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BOOK and cemented the union of the Colonists *. XVII. After much objection and opposition the bill 1775. finally passed the house without a division.

The only notice taken of the conciliatory proposition of the minister was by the assembly of NOVA SCOTIA, which had transmitted a petition. to parliament, presented to the house on the first day of the session, by the speaker, founded on the basis of that proposition; and it was now moved by lord North, that the proposal of a poundage duty ad valorem upon all commodities. imported, not being the produce of the British dominions in Europe or America, to be disposed of by parliament, should be accepted, and the duty fixed at eight per cent. in lieu of all other taxes; and in reward of this dutiful overture, the Act of Navigation itself was in part dispensed with in their favor, and they were allowed to import ORANGES and LEMONS, and some other articles of equal importance, directly from the place of their growth and produce, But as this barren province was notoriously unequal to the support of its own civil government, the offer of a revenue seemed to carry with it so ludicrous an appearance, that no bill was ever in the sequel brought forward in consequence of the resolu tions now passed,

* Ramsay's History of the American War.


A very extraordinary proposition had been re- BOOK cently made by the earl of Harcourt, lord lieutenant of Ireland, to the parliament of that king- 1775. dom, on the part of his majesty, who had pledged his royal word, that twelve thousand regular troops on that establishment should always remain stationary in that country; requesting four thousand of the said troops to be employed in the service of Great Britain, and engaging that Ireland should be relieved from the expence of the same; and ALSO, that the said troops should be replaced, if desired, by four thousand foreign protestant troops, to be likewise paid by Great Britain. Soon after the Christmas recess, a motion was made in the English house of commons, by Mr. Thomas Townshend, "that the earl of Harcourt was herein chargeable with a breach of privilege, and had acted in derogation of the authority of that house, and that a committee be appointed to enquire into the same." It was urged, "that it was the highest presumption in the lord lieutenant of Ireland to engage for the payment of any specific sums by the parliament of Great Britain; and much worse to pledge the parliament to the fulfilment of a contract so absurd and extravagant as to defray the expence of eight thousand men for the service of four thousand; and the design of introducing foreign troops into Ireland was represented as

BOOK fraught with danger and mischief." The minisXVIL ter appeared not a little embarrassed on this


occasion; and contented himself with saying, "that he was in no shape responsible for the conduct or actions of the lord lieutenant of Ireland; and he disavowed any knowledge of the specific instructions under which this requisition had been made. He allowed that the bargain appeared improvident, but it might be defended on the ground of necessity; and if it were allowed to be more eligible to employ native troops than foreigners in America, it would be a sufficient justification of the latter part of the proposition." Mr. Jenkinson, however, and others of the king's friends, who took part in the debate, assumed a much higher tone, and insisted upon his majesty's RIGHT of introducing foreign forces into any part of his dominions, when the exigencies of the state rendered it expedient or necessary. Mr. Jenkinson asserted, "that the message was worded in a manner perfectly agreeable to official usage, and that the measure was in exact conformity with, or more properly constituted a part of, that antient and acknowledged prerogative, by which the crown raised troops of its own will, and then applied to parliament for the payment, or entered into treaties for the same purpose with foreign princes, and pledged the national faith for a due performance of the articles." That part


of the motion which went to the appointment of BOOK a committee of enquiry was negatived by 224 to 106 voices, and the previous question put on the clause of censure, which was carried without a division.

Not discouraged by the ill success of former attempts, Mr. Fox, on the 20th February 1776, moved, "That it be referred to a committee, to enquire into the ill success of his majesty's arms in America." The vigor and comprehension of mind, the determined resolution, the open and magnanimous disposition of this senator, mature in judgment, though immature in years-excited hopes and expectations of eventual advantage to his country, which the malignant genius of Britain has hitherto delighted to disappoint.

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Declining," he said, "at present to enter into the developement of a system whose principles and complexion afforded the clearest and most unequivocal proofs that its ultimate design was the TOTAL DESTRUCTION of the CONSTITUTION, he grounded his motion on the acknowledged fact, that there had been somewhere gross ignorance, incapacity, or negligence. This must be imputed either to our ministers at home, or our commanders abroad: and it was absolutely necessary that the house should be fully informed on the subject, in order that a remedy might be applied to the evil before the nation fell a vic



BOOK tim to the treachery or misconduct of men on the one hand as unfit to deliberate and determine, as on the other to carry the measures so determined into execution. Public justice demanded such an enquiry. None but the guilty could wish to evade it. Our commanders by sea and land ought not to suffer the disgrace attached to ill success, in order to hide or palliate the blunders, the follies, the shameful and wretched inability of others." The administration appeared much chagrined and mortified at this exposure of their weakness. It was acknowledged "that ill success had hitherto attended the operations of the war, but that more vigorous measures would now be pursued; that a change of the former lenient system had been announced from the throne; and it would be highly disrespectful and improper to enter into the examinations proposed, until the measures now resolved upon were tried and the event known." The previous question being put at three o'clock in the morning, the motion was rejected by a majority of 240 to 104.

The treaties recently entered into by his majesty with the landgrave of Hesse, the duke of Brunswick, &c. for hiring large bodies of their troops for the American service, amounting to about eighteen thousand men, having been laid before the house, and a motion made by the mi

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