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and their private internal property. Let the sa-onciliation, you delay forever. But, admitting credness of their property remain inviolate. Let that this hope (which in truth is desperate) it be taxable only by their own consent, given should be accomplished, what do you gain by the in their provincial assemblies, else it will cease imposition of your victorious amity? You will to be property. As to the metaphysical refine- be untrusted and unthanked. Adopt, then, the ments, attempting to show that the Americans grace, while you have the opportunity, of reconare equally free from obedience and commercial cilement—or at least prepare the way. Allay restraints, as from taxation for revenue, as being the ferment prevailing in America, by removing anrepresented here, I pronounce them futile, friv- the obnoxious hostile cause-obnoxious and unolous, and groundless.
serviceable ; for their merit can be only inaction : When I urge this measure of recalling the “Non dimicare est vincere," their victory can troops from Boston, I urge it on this pressing never be by exertions. Their force would be principle, that it is necessarily preparatory to most disproportionately exerted against a brave, the restoration of your peace and the establish- generous, and united people, with arms in their ment of your prosperity. It will then appear hands, and courage in their hearts: three millthat you are disposed to treat amicably and eq- ions of people, the genuine descendants of a uitably; and to consider, revise, and repeal, if it valiant and pious ancestry, driven to those deserts should be found necessary (as I affirm it will), by the narrow maxims of a superstitious tyranny. those violent acts and declarations which have And is the spirit of persecution never to be apdisseminated confusion throughout your empire. peased ? Are the brave sons of those brave
Resistance to your acts was necessary as it forefathers to inherit their sufferings, as they was just; and your vain declarations of the om- have inherited their virtues ? Are they to sus. nipotence of Parliament, and your imperious doc- tain the infliction of the most oppressive and untrines of the necessity of submission, will be found exampled severity, beyond the accounts of hisequally impotent to convince or to enslave your tory or description of poetry : “Rhadamanthus fellow-subjects in America, who feel that tyranny, habet durissima regna, castigatque auditque.”5 whether ambitioned by an individual part of the So says the wisest poet, and perhaps the wisest Legislature, or the bodies who compose it, is statesman and politician. But our ministers say equally intolerable to British subjects. the Americans must not be heard. They have
The means of enforcing this thraldom are been condemned unheard. The indiscriminate found to be as ridiculous and weak in practice hand of vengeance has lumped together innocent as they are unjust in principle. Indeed, I can and guilty; with all the formalities of hostility, not but feel the most anxious sensibility for the has blocked up the town (Boston), and reduced situation of General Gage, and the troops under to beggary and famine thirty thousand inhabit. his command; thinking him, as I do, a man of ants. humanity and understanding; and entertaining, But his Majesty is advised that the union in as I ever will, the highest respect, the warmest America can not last. Ministers have more love for the British troops. Their situation is eyes than I, and should have more ears; but, truly unworthy ; penned up—pining in inglorious with all the information I have been able to proinactivity. They are an army of impotence. cure, I can pronounce it a union solid, permaYou may call them an army of safety and of nent, and effectual. Ministers may satisfy themguard; but they are, in truth, an army of impo- selves, and delude the public, with the report of tence and contempt; and, to make the folly equal what they call commercial bodies in America. to the disgrace, they are an army of irritation and They are not commercial. They are your packvexation.
ers and factors. They live upon nothing, for I But I find a report creeping abroad that min-call commission nothing. I speak of the minisisters censure General Gage's inactivity. Let terial authority for this American intelligencethem censure him — it becomes them — it be the runners for government, who are paid for comes their justice and their honor. I mean not their intelligence. But these are not the men, to censure his inactivity. It is a prudent and nor this the influence, to be considered in Amernecessary inaction; but it is a miserable condi- ica, when we estimate the firmness of their union. tion, where disgrace is prudence, and where it is Even to extend the question, and to take in the necessary to be contemptible. This tameness, however contemptible, can not be censured; for
4 Not to fight is to conquer. the first drop of blood shed in civil and unnatu
* The passage is from the Æneid of Virgil, book
vi., 366–7. ral war might be “immedicabile vulnus.”:3 I therefore urge and conjure your Lordships Goosius hæc Rhadamanthus habet durissima regna,
Castigatque auditque dolos. immediately to adopt this conciliating measure.
O'er these dire realms I will pledge myself for its inimediately produo
The Cretan Rhadamanthus holds his sway, ing conciliatory effects, by its being thus well
And lashes guilty souls, whose wiles and crimes timed; but if you delay till your vain hope shall He hears. be accomplished of triumphantly dictating rec. Lord Chatham, from the order of the words, gives really mercantile circle, will be totally inade- Rights vindicated the English Constitution; the quate to the consideration. Trade, indeed, in- same spirit which established the great fundacreases the wealth and glory of a country; but mental, essential maxim of your liberties, that its real strength and stamina are to be looked for no subject of England shall be taxed but by his among the cultivators of the land. In their sim- own consent. plicity of life is found the simpleness of virtue- This glorious spirit of Whiggism animates the integrity and courage of freedom. These three millions in America, who prefer poverty true, genuine sons of the earth are invincible; with liberty, to gilded chains and sordid affluand they surround and hem in the mercantile ence; and who will die in defense of their rights bodies, even if these bodies (which supposition as men, as freemen. What shall oppose this I totally disclain) could be supposed disaffected spirit, aided by the congenial flame glowing in to the cause of liberty. Of this general spirit the breast of every Whig in England, to the existing in the British nation (for so I wish to amount, I hope, of double the American numdistinguish the real and genuine Americans from bers? Ireland they have to a man. In that the pseudo-traders I have described) —of this country, joined as it is with the cause of the colospirit of independence, animating the nation of nies, and placed at their head, the distinction I America, I have the most authentic information. contend for is and must be observed. This counIt is not new among them. It is, and has ever try superintends and controls their trade and navbeen, their established principle, their confirmed igation; but they tax themselves. And this dispersuasion. It is their nature and their doctrine. tinction between external and internal control is
them an ingenious turn, as if the punishment came "Nil prosent artes ; erat immedicabile vulnus.
before the hearing ; which was certainly true of jus. All arts are vain: incurable the wound.
tice as then administered in America, though not in Ovid's Metamorphoses, book x., 189. the infernal regions of Virgil.
I remember, some years ago, when the repeal sacred and insurmountable; it is involved in the of the Stamp Act was in agitation, conversing in abstract nature of things. Property is private, a friendly confidence with a person of undoubted individual, absolute. Trade is an extended and respect and authenticity, on that subject, and he complicated consideration : it reaches as far as assured me with a certainty which his judgment ships can sail or winds can blow: it is a great and opportunity gave him, that these were the and various machine. To regulate the numberprevalent and steady principles of America—that less movements of its several parts, and combine you might destroy their towns, and cut them off them into effect for the good of the whole, refrom the superfluities, perhaps the conveniences quires the superintending wisdom and energy of of life, but that they were prepared to despise the supreme power in the empire. But this suyour power, and would not lament their loss, preme power has no effect toward internal taxawhile they have—what, my Lords ?—their woods tion; for it does not exist in that relation; there and their liberty. The name of my authority, is no such thing, no such idea in this Constituif I am called upon, will authenticate the opinion tion, as a supreme power operating upon properirrefragably.
ty. Let this distinction then remain forever asIf illegal violences have been, as it is said, certained; taxation is theirs, commercial regucommitted in America, prepare the way, open lation is ours. As an American, I would recogthe door of possibility for acknowledgment and nize to England her supreme right of regulating satisfaction; but proceed not to such coercion, commerce and navigation; as an Englishman by such proscription ; cease your indiscriminate in- birth and principle, I recognize to the Americans flictions; amerce not thirty thousand-oppress their supreme, unalienable right in their propernot three millions for the fault of forty or fifty ty: a right which they are justified in the deindividuals. Such severity of injustice must for- sense of to the last extremity. To maintain this ever render incurable the wounds you have al principle is the common cause of the Whigs on ready given your colonies; you irritate them to the other side of the Atlantic and on this. unappeasable rancor. What though you march "* 'Tis liberty to liberty engaged,” that they will from town to town, and from province to prov- defend themselves, their families, and their counince; though you should be able to enforce a try. In this great cause they are immovably temporary and local submission (which I only allied: it is the alliance of God and naturesuppose, not admit), how shall you be able to se- immutable, eternal-fixed as the firmament of cure the obedience of the country you leave be- heaven. hind you in your progress, to grasp the dominion To such united force, what force shall be opof eighteen hundred miles of continent, populous posed ? What, my Lords ? A few regiments in nu vers, possessing valor, liberty, and resist- in America, and seventeen or eighteen thousand ance ?
men at home! The idea is too ridiculous to This resistance to your arbitrary system of take up a moment of your Lordships' time. Nor taxation might have been foreseen. It was ob- can such a national and principled union be revious from the nature of things, and of mankind; sisted by the tricks of office, or ministerial maand, above all, from the Whiggish spirit flourish- neuver. Laying of papers on your table, or ing in that country. The spirit which now re-counting numbers on a division, will not avert sists your taxation in America is the same which or postpone the hour of danger. It must arrive, formerly opposed loans, benevolences, and ship- my Lords, unless these fatal acts are done away; money in England; the same spirit which called it must arrive in all its horrors, and then these all Englani on its legs," and by the Bill of boastful ministers, spite of all their confidence
and all their maneuvers, shall be forced to hide It was Dr. Franklin.
their heads. They shall be forced to a disgraceful abandonment of their present measures and happiness ; for that is your true dignity, to act principles, which they avow, but can not defend; with prudence and justice. That you should measures which they presume to attempt, but first concede is obvious, from sound and rational can not hope to effectuate. They can not, my policy. Concession comes with better grace and Lords, they can not stir a step; they have not a more salutary effect from superior power. It move left; they are check-mated !
reconciles superiority of power with the feelings But it is not repealing this act of Parliament, of men, and establishes solid confidence on the it is not repealing a piece of parchment, that foundations of affection and gratitude. can restore America to our bosom. You must So thought a wise poet and a wise man in repeal her fears and her resentments, and you political sagacity—the friend of Mecænas, and may then hope for her love and gratitude. But the eulogist of Augustus. To him, the adopted now, insulted with an armed force posted at son and successor of the first Cesar—to him, the Boston, irritated with a hostile array before her master of the world, he wisely urged this coneyes, her concessions, if you could force them, duct of prudence and dignity: “Tuque prior, tu would be suspicious and insecure; they will be parce; projice tela manu." "irato animo [with an angry spirit]; they will Every motive, therefore, of justice and of pol. not be the sound, honorable passions of freemen; icy, of dignity and of prudence, urges you to al. they will be the dictates of fear and extortions lay the ferment in America by a removal of of force. But it is more than evident that you your troops from Boston, by a repeal of your can not force them, united as they are, to your acts of Parliament, and by demonstration of amunworthy terms of submission. It is impossible. icable dispositions toward your colonies. On And when I hear General Gage censured for in the other hand, every danger and every hazard activity, I must retort with indignation on those impend to deter you from perseverance in your whose intemperate measures and improvident counsels have betrayed him into his present situ. in respect to these words, his taste and genius
• If Lord Chatham's memory had not failed him ation. His situation reminds me, my Lords, of would have suggested a still finer turn. They were the answer of a French general in the civil wars addressed, not by Virgil to Augustus Cesar, but to of France-Monsieur Condé opposed to Mon- a parent advancing in arms against a child; and sieur Turenne. He was asked how it happened would, therefore, have been applied with double that he did not take his adversary prisoner, as force and beauty to the contest of England against he was often very near him. "J'ai peur,” re- America. The words are taken from that splendid plied Condé, very honestly, “j'ai peur qu'il ne passage at the close of the sixth book of Virgil's
Æneid, where Anchises is showing to Æneas, in me prenne;" I'm afraid he'll take me.
the world of spirits, the souls of those who were When your Lordships look at the papers destined to pass within the gates of life,” and to transmitted us from America—when you con- swell, as his descendants, the long line of Roman sider their decency, firmness, and wisdom, you greatness. "After pointing out the Decii and Drusii, can not but respect their cause, and wish to make Torquatus with his bloody ax, and Camillus with it your own. For myself, I must declare and his standards of glory, he comes at last to Julius Ceavow, that in all my reading and observation, sar, and Pompey, his son-in-law, preparing for the and it has been my favorite study—I have read battle of Pharsalia. As if the conflict might yet be Thucydides, and have studied and admired the treats them not to turn their arms against their
averted, he addresses his future children, and en master-states of the world—that for solidity of country's vitals. He appeals especially to Cesar reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of con- as "descended from Olympian Jove," and exhorts clusion, under such a complication of difficult him “Taque prior, tu parce; projice tela manu." circumstances, no nation or body of men can Illæ autem, paribus quas fulgere cernis in armis, stand in preference to the general Congress at Concordes animæ nunc et dum nocte prementur, Philadelphia. I trust it is obvious to your Lord Heu! quantum inter se bellum, si limina vitæ ships that all attempts to impose servitude upon Attingerint, quantas acies stragemque ciebunt, such men, to establish despotism over such a Aggeribus socer Alpinis atque arce Monæci mighty continental nation, must be vain, must be Descendens, gener adversis instructus Eois! fatal. We shall be forced ultimately to retract; Neu patriæ validas in viscera vertite vires !
Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis assuecite bella ; let us retract while we can, not when we must. Tuque prior, tu parce, genus qui ducis Olympo ; I say we must necessarily undo these violent, Projice tela manu, sanguis meus !—826–835. oppressive acts.? They must be repealed. You Those forms which now thou seest in equal arms will repeal them. I pledge myself for it
, that shining afar-united souls while here you will
, in the end, repeal them. I stake my Beneath the realm of night-what fields of blood reputation on it. I will consent to be taken for And mutual slaughter shall mark out their course, an idiot if they are not finally repealed.8 Avoid, If once they pass within the Gates of Life! then, this humiliating, disgraceful necessity. See, from the Alpine heights the father comes With a dignity becoming your exalted situation, Down by Monaco's tower
, to meet the son make the first advances to concord, to peace, and Equipped with hostile legions from the East.
Nay! nay, my children! Train not thus your minds 7 The Boston Port Bill, and the act taking away To scenes of blood ! Turn not those arms of strength the charter of Massachusetts.
Against your country's vitals ! * This prediction was verified. After a war of Thou ! thou, descended from Olympian Jove! three years, a repeal of these acts was sent out to Be first to spare! Son of my blood! cast down propitiate the Americans, but it was too late. Those weapons from thy hand !
present ruinous measures. Foreign war hang- King, I will not say that they can alienate the ing over your heads by a slight and brittle affections of his subjects from his crown, but I thread; France and Spain watching your con- will affirm that they will make the crown not duct, and waiting for the maturity of your er- worth his wearing. I will not say that the King rors, with a vigilant eye to America and the is betrayed, but I will pronounce that the kingtemper of your colonies, more than to their own dom is undone. concerns, be they what they may.
To conclude, my Lords, if the ministers thus The motion, after a long debate, was lost by persevere in misadvising and misleading the a vote of 68 to 18.
SPEECH OF LORD CHATHAM ON A MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS TO THE CROWN, TO PUT A STOP TO HOS.
TILITIES IN AMERICA, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, MAY 30, 1777.
INTRODUCTION. LORD CHATham had now been prevented by his infirmities from taking his place in the House of Lords for more than two years. Anxious to make one effort more for ending the contest with America, he made bis appearance in the House on the 30th of May, 1777, wrapped in flannels, and supported on crutches, and moved an address to the King, recommending that speedy and effectual measures be taken to pat an end to the war between the colonies and the mother country. He spoke as follows:
SPEECH, &c. My Lords, this is a flying moment; perhaps among them to annihilate the Congress, and of but six weeks left to arrest the dangers that sur- your powerful forces to disperse their army. I round us. The gathering storm may break; it might as well talk of driving them before me with has already opened, and in part burst. It is this crutch! But what would you conquer difficult for government, after all that has pass- the map of America ? I am ready to meet any ed, to shake hands with defiers of the King, de general officer on the subject [looking at Lord fiers of the Parliament, defiers of the people. I Amherst.] What will you do out of the proam a defier of nobody; but if an end is not put tection of your fleet? In the winter, if togethto this war, there is an end to this country. I er, they are starved; and if dispersed, they are do not trust my judgment in my present state of taken off in detail. I am experienced in spring health; this is the judgment of my better days hopes and vernal promises; I know what minis-the result of forty years' attention to America. ters throw out; but at last will come your equiThey are rebels; but for what? Surely not for noctial disappointment. You have got nothing defending their unquestionable rights! What in America but stations. You have been three have these rebels done heretofore? I remem- years teaching them the art of war; they are ber when they raised four regiments on their apt scholars; and I will venture to tell your own bottom, and took Louisbourg from the vet- Lordships that the American gentry will make eran troops of France. But their excesses have officers enough, fit to command the troops of all been great: I do not mean their panegyric; but the European powers. What you have sent must observe, in extenuation, the erroneous and there are too many to make peace—too few to infatuated counsels which have prevailed; the make war. If you conquer them, what then ? door to mercy and justice has been shut against | You can not make them respect you; you can them; but they may still be taken up upon the not make them wear your cloth; you will plant grounds of their former submission. [Referring an invincible hatred in their breasts against you. to their petition.)
Coming from the stock they do, they can never I state to you the importance of America: it respect you. If ministers are founded in saying is a double market—the market of consumption, there is no sort of treaty with France, there is and the market of supply. This double market still a moment left; the point of honor is still for millions, with naval stores, you are giving to safe. France must be as self-destroying as Enyour hereditary rival. America has carried you gland, to make a treaty while you are giving her through four wars, and will now carry you to America, at the expense of twelve millions a your death, if you don't take things in time. In year. The intercourse has produced every thing the sportsman's phrase, when you have found to France; and England, Old England, must yourselves at fault, you must try back. You pay for all. I have, at different times, made difhave ransacked every corner of Lower Saxony; ferent propositions, adapted to the circumstances but forty thousand German boors never can con- in which they were offered. The plan containquer ten times the number of British freemen. ed in the former bill is now impracticable; the You may ravage-you can not conquer; it is present motion will tell you where you are, and impossible ; you can not conquer the Americans. what you have now to depend upon. It may You talk, my Lords, of your numerous friends produce a respectable division in America, and unanimity at home; it will give America an op- This was the only moment left before the fate tion; she has yet had no option. You have of this country was decided. The French court, said, Lay down your arms; and she has given he observed, was too wise to lose the opportunity you the Spartan answer, “Come, take.” (Here of effectually separating America from the dobe read his motion.] “ That an humble address minions of this kingdom. War between France be presented to his Majesty, most dutifully rep- and Great Britain, he said, was not less probable resenting to his royal wisdom that this House is because it had not yet been declared. It would deeply penetrated with the view of impending be folly in France to declare it now, while Amerruin to the kingdom, from the continuation of an ica gave full employment to our arms, and was unnataral war against the British colonies in pouring into her lap her wealth and produce, America; and most humbly to advise his Maj- the benefit of which she was enjoying in peace. esty to take the most speedy and effectual meas- He enlarged much on the importance of Amerares for putting a stop to such fatal hostilities, ica to this country, which, in peace and in war, upon the only just and solid foundation, namely, he observed, he ever considered as the great the removal of accumulated grievances; and to source of all our wealth and power. He then assure his Majesty that this House will enter added (raising his voice), Your trade languishes, upon this great and necessary work with cheer- your taxes increase, your revenues diminish. fulness and dispatch, in order to open to his Maj- France at this moment is securing and drawing esty the only means of regaining the affections herself that commerce which created your of the British colonies, and of securing to Great seamen, fed your islands, &c. He reprobated Britain the commercial advantages of these val- the measures which produced, and which had uable possessions ; fully persuaded that to heal | been pursued in the conduct of the civil war, in and to redress will be more congenial to the the severest language; infatuated measures givgoodness and magnanimity of his Majesty, and ing rise to, and still continuing a cruel, unnatural, more prevalent over the hearts of generous and self-destroying war. Success, it is said, is hoped free-born subjects, than the rigors of chastisement for in this campaign. Why? Because our army and the horrors of a civil war, which hitherto will be as strong this year as it was last, when have served only to sharpen resentments and it was not strong enough. The notion of conconsolidate union, and, if continued, must end in quering America he treated with the greatest finally dissolving all ties between Great Britain contempt. and the colonies."
After an animated debate, in which the mo[His Lordship rose again.] The proposal, he tion was opposed by Lords Gower, Lyttelton, said, is specific. I thought this so clear, that I Mansfield, and Weymouth, and the Archbishop did not enlarge upon it. I mean the redress of of York, and supported by the Dukes of Grafton all their grievances, and the right of disposing and Manchester, Lord Camden and Shelburne, of their own money. This is to be done instan- and the Bishop of Peterborough, taneously. I will get out of my bed to move it The Earl of Chatham again rose, and in reply on Monday. This will be the herald of peace; to what had fallen from Lord Weymouth, said: this will open the way for treaty; this will show My Lords, I perceive the noble Lord neither apParliament sincerely disposed. Yet still much prehends my meaning, nor the explanation given must be left to treaty. Should you conquer this by me to the noble Earl (Earl Gower) in the blue people, you conquer under the cannon of France ribbon, who spoke early in the debate. I will, —under a masked battery then ready to open. therefore, with your Lordships' permission, state The moment a treaty with France appears, you shortly what I meant. My Lords, my motion must declare war, though you had only five ships was stated generally, that I might leave the quesof the line in England; but France will defer a tion at large to be amended by your Lordships. treaty as long as possible. You are now at the I did not dare to point out the specific means. mercy of every little German chancery; and the I drew the motion up to the best of my poor pretensions of France will increase daily, so as abilities; but I intended it only as the herald of to become an avowed party in either peace or conciliation, as the harbinger of peace to our afwar. We have tried for unconditional submis- flicted colonies. But as the noble Lord seems sion; try what can be gained by unconditional to wish for something more specific on the subredress. Less dignity will be lost in the repeal, ject, and through that medium seeks my particthan in submitting to the demands of German ular sentiments, I will tell your Lordships very chanceries. We are the aggressors. We have fairly what I wish for. I wish for a repeal of invaded them. We have invaded them as much every oppressive act which your Lordships have as the Spanish Armada invaded England. Mer- passed since 1763. I would put our brethren cy can not do harm; it will seat the King where in America precisely on the same footing they he ought to be, throned on the hearts of his peo- stood at that period. I would expect, that, being ple; and millions at home and abroad, now em- left at liberty to tax themselves, and dispose of ployed in obloquy or revolt, would pray for him. their own property, they would, in return, contrib
(In making his motion for addressing the King, ute to the common burdens according to their Lord Chatham insisted frequently and strongly means and abilities. I will move your Lordships on the absolute necessity of immediately making for a bill of repeal, as the only means left to arpeace with America. Now, he said, was the rest that approaching destruction which threat. crisis, before France was a party to the treaty. I ens to overwhelm us. My Lords, I shall no