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The Lord Mayor, Mr. Wilkes :
1 A new argument, Sir, in favour of the
motion in your hand seems at this time to Sir; the question now before the arise from the nature of most of the Peti. House has been so frequently and so ably titions complaining of undue elections, spoken to by the hon. gentleman who which have been presented to us in this made the motion, and is in general so per- first session of the parliament. The ge. fectly understood, that I shall trouble you neral complaint is that of bribery and cor. with little more on this occasion than to ruption. Short parliaments, Sir, if they return him my hearty thanks for his truly did not totally eradicate this most pernici. patriotic endeavours and noble perseve. ous practice, must necessarily diminish rance in a business of this importance. the evil in no small degree. By the freFrequent parliaments, Sir, are the ancient quent return of appeals to the people, the constitution of England, and the right of public money in the minister's hands the people to them arises from the nature would not be found always adequate to of all delegated power, and the necessity the crooked counsels of an insidious court, of a controul. If a representative in the nor to a determined purpose of regularly first session of a parliament acts contrary counteracting the wishes of a nation. The to the duty of the trust reposed in him, is floodgates of the treasury, however widely it fit that his constituents should be com- opened, would on such repeated occasions pelled to wait till the end of a tedious scarcely afford torrents copious and impeperiod of seven years before they can tuous enough to.carry away all sense of have an opportunity of depriving him of duty to the constitution, all regard to the a power, which he so early abused ? I laws and liberties of the country. If this think the case now mentioned actually House were elected for a short term only, exists in the very dawn of this new parlia- a commerce of corruption between the ment. Several gentlemen have talked of minister and the representative could not the last parliament in the terms of reproach grow up to acquire the strength and conand indignation which that profligate as- sistency which is given by a period of sembly most justly merited. I fear, Sir, seven years security, and independency the present parliament are treading in the on the power by which we were created. same steps, which conducted their imme. I beg the indulgence of the House, Sir, diate predecessors to the utter hatred of for only one more short observation. the nation. They seem to advance with This motion strikes me as a kind of pargiant strides to a like detestation from this liamentary test, which brings every thing age, and from all posterity. The people home to our consciences. It cannot fail without doors, especially in the capital, of meeting in this House the support of make no scruple to affirm that the ma- all the true friends of the ancient constijority of this House have even thus early, tution of England, of all who mean to act in one great instance, acted contrary to honestly, for they run no risk. They are the plain duty, which they owe to their sure of the applause, and free choice of country, and to the sacred trust reposed their constituents, on every fresh appeal. in them. I allude, Sir, to the contempt | The venal and interested, all who think shewn of the Petition* of so respectable lightly of their ties and obligations to their a body as the merchants of the city of masters, and do not hold themselves bound London trading to North America. This to hear and redress the injuries of the nathe majority have done in defiance of all tion which they represent, but are regard. decency, and of the great principles of less of the feelings of the people, intent the constitution. I am sorry to observe, only on the public plunder; all these have that the alarm is already become general, their terrors, and certainly not ill-groundthat from this early abuse of their trust, 1 ed, on the first suggestion of an appeal to the delegated powers, which the same men their constituents. From such men only, have so lately received for the security an opposition to this motion is to be exand preservation of the rights of their con | pected. The representative who is constituents, will be employed through a scious of having merited well of his concourse of the next seven years for our stituents, will always rejoice at the oppordestruction, and that of our fellow-sub tunity of applying for frequent proofs of jects in America, unless the excellent mo their regard and trust; will desire, will tion of the hon. gentleman should arrest earnestly solicit, this appeal; while the them in their career.
man who has acted contrary to the clear
dictates of his duty, and betrayed his * See p. 168, of the present volume,
trust, will naturally dread every such oc- they would not import into British Ame. casion, will tremble even at the distant | rica any melasses, syrups, paneles, coffee, view of the spirited indignation, with or piemento, from the British plantations; which he would be rejected. A guilty and that after the 10th of Sept. 1775, if mind, Sir, frequently braves the silent re- the Acts and the parts of the Acts of the proaches of a wounded conscience, but | British parliament therein mentioned, are can seldom bear up against that public not repealed, they would not directly, or contempt and infamy which I trust will indirectly, export any merchandize or always pursue parliamentary prostitution. | commodity whatsoever to the West Indies;
Mr. Moysey entered into a clear and and representing to the House that the substantial investigation of the question, British property in the West India islands took notice of the efforts made by the amounts to upwards of 30 millions sterlgreat constitutional Whigs immediately | ing; and that a further property of many after the Revolution, to obtain the trien- millions is employed in the commerce nial law; of the great benefits derived created by the said islands, a commerce from that law, during a course of upwards comprehending Africa, the East Indies of 20 years, and the great political motives and Europe; and that the whole profits which produced its repeal in the first year and produce of those capitals ultimately of George the first. He said those mo. l center in Great Britain, and add to the tives originated in temporary expediency; national wealth, while the navigation ne. that the measure was consented to on the cessary to all its branches, establishes a principle of immediate preservation and strength which wealth can neither purstate necessity; and as those causes no chase nor balance; and that the sugar longer subsisted, every colour of reason plantations in the West Indies are subject and argument for retaining septennial par- to a greater variety of contingencies than liaments must fall with the motives which many other species of property, from gave birth to them.
their necessary dependence on external Mr. Serjeant Glynn contended that the support; and that therefore, should any present mode of convening parliaments interruption happen in the general system was repugnant to the great principles of of their commerce, the great national the constitution, and would in the end, he stock thus vested and employed must bepredicted, be destructive of the constitu. | coine unprofitable and precarious; and tion itself.
that the profits arising from the present The House divided. The Yeas went state of the said islands, and that are forth.
likely to arise from their future improveTellers.
ment, in a great measure depend on a S Mr. Ald. Sawbridge
free and reciprocal intercourse between YEAS Mr. Ald. Oliver- . ·
them and the several provinces of North
America, from whence they are furnished va s Colonel Egerton - -) 10OBS ? Mr. Cooper - - - -S
with provisions and other supplies abso:}195
lutely necessary for their support and the So it passed in the negative.
maintenance of their plantations; and that
the scarcity and high price, in Great BriPetition of the West India Planters to tain and other parts of Europe, of those the Commons respecting the American articles of indispensible necessity, which Non-Importation Agreement.] Feb. 2. A they now derive from the middle colonies Petition of the planters of his Majesty's of America, and the inadequate populasugar colonies residing in Great Britain; tion in some parts of that continent, with and of the merchants of London trading the distance, danger, and uncertainty, of to the said colonies, was presented to the the navigation from others, forbid the peHouse, and read; setting forth,
titioners to hope for a supply in any degree “ That the petitioners are exceedingly proportionate to their wants; and that, if alarmed at an Agreement and Association the first part of the said Agreement and entered into, by the congress held at Phila- | Association for a non-importation hath delphia, in North America, on the 5th of taken place, and shall be continued, the Sept. 1774, whereby the members thereof same will be highly detrimental to the agreed and associated, for themselves and sugar colonies; and that, if the second the inhabitants of the several provinces / part of the said Agreement and Association lying between Nova Scotia and Georgia, for a non-exportation shall be carried into that from and after the 1st of Sept, 1774, execution, which the petitioners do firmly believe will happen, unless the harmony | Majesty's command, relative to the Disthat subsisted a few years ago between turbances in North America. this kingdom and the provinces of Ame- Lord North recapitulated the informa. rica, to the infinite advantage of both, be | tion contained in the papers; discriminated restored, the islands, which are supplied the temper of the colonies; pointed out with most of their subsistence from thence, those where moderation prevailed, and will be reduced to the utmost distress, and where violence was concealed under the the trade between all the islands and this appearance of duty and submission; and kingdom will of course be obstructed, to named such as he thought were in a state the diminution of the public revenue, to of actual rebellion. He spoke of arts the extreme injury of a great number of which he asserted were employed on both planters, and to the great prejudice of the sides the Atlantic to raise this seditious merchants, not only by the said obstruc- spirit. "He drew a comparison between tion, but also by the delay of payment of the burdens borne by the people of Great the principal and interest of an immense Britain and those of America. The annual debt due from the former to the latter ; taxes paid by the inhabitants of Great and therefore praying the House, to take Britain, he said, amounted to ten millions into their most serious consideration that sterling, exclusive of the expences of colgreat political system of the colonies here- lection; and the number of inhabitants of tofore so very beneficial to the mother Great Britain he supposed to be eight country and her dependencies, and adopt millions, therefore every inhabitant paid such measures as to them shall seem meet, at least 25 shillings annually. The total to prevent the evils with which the peti- taxes of the continent of America amount tioners are threatened, and to preserve to no more than 75,0001.; the number of the intercourse between the West India | inhabitants of America were three millions, islands and the northern colonies, to the therefore an inhabitant of America paid ro general harmony and lasting benefit of more than sixpence annually. He then the whole British empire; and that they proceeded to lay down the legislative may be heard, by themselves, their agents, supremacy of parliament ; stated the meaer counsel, in support of their Petition.” sures adopted by America to resist it, and
Ordered to be referred to the consider the almost universal confederacy of the ation of the committee on the Petition of colonies in that resistance. Here, he said, the merchants of London, concerned in he laid his foot on the great barrier, which the commerce of North America.
separated, and for the present disunited
| both countries; and on this ground alone Debate in the Commons on an Address of resistance and denial, he raised every to the King upon the Disturbances in argument leading to the motion he intended North America.*] Feb. 2. The House resolved itself into a Committee of the
make no very intolerable speaker. At all whole House,t to consider of the several
events, I fancy I shall try to expose myself: Papers presented to the House, by his
• Semper ego auditor tantum ? Nunquamne * Previous to the debate, the avenues leading
reponam ?' to the House were so extremely crowded, that For my own part, I am more and more conthere was not room for the members to pass. vinced that we have both the right and the Complaint being made, the lobby and the gal power on our side, and that, though the effort lery were cleared, and none were allowed to may be accompanied with some melancholy remain, the Irisb members excepted.
circumstances, we are now arrived at the de
cisive moment of preserving, or of losing for † Mr. Gibbon to Mr. Holroyd. Boodle's, | ever, both our trade and empire. We expect Jan. 31, 1775. “ Sometimes people do not next Thursday or Friday to be a very great
ile because they are too idle, and sometimes day. Hitherto we have been chiefly employed because they are too busy. The former was in reading papers, and rejecting petitions. Peusually my case, but at present it is the latter. | titions were brought from London, Bristol, The fate of Europe and America seems fully | Norwich, &c. framed by party, and designed sufficient to take up the time of one man; and to delay. By the aid of some parliamentary specially of a man who gives up a great deal quirks, they have been all 'referred to a sepa
fime for the purpose of public and private rate inactive committee, which Burke calls a taformation. I think I have sucked Mauduit committee of oblivion, and are now considered and Hatcheson very dry; and if my confi as dead in law. Our general divisions are dence was equal to my eloquence, and my elo- | about 250 to 80 or 90." Gibbon's Miscellaquence to my knowledge, perhaps I might neous Works, vol. 1, p. 488.
to make; which he said would be for an constitution of Great Britain; to declare Address to the King, and for a'conference that we can never so far desert the trust with the Lords, that it might be the joint reposed in us, as to relinquish any part of address of both Houses. He hinted, that the sovereign authority over all his Ma. the measures intended to be pursued, in jesty's dominions, which by law is vested case the King should comply with their in his Majesty and the two Houses of Paraddress, were, to send more force; to liament; and that the conduct of many bring in a temporary Act to put a stop to persons, in several of the colonies, during all the foreign trade of New England, par- the late disturbances, is alone sufficient to ticularly to their fishery on the banks of convince us how necessary this power is, Newfoundland, till they returned to their for the protection of the lives and fortunes duty; at the same time declaring that of all his Majesty's subjects; that we ever whenever they should acknowledge the have been, and always shall be ready to supreme authority of the British legislature, pay attention and regard to any real griev. pay obedience to the laws of this realm, ances of any of his Majesty's subjects, and make a due submission to the King, which shall in a dutiful and constitutional their real grievances, upon their making manner be laid before us; and whenever proper application, should be redressed. any of the colonies shall make a proper His lordship observed, that the other colo application to us, we shall be ready to nies were not so culpable, and he hoped afford them every just and reasonable in might yet be brought to a sense of their dulgence; but that, at the same time, we duty to the mothercountry by more lenient consider it as our indispensable duty, hummeasures. The question, he said, lay | bly to beseech his Majesty, that his Ma. within a very narrow compass : it was jesty will take the most effectual measures simply, whether we should abandon this to enforce due obedience to the laws and claim, and at once give up every advantage authority of the supreme legislature; and arising both from the sovereignty and the that we beg leave, in the most solemn commerce, or to ensure both? Or whe, manner, to assure his Majesty, that it is ther we should resort to the measures in our fixed resolution, at the bazard of our dispensably necessary on such an occasion lives and properties, to stand by his Ma. He concluded with moving,
jesty, against all rebellious attempts, in the “ That an humble Address be pre- maintenance of the just rights of his Ma. sented to his Majesty, to return his jesty and the two Houses of Parliament. Majesty our most humble thanks, for
Mr. Dunning : having been graciously pleased to communicate to this House, the several papers Sir; the noble lord has endearelating to the present state of the British voured, by every light into which he can colonies in America, which, by his Ma- throw the question, to prove that the rejesty's commands, have been laid before sistance of the Americans, though it has this House, and from which, after taking gone no further than votes and resoluthem into our most serious consideration, tions, is actual and open rebellion; and we find, that a part of his Majesty's sub- we are to come to a resolution declaratory jects in the province of the Massachuset's of the same idea; I think, Sir, that thera Bay have proceeded so far to resist the is no difficulty in proving the direct conauthority of the supreme legislature, that trary position; that the Americans are - a rebellion at this time actually exists not in rebellion, that the votes and reso within the said province; and we see with lutions of the several congresses, both the utmost concern, that they have been provincial and continental, are decen countenanced and encouraged by unlawful and moderate, though firm declarations of combinations and engagements, entered the estimation in which liberty ought to into by his Majesty's subjects, in several be held, and tempered with the highest of the other colonies, to the injury and expressions of loyalty and duty to thei oppression of many of their innocent fellow sovereign. Against what is it that they subjects resident within the kingdom of rebel? Do they deny allegiance to hi Great Britain and the rest of his Majesty's Majesty ? Are they in arms in opposing dominions; this conduct on their part the King's troops ? By what explanation appears to us the more inexcusable, when or by what misconception, their conduct i we consider with how much temper his now to be branded with so violent and s Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament fatal an epithet, I cannot apprehend. You have acted, in support of the laws and passed Acts in the last session, which, in
stead of governing America, carried ty- of the Americans is not that of rebellion. ranny into the bowels of America, and The error of this idea is pointed out, by overturned all legal constitution in one of simply recurring, not to the elaborate are their provinces; and you utterly ruined guments of so learned a gentleman, but the capital of the empire in that part of to the deduction of common sense only. the world, by way of punishing the inso. | The several provincial meetings have orlence of a mob. You executed chose Acts dered an arrangement of the militia ; that by force of arms; the people of the colo- | the fensible men hold themselves armed, nies thinking themselves tyrannically used, accoutred, and ready for actual service; and conceiving that the nature of their de- that thirty rounds of powder and ball be pendency upon the parliament of Great provided. And the inhabitants of the coBritain was not well understood, on either lonies are so alert in obeying these orders, side of the water, in order to treat with that they go beyond their commission, this country upon such momentous points, and seize upon the King's artillery and convened a general congress ; the depu. stores; the whole continent joining in one ties met in that congress, came to resolu-universal voice of disobedience to the letions declaratory of their ideas of their gislature of this country. Now, Sir, if submission unto Britain, full of duty and this is not rebellion, I desire the learned allegiance to the King, and respect to-gentleman will explain what is rebellion. wards parliament; but as all free countries Throwing the stress of his argument on have licentious subjects, and freedom in the point of proving that the colonists si. that country is attended with licentious tuation is not that of rebellion, is implying news-papers, we, the parliament of Great that the present proposition is wrong, Britain, are to overlook the conduct of only on that account; and admitting, that the congress, and search for proofs of re- if they were in rebellion, the present mea. bellion among the American mobs and sures would be perfectly right. By every Colony news-papers, which have actually , principle of policy, we ought to render been laid before us as state papers, upon ourselves as secure as possible ; and if we which we are to form our resolutions ; yet heard that such menacing circumstances in the action of those mobs, and in the ex- as I have mentioned were breaking out in pressions of these news-papers is not re- Scotland, in Ireland, or Cornwall, would bellion to be found. And it must be by not the ministry deserve impeachment, if the most sophistical of all arguments, that they took no previous measures to smosuch a deduction is to be drawn; a people ther those seeds of rebellion before they governed by a constitution subordinate to grew up too powerful for resistance. our own, but the extent and powers of Should they wait till all the parties had which are unknown even to ourselves, joined, and were on one march to Lonprofessing the utmost loyalty and obe- don? The cases are similar: if the colodience to the King, and using no violence nists are allowed to proceed, they join in against bis troops, nor being any where one powerful army, to resist which will be in arms, cannot, but by the utmost per more difficult, and attended with more version of sense and expression, be deno. mischief, than to prevent the evils of such minated rebels. I insist that America is a campaign by vigorous measures, before not in a state of rebellion. I insist that their forces are in the field: I speak every appearance of riot, disorder, tumult, I openly upon this point, because I am conand sedition which the noble lord has so vinced their intentions are to open hosfaithfully recounted from news-papers, tility against the troops, and to become arises not from disobedience, treason, or independent of this country; and nothing Tebellion, but is created by the conduct can prevent their throwing off their alles of those, who are anxious to establish | giance, and becoming independent states, despotism ; and whose views are mani. and this country losing all the commercial Testly directed to reduce America to the advantages from them she ever enjoyed, most abject state of servility, as a prelude but a vigorous adherence to the measures to the realizing the same wicked system in now proposed.
Colonel Grant said, he had served in Mr. Attorney General Thurlow :
America, and knew the Americans well, :
was certain they would not fight. They Sir; the hon. and learned gentle would never dare to face an English army, man has greatly exerted his eloquence in and did not possess any of the qualificavrder to prove, that the present situation tions necessary to make a good soldier ; (VOL. XVIII.)
the mother country.