning or not It is very surprising, sir, to hear gentlemen returning to our national custom upon this oc. talk of the great advantages of unanimity in our casion, I think it lies wholly upon the side of our proceedings, when, at the time, they are doing not returning. I have shown that the measures all they can to prevent unanimity. If the hon- we are now pursuing are fundamentally wrong, orable gentleman had intended that what he pro- and that the longer we pursue them, the heavier posed should be unanimously agreed to, he would our misfortunes will prove. Unless some signal have returned to the ancient custom of Parlia- providence interpose, experience, I am convinced, ment which some of his new friends have, on will confirm what I say. By the immediate informer occasions, so often recommended. It is tervention of Providence, we may, it is true, suca new doctrine to pretend that we ought in our ceed in the most improbable schemes; but Provaddress to return some sort of answer to every idence seems to be against us. thing mentioned in his Majesty's speech. It is therefore, we repent and amend, the better it a doctrine that has prevailed only since our Par- will be for us; and unless repentance begins in liaments began to look more like French than this House, I shall no where expect it until dire English Parliaments; and now we pretend to be experience has convinced us of our errors. such enemies of France, I supposed we should For these reasons, sir, I wish, I hope, that we have laid aside a doctrine which the very meth- may now begin to put a stop to the farther prosod of proceeding in Parliament must show to be ecution of these disastrous measures, by refusing false. His Majesty's speech is not now so much them our approbation. If we put a negative as under our consideration, but upon a previous upon this question, it may awaken our ministers order for that purpose; therefore we can not now
from their deceitful dreams. If we agree to it, properly take notice of its contents, any farther they will dream on till they have dreamed Euthan to determine whether we ought to return rope their country, and themselves into utter thanks for it or not. Even this we may resuse, perdition. If they stop now, the nation may rewithout being guilty of any breach of duty to our cover; but if by such a flattering address we sovereign; but of this, I believe, no gentleman encourage them to go on, it may soon become would have thought, had the honorable gentle- impossible for them to retreat. For the sake of man who made this motion not attached to it a Europe, therefore, for the sake of my country, long and fulsome panegyric upon the conduct of I most heartily join in putting a negative upon our ministers. I am convinced no gentleman the question. would have objected to our expressing our duty to our sovereign, and our zeal for his service, in Aster a protracted debate, the address was the strongest and most affectionate terms: nor carried by a vote of 279 to 149.
OF LORD CHATHAM ON AN ADDRESS TO THE THRONE, IN WHICH THE RIGHT OF TAXING
AMERICA IS DISCUSSED, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, JANUARY 14, 1766.
INTRODUCTION. MR. GEORGE GRENVILLE, during his brief administration from 1763 to 1765, adopted a plan for replen. ishing the exhausted treasury of Great Britain, which had been often proposed before, but rejected by every preceding minister. It was that of levying direct taxes on the American colonies. His famous Stamp Act was brought forward February 7th, 1765. It was strongly opposed by Colonel Barré, who thus indignantly replied to the charge of ingratitude, brought by Charles Townsend against the Ameri. cans, as "children planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence, and protected by our arms," &c.
They planted by your care ?" said Colonel Barré: “No! Your oppressions planted them in America. They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated and inhospitable country, where they exposed them. selves to almost all the hardships to which buman vature is liable ; and, among others, to the cruelties of a savage foe, the most subtle, and, I will take it upon me to say, the most formidable of any people on earth; and yet, actuated by principles of true English liberty, they met all hardships with pleasure, com.
pared with those they suffered in their native land from the hands of those who should have been their friends. They nourished by your indulgence? They grew by your neglect of them! As soon as you began to care about them, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule them, who were, perhaps, the deputies of deputies to some members of this House-sent to spy out their liberties, to misrepresent their actions, and to prey upon them-men promoted to the highest seats of justice; some of whom, to my knowledge, were glad, by going to a foreign country, to escape being brought to the bar of a court of justice in their own. They protected by your arms ? They have nobly taken arms in your defense; have exerted a valor, amid their constant and laborious industry, for the de. fense of a country whose frontier was drenched in blood, while its interior yielded all its little savings to your emolument. And—believe me-remember I this day told you so—that same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first, will accompany them still. But prudence forbids me to say more. God knows I do not, at this time, speak from motives of party beat. What I deliver are the genuine septi. ments of my heart. However superior to me in general knowledge and experience the respectable body of this House may be, I claim to know more of America than most of you, having seen and been conversaut with that country. The people are, I believe, as truly loyal as any subjects the King has; but a people jealous of their liberties, and who will vindicate them, if they should ever be violated."
This prophetic warning was in vain. The bill was passed on the 22d of March, 1765.
A few months after, the ministry of Mr. Grenville came abruptly to an end, and was followed by the adıninistration of Lord Rockingham. That able statesman was fully convinced that nothing but the re. peal of the Stamp Act could restore tranquillity to the colonies, which, according to Colonel Barré's predictions, were in a state of almost open resistance. The news of this resistance reached England at the close of 1765, and Parliament was summoned on the 17th of December. The plan of the ministry was to repeal the Stamp Act; but, in accordance with the King's wishes, to re-assert (in doing so) the right of Par. liament to tax the colonies. Against this course Mr. Pitt determined to take his stand; and when the ordinary address was made in answer to the King's speech, he entered at once on the subject of Ameri. can taxation, in a strain of the boldest eloquence. His speech was reported by Sir Robert Dean, assisted by Lord Charlemont, and, though obvionsly broken and imperfect, gives us far more of the language actually used by Mr. Pitt than any of the preceding speeches.
SPEECH, &c. Me. SPEAKER, -I came to town but to-day own, I advised them to do it—but, notwithstandI was a stranger to the tenor of his Majesty's ing (sor I love to be explicit), I can not give them speech, and the proposed address, till I heard my confidence. Pardon me, gentlemen [bowing them read in this House. Unconnected and un- to the ministry), confidence is a plant of slow consulted, I have not the means of information. growth in an aged bosom. Youth is the season I am fearful of offending through mistake, and of credulity. By comparing events with each therefore beg to be indulged with a second read other, reasoning from effects to causes, methinks ing of the proposed address. (The address being I plainly discover the traces of an overruling in. read, Mr. Pitt went on :] I commend the King's fluence.? speech, and approve of the address in answer, There is a clause in the Act of Settlement as it decides nothing, every gentleman being obliging every minister to sign his name to the left at perfect liberty to take such a part con- advice which he gives to his sovereign. Would cerning America as he may afterward see fit. it were observed! I have had the honor to serve One word only I can not approve of : an "early," the Crown, and if I could have submitted to inis a word that does not belong to the notice the fluence, I might have still continued to serve : ministry have given to Parliament of the troubles but I would not be responsible for others. I in America. In a matter of such importance, have no local attachments. It is indifferent to the communication ought to have been imme- me whether a man was rocked in his cradle on diate!
this side or that side of the Tweed. I sought I speak not now with respect to parties. I for merit wherever it was to be found. It is my stand up in this place single and independent. boast, that I was the first minister who looked As to the late ministry (turning himself to Mr. for it, and found it, in the mountains of the North. Grenville, who sat within one of him), every cap. I called it forth, and drew into your service a ital measure they have taken has been entirely hardy and intrepid race of men-men, who, wrong! As to the present gentlemen, to those when lest by your jealousy, became a prey to at least whom I have in my eye looking at the the artifices of your enemies, and had gone nigh bench where General Conway sat with the lords of the treasury), I have no objection. I have Chas. Butler says in his Reminiscences, “ Those never been made a sacrifice by any of them.
who remember the air of condescending protection Their characters are fair ; and I am always with which the bow was made and the look given glad when men of fair character engage in his will recollect how much they themselves, at the mo
ment, were both delighted and awed ; and what they Majesty's service.
Some of them did me the themselves conceived of the immeasurable superi. honor to ask my opinion before they would en- ority of the speaker over every other human being gage. These will now do me the justice to that surrounded bim."