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doubt hear it objected, “Why should we submit | dress. We have injured them ; we have enor concede ? Has America done any thing on deavored to enslave and oppress them. Upon her part to induce us to agree to so large a this ground, my Lords, instead of chastisement, ground of concession ?" I will tell you, my they are entitled to redress. A repeal of those Lords, why I think you should. You have been laws, of which they complain, will be the first the aggressors from the beginning. I shall not step to that redress. The people of America trouble your Lordships with the particulars; look upon Parliament as the authors of their misthey have been stated and enforced by the noble eries; their affections are estranged from their and learned Lord who spoke last but one (Lord sovereign. Let, then, reparation come from the Camden), in a much more able and distinct man- hands that inflicted the injuries ; let conciliation ner than I could pretend to state them. If, then, succeed chastisement; and I do maintain, that we are the aggressors, it is your Lordships' bu- Parliament will again recover its authority; thet siness to make the first overture. I say again, his Majesty will be once more enthroned in the this country has been the aggressor. You have hearts of his American subjects; and that your made descents upon their coasts ; you have burn- Lordships, as contributing to so great, glorious, ed their towns, plundered their country, made salutary, and benignant a work, will receive the war upon the inhabitants, confiscated their prop- prayers and benedictions of every part of the erty, proscribed and imprisoned their persons. British empire. I do therefore affirm, my Lords, that instead of exacting unconditional submission from the colonies, we should grant them unconditional re- The motion was lost by a vote of 99 to 28.
OF LORD CHATHAM ON A MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS TO THE THRONE, AT THE OPENING OF
PARLIAMENT, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, NOVEMBER 18, 1777.
INTRODUCTION. This was Lord Chatham's greatest effort. Though sinking under the weight of years and disease, he seems animated by all the fire of youth. It would, indeed, be difficult to find in the whole range of parliamentary history a more splendid blaze of genius, at once rapid, vigorous, and sublime.
SPEECH, &c.' I rise, my Lords, to declare my sentiments on envelop it, and display, in its full danger and true this most solemn and serious subject. It has colors, the ruin that is brought to our doors. imposed a load upon my mind, which, I fear, This, my Lords, is our duty. It is the proper nothing can remove, but which impels me to en- function of this noble assembly, sitting, as we do, deavor its alleviation, by a free and unreserved upon our honors in this House, the hereditary communication of my sentiments.
council of the Crown. Who is the ministerIn the first part of the address, I have the where is the minister, that has dared to suggest honor of heartily concurring with the noble Earl to the Throne the contrary, unconstitutional lanwho moved it. No man feels sincerer joy than guage this day delivered from it? The accusI do; none can offer more genuine congratula- tomed language from the Throne has been aptions on every accession of strength to the Prot- plication to Parliament for advice, and a reliance estant succession. I therefore join in every con- on its constitutional advice and assistance. As gratulation on the birth of another princess, and it is the right of Parliament to give, so it is the the happy recovery of her Majesty.
duty of the Crown to ask it. But on this day, But I must stop here. My courtly complai- and in this extreme momentous exigency, no resance will carry me no farther. I will not join liance is reposed on our constitutional counsels ! in congratulation on misfortune and disgrace. no advice is asked from the sober and enlightenI can not concur in a blind and servile address, ed care of Parliament! but the Crown, from it. which approves, and endeavors to sanctify the self and by itself, declares an unalterable demonstrous measures which have heaped disgrace termination to pursue measures — and what and misfortune upon us. This, my Lords, is a measures, my Lords? The measures that have perilous and tremendous moment ! It is not a produced the imminent perils that threaten us; time for adnlation. The smoothness of flattery the measures that have brought ruin to our doors. can not now avail—can not save us in this rug- Can the minister of the day now presume to ged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to in- expect a continuance of support in this ruinons struct the Throne in the language of truth. We infatuation? Can Parliament be so dead to its must dispel the illusion and the darkness which dignity and its duty as to be thus deluded into
the loss of the one and the violation of the other? This was reported by Hagh Boyd, and is said To give an unlimited credit and support for the to have been corrected by Lord Chatham himself. steady perseverance in measures not proposed for our parliamentary advice, but dictated and to rescue the ear of majesty from the delusions forced upon us—in measures, I say, my Lords, which surround it. The desperate state of our which have reduced this late flourishing empire arms abroad is in part known. No man thinks to ruin and contempt! " But yesterday, and more highly of them than I do. I love and honor England might have stood against the world : the English troops. I know their virtues and now none so poor to do her reverence.??? I use their valor. I know they can achieve any thing the words of a poet; but, though it be poetry, it except impossibilities; and I know that the conis no fiction. It is a shameful truth, that not quest of English America is an impossibility. only the power and strength of this country are You can not, I venture to say it, you can not conwasting away and expiring, but her well-earned quer America. Your armies last war effected glories, her irue honor, and substantial dignity every thing that could be effected; and what are sacrificed.
was it? It cost a numerous army, under the France, my Lords, has insulted you ; she has command of a most able general (Lord Amherst), encouraged and sustained America; and, wheth- now a noble Lord in this House, a long and laer America be wrong or right, the dignity of this borious campaign, to expel five thousand Frenchcountry ought to spurn at the officious insult of men from French America. My Lords, you can French interference. The ministers and embas- not conquer America. What is your present sadors of those who are called rebels and enemies situation there? We do not know the worst; are in Paris; in Paris they transact the recip- but we know that in three campaigns we have rocal interests of America and France. Can done nothing and suffered much. Besides the there be a more mortifying insult? Can even sufferings, perhaps total loss of the Northern our ministers sustain a more humiliating dis- force, the best appointed army that ever took grace? Do they dare to resent it? Do they the field, commanded by Sir William Howe, has presume even to hint a vindication of their hon- retired from the American lines. He was obliged or, and the dignity of the state, by requiring the to relinquish his attempt, and with great delay dismission of the plenipotentiaries of America ? and danger to adopt a new and distant plan of Such is the degradation to which they have re- operations. We shall soon know, and in any duced the glories of England! The people event have reason to lament, what may have whom they affect to call contemptible rebels, happened since. As to conquest, therefore, my but whose growing power has at last obtained Lords, I repeat, it is impossible. You may swell the name of enemies; the people with whom every expense and every effort still more exthey have engaged this country in war, and travagantly; pile and accumulate every assistagainst whom they now command our implicitance you can buy or borrow; traffic and barter support in every measure of desperate hostility— with every little pitiful German prince that sells this people, despised as rebels, or acknowledged and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foras enemies, are abetted against you, supplied eign prince; your efforts are forever vain and with every military store, their interests consult- impotent-doubly so from this mercenary aid on ed, and their embassadors entertained, by your which you rely; for it irritates, to an incurainveterate enemy! and our ministers dare not ble resentment, the minds of your enemies, to interpose with dignity or effect. Is this the overrun them with the mercenary sons of rapine honor of a great kingdom? Is this the indig- and plunder, devoting them and their possessions nant spirit of England, who "but yesterday" to the rapacity of hireling cruelty! If I were gave law to the house of Bourbon ? My Lords, an American, as I am an Englishman, while a the dignity of nations demands a decisive con- foreign troop was landed in my country, I never duct in a situation like this. Even when the would lay down my arms-never-never-never. greatest prince that perhaps this country ever Your own army is infected with the contagion saw, filled our throne, the requisition of a Span- of these illiberal allies. The spirit of plunder ish general, on a similar subject, was attended to, and of rapine is gone forth among them. I and complied with ; for, on the spirited remon- know it; and, notwithstanding what the noble strance of the Duke of Alva, Elizabeth found Earl (Lord Percy) who moved the address has herself obliged to deny the Flemish exiles all given as his opinion of the American army, I countenance, support, or even entrance into her know from authentic information, and the most dominions; and the Count Le Marque, with his experienced officers, that our discipline is deeply few desperate followers, were expelled the king. wounded. While this is notoriously our sinking dom. Happening to arrive at the Brille, and situation, America grows and flourishes; while finding it weak in defense, they made themselves our strength and discipline are lowered, hers are masters of the place; and this was the founda- rising and improving. tion of the United Provinces.
But, my Lords, who is the man that, in addi. My Lords, this ruinous and ignominious situ- tion to these disgraces and mischiefs of our army, ation, where we can not act with success, nor has dared to authorize and associate to our arms suffer with honor, calls upon us to remonstrate the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the savage ? in the strongest and loudest language of truth, to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhu" But yesterday the word of Cesar might
man savage of the woods; to delegate to the Have stood against the world ; now lies he there, merciless Indian the defense of disputed rights, And none so poor to do him reverence." and to wage the horrors of his barbarous war Julius Cesar, Act III., Sc. 6.
: General Burgoyne's army.
against our brethren? My Lords, these enor- and mutual interest that united both countries. mities cry aloud for redress and punishment. This was the established sentiment of all the Unless thoroughly done away, it will be a stain Continent; and still, my Lords, in the great and on the national character. It is a violation of principal part, the sound part of America, this the Constitution. I believe it is against law. wise and affectionate disposition prevails. And It is not the least of our national misfortunes there is a very considerable part of America yet that the strength and character of our army are sound—the middle aud the southern provinces. thus impaired. Infected with the mercenary Some parts may be factious and blind to their spirit of robbery and rapine; familiarized to the true interests ; but if we express a wise and horrid scenes of savage cruelty, it can no longer benevolent disposition to commuuicate with them boast of the noble and generous principles which those immutable rights of nature and those condignify a soldier ; no longer sympathize with the stitutional liberties to which they are equally dignity of the royal banner, nor feel the pride, entitled with ourselves, by a conduct so just and pomp, and circumstance of glorious war, " that humane we shall confirm the favorable and conmake ambition virtue !" What makes ambition ciliate the adverse. I say, my Lords, the rights virtue ?—the sense of honor. But is the sense and liberties to which they are equally entitled of honor consistent with a spirit of plunder, or with ourselves, but no more. I would particithe practice of murder ? Can it flow from mer- pate to them every enjoyment and freedom which cenary motives, or can it prompt to cruel deeds ? the colonizing subjects of a free state can posBesides these murderers and plunderers, let me sess, or wish to possess; and I do not see why ask our ministers, What other allies have they they should not enjoy every fundamental right acquired? What other powers have they asso- in their property, and every original substantial ciated to their cause? Have they entered into liberty, which Devonshire, or Surrey, or the counalliance with the king of the gipsies ? Nothing, ty I live in, or any other county in England, can my Lords, is too low or too ludicrous to be con- claim; reserving always, as the sacred right of sistent with their counsels.
the mother country, the due constitutional deThe independent views of America have been pendency of the colonies. The inherent supremstated and asserted as the foundation of this ad- acy of the state in regulating and protecting the dress. My Lords, no man wishes for the due navigation and commerce of all her subjects, is dependence of America on this country more necessary for the mutual benefit and preservathan I do. To preserve it, and not confirm that tion of every part, to constitute and preserve the state of independence into which your measures prosperous arrangement of the whole empire. hitherto have driven them, is the object which The sound parts of America, of which I have we ought to unite in attaining. The Americans, spoken, must be sensible of these great truths contending for their rights against arbitrary ex- and of their real interests. America is not in actions, I love and admire. It is the struggle of that state of desperate and contemptible rebellfree and virtuous patriots. But, contending for ion which this country has been deluded to be. independency and total disconnection from En- lieve. It is not a wild and lawless banditti, who, gland, as an Englishman, I can not wish them having nothing to lose, might hope to snatch success; for in a due constitutional depend something from public convulsions. Many of ency, including the ancient supremacy of this their leaders and great men have a great stake country in regulating their commerce and navi- in this great contest. The gentleman who congation, consists the mutual happiness and pros- ducts their armies, I am told, has an estate of perity both of England and America. She de- four or five thousand pounds a year; and when rived assistance and protection from us ; and we I consider these things, I can not bat lament the reaped from her the most important advantages. inconsiderate violence of our penal acts, our decShe was, indeed, the fountain of our wealth, the larations of treason and rebellion, with all the nerve of our strength, the nursery and basis of fatal effects of attainder and confiscation. our naval power. It is our duty, therefore, my As to the disposition of foreign powers which Lords, if we wish to save our country, most se- is asserted in the King's speech) to be pacific riously to endeavor the recovery of these most and friendly, let us judge, my Lords, rather by beneficial subjects; and in this perilous crisis, their actions and the nature of things than by perhaps the present moment may be the only interested assertions. The uniform assistance one in which we can hope for success, For in supplied to America by France, suggests a diftheir negotiations with France, they have, or ferent conclusion. The most important interests think they have, reason to complain; though it of France in aggrandizing and enriching herself be notorious that they have received from that with what she most wants, supplies of every power important supplies and assistance of va- naval store from America, must inspire her with rious kinds, yet it is certain they expected it in different sentiments. The extraordinary prepa more decisive and immediate degree. Amer. arations of the house of Bourbon, by land and by ica is in ill humor with France; on some points sea, from Dunkirk to the Straits, equally ready they have not entirely answered her expecta- and willing to overwhelm these defenseless isitions. Let us wisely take advantage of every ands, should rouse us to a sense of their real dispossible moment of reconciliation. Besides, the position and our own danger. Not five thounatural disposition of America herself still leans sand troops in England ! hardly three thousand toward England; to the old habits of connection in Ireland! What can we oppose to the combined force of our enemies? Scarcely twenty final ruin. We madly rush into multiplied misships of the line so fully or sufficiently manned, eries, and “confusion worse confounded." that any admiral's reputation would permit him Is it possible, can it be believed, that ministo take the command of. The river of Lisbon in ters are yet blind to this impending destruction ? the possession of our enemies! The seas swept I did hope, that instead of this false and empty by American privateers! Our Channel trade torn vanity, this overweening pride, engendering high to pieces by them! In this complicated crisis conceits and presumptuous imaginations, minisof danger, weakness at home, and calamity ters would have humbled themselves in their abroad, terrified and insulted by the neighboring errors, would have confessed and retracted them, powers, unable to act in America, or acting only and by an active, though a late repentance, have to be destroyed, where is the man with the fore- endeavored to redeem them. But, my Lords, head to promise or hope for success in such a since they had neither sagacity to foresee, nor situation, or from perseverance in the measures justice nor humanity to shun these oppressive that have driven us to it? Who has the fore- calamities — since not even severe experience head to do so? Where is that man? I should can make them feel, nor the imminent ruin of be glad to see his face.
their country awaken them from their stupefacYou can not conciliate America by your pres- tion, the guardian care of Parliament must interent measures. You can not subdue her by your pose. I shall therefore, my Lords, propose to present or by any measures. What, then, can you an amendment of the address to his Majesty, you do? You can not conquer; you can not to be inserted immediately after the two first gain; but you can address ; you can lull the paragraphs of congratulation on the birth of a fears and anxieties of the moment into an igno- princess, to recommend an immediate cessation rance of the danger that should produce them. of hostilities, and the commencement of a treaty But, my Lords, the time demands the language to restore peace and liberty to America, strength of truth. We must not now apply the flattering and happiness to England, security and permaunction of servile compliance or blind complais- nent prosperity to both countries. This, my ance. In a just and necessary war, to maintain Lords, is yet in our power; and let not the wisthe rights or honor of my country, I would strip dom and justice of your Lordships neglect the the shirt from my back to support it. But in happy, and, perhaps the only opportunity. By such a war as this, unjust in its principle, im- the establishment of irrevocable law, founded on practicable in its means, and ruinous in its con- mutual rights, and ascertained by treaty, these sequences, I would not contribute a single effort glorious enjoyments may be firmly perpetuated. nor a single shilling. I do not call for venge- And let me repeat to your Lordships, that the ance on the heads of those who have been guilty; strong bias of America, at least of the wise and I only recommend to them to make their retreat. sounder parts of it, naturally inclines to this hapLet them walk off; and let them make haste, or py and constitutional reconnection with you. they may be assured that speedy and condign Notwithstanding the temporary intrigues with punishment will overtake them.
France, we may still be assured of their ancient My Lords, I have submitted to you, with the and confirmed partiality to us. _America and freedom and truth which I think my duty, my France can not be congenial. There is somesentiments on your present awful situation. I thing decisive and confirmed in the honest Amerhave laid before you the ruin of your power, the ican, that will not assimilate to the futility and disgrace of your reputation, the pollution of your levity of Frenchmen. discipline, the contamination of your morals, the My Lords, to encourage and confirm that incomplication of calamities, foreign and domestic, nate inclination to this country, founded on every that overwhelm your sinking country. Your principle of affection, as well as consideration of dearest interests, your own liberties, the Consti- interest ; to restore that favorable disposition tution itself, totters to the foundation. All this into a permanent and powerful reunion with this disgraceful danger, this multitude of misery, is country; to revive the mutual strength of the the monstrous offspring of this unnatural war. empire; again to awe the house of Bourbon, inWe have been deceived and deluded too long. stead of meanly truckling, as our present calamLet us now stop short. This is the crisis—the ities compel us, to every insult of French caprice only crisist of time and situation, to give us a and Spanish punctilio; to re-establish our compossibility of escape from the fatal effects of our merce; to reassert our rights and our honor; to delusions. But if
, in an obstinate and infatuated confirm our interests, and renew our glories forperseverance in folly, we slavishly echo the per- ever—a consummation most devoutly to be enemptory words this day presented to us, nothing deavored ! and which, I trust, may yet arise from can save this devoted country from complete and reconciliation with America—I have the honor
of submitting to you the following amendment, • It can not have escaped observation, says Chap which I move to be inserted after the two first man, with what argent anxiety the noble speaker paragraphs of the address : has pressed this point throughout his speech; the critical necessity of instantly treating with America.
“And that this House does most humbly adBut the warning voice was heard in vain; the advise and supplicate his Majesty to be pleased to dress triumphed; Parliament adjourned; ministers cause the most speedy and effectual measures to enjoyed the festive recess of a long Christmas ; and be taken for restoring peace in America ; and America ratified her alliance with France.
that no time may be lost in proposing an imme
diate cessation of hostilities there, in order to the of their lawn; upon the learned Judges, to inopening of a treaty for the final settlement of terpose the purity of their ermine, to save us the tranquillity of these invaluable provinces, by from this pollution. I call upon the honor of a removal of the unhappy causes of this ruinous your Lordships, to reverence the dignity of your civil war, and by a just and adequate security ancestors, and to maintain your own. I call against the return of the like calamities in times upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to
And this House desire to offer the vindicate the national character. I invoke the most dutiful assurances to his Majesty, that they genius of the Constitution. From the tapestry will, in due time, cheerfully co-operate with the that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor magnanimity and tender goodness of his Majes of this noble Lord frowns with indignation at the ty for the preservation of his people, by such disgrace of his country. In vain he led your explicit and most solemn declarations, and pro- victorious fleets against the boasted Armada of visions of fundamental and irrevocable laws, as Spain; in vain he defended and established the may be judged necessary for the ascertaining honor, the liberties, the religion—the Protestant and fixing forever the respective rights of Great religion—of this country, against the arbitrary Britain and her colonies.”
cruelties of popery and the Inquisition, if these [In the course of this debate, Lord Suffolk, more than popish cruelties and inquisitorial pracsecretary for the northern department, under- tices are let loose among us—to turn forth into took to defend the employment of the Indians in our settlements, among our ancient connections,
His Lordship contended that, besides friends, and relations, the merciless cannibal, its policy and necessity, the measure was also al- thirsting for the blood of man, woman, and child ! lowable on principle ; for that “it was perfectly to send forth the infidel savage-against whom? justifiable to use all the means that God and na- against your Protestant brethren; to lay waste ture put into our hands !")
their country, to desolate their dwellings, and I am astonished ! (exclaimed Lord Chatham, extirpate their race and name with these horrias he rose), shocked! to hear such principles ble hell-hounds of savage war — hell-hounds, I confessed—to hear them avowed in this House, say, of savage war! Spain armed herself with or in this country; principles equally unconsti- blood-hounds to extirpate the wretched natives tutional, inhuman, and unchristian !
of America, and we improve on the inhuman exMy Lords, I did not intend to have encroach- ample even of Spanish cruelty; we turn loose ed again upon your attention, but I can not re- these savage hell-hounds against our brethren press my indignation. I feel myself impelled by and countrymen in America, of the same lanevery duty. My Lords, we are called upon as guage, laws, liberties, and religion, endeared to members of this House, as men, as Christian us by every tie that should sanctify humanity. men, to protest against such notions standing My Lords, this awful subject, so important to near the Throne, polluting the ear of Majesty. our honor, our Constitution, and our religion, “That God and nature put into our hands !” Idemands the most solemn and effectual inquiry. know not what ideas that Lord may entertain of And I again call upon your Lordships, and the God and nature, but I know that such abom- united powers of the state, to examine it thorinable principles are equally abhorrent to relig. oughly and decisively, and to stamp upon it an ion and humanity. What! to attribute the sa- indelible stigma of the public abhorrence. And cred sanction of God and nature to the massa- I again implore those holy prelates of our religcres of the Indian scalping-knife-to the canni-ion to do away these iniquities from among us. bal savage torturing, murdering, roasting, and Let them perform a lustration ; let them purify eating—literally, my Lords, eating the mangled this House, and this country, from this sin. victims of his barbarous battles! Such horrible My Lords, I am old and weak, and at present notions shock every precept of religion, divine or unable to say more ; but my feelings and indig. natural, and every generous feeling of humanity. nation were too strong to have said less. I And, my Lords, they shock every sentiment of could not have slept this night in my bed, nor honor; they shock me as a lover of honorable reposed my head on my pillow, without giving war, and a detester of murderous barbarity. this vent to my eternal abhorrence of such pre
These abominable principles, and this more posterous and enormous principles. abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation. I call upon that right reverend bench, those holy ministers of the Gospel, This speech had no effect. The amendment and pious pastors of our Church–I conjure them was rejected by a vote of 97 to 24. to join in the holy work, and vindicate the religion of their God. I appeal to the wisdom and
5 The tapestry of the House of Lords represented the law of this learned bench, to defend and sup- the English feet led by the ship of the lord admiport the justice of their country. I call upon ral, Effingham Howard (ancestor of Suffolk), to en. the Bishops, to interpose the unsullied sanctity | gage the Spanish Armada.