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a moment left; the point of honour is still safe; BOOK a few weeks may decide our fate as a nation. Were America suffered to form a treaty with 1777. France, we should not only lose the immense advantages resulting from the vast and increasing commerce of our colonies, but those advantages would be thrown into the hands of our hereditary enemy. America, my lords, is now contending with Great Britain under a MASKED BATTERY of France, which will open as she perceives this country to be sufficiently weakened by the contest. France will not lose so fair an opportunity of separating for ever America from this kingdom. This is the critical moment-for such a treaty must and will take place, should pacification be delayed; and war between Eng land and France is not the less probable because professions of amity continue to be made. It would be folly in France to declare it now, while America gives full employment to our arms, and is pouring into her lap her wealth and produce. While the trade of Great Britain lang guishes, while her taxes increase and her reve nues diminish, France is securing and drawing to herself that commerce which is the basis of your power. My motion was stated generally, that I might leave the question at large to the wisdom of your lordships. But, my lords, I will tell you fairly what I wish for I wish for a repeal of


BOOK every oppressive act passed since 1763; I would XVII. put America precisely on the footing she stood

at that period. If it be asked, Why should we submit to concede? I will tell you, my lords: Because you have been the aggressors from the beginning; you ought, therefore, to make the first overture. I say again, my lords, you have been the aggressors, you have made descents upon their coasts, you have burned their towns, plundered their country, made war upon the inhabitants, confiscated their property, proscribed and imprisoned their persons;-you have injured, oppressed, and endeavoured to enslave them. America is therefore entitled to redress. Let then reparation come from the hand that inflicted the injuries; let conciliation succeed to oppression; and I maintain, that parliament will again recover its authority; that his majesty will be once more enthroned in the hearts of his subjects; and that your lordships, as contributing to so great, benignant, and glorious an event, will receive the prayers and benedictions of every part of the British empire."

The peers in administration repeated upon this occasion their accustomed arguments against concessions of any kind, as an acknowledgment of weakness on our part, which would excite the contempt of our friends, and foster the malice of our enemies. They positively denied any


danger from France, and asserted, that "the BOOK assistance given to the Americans proceeded neither from the court nor the ministers, but 1777. from the spirit of military enterprise and commercial adventure; and finally, that the motion arraigned in the most improper terms measures which had received the sanction of parliament." On a division, the numbers were 99 to 28 peers who supported the question.

On the 7th of June, 1777, the session was ter minated, and his majesty expressed in his speech his entire approbation of the conduct of parliament, lavishing upon them high and flattering compliments for the unquestionable proofs they had given of their CLEAR DISCERNMENT of the TRUE INTERESTS of their COUNTRY. The pride and presumption of the court seemed at this period to have no bounds or limits. The American government having a very considerable number of British prisoners in their possession, applied during the spring of the present year, through the medium of Dr. Franklin, resident of the United States at Paris, to lord Stormont, ambassador from the king of England, to exchange them for an equal number of Americans. To which his lordship made this memorable answer! "The king's ambassador receives no application from rebels, unless they come to im plore his majesty's mercy." Thus wantonly and

BOOK wickedly were the horrors of war deepened, and XVII thus the eternal principles of justice and mercy

1777. sacrificed to the barbarous and wretched etiquette of a court.

During the session a memorial in a very unusual style had been delivered by sir Joseph Yorke, ambassador at the Hague, to the States General, in which his excellency declared, "That the king, his master, had hitherto borne with unexampled patience the irregular conduct of the subjects of their high mightinesses, in their interested commerce at St. Eustatia, as also in America. If, said the ambassador, the measures which your high mightinesses have thought proper to take, had been as efficacious as your assurances have been amicable, the undersigned would not now have been under the necessity of bringing to the cognizance of your high mightinesses facts of the most serious nature. His excellency then proceeds to state, that M. Van Graaf, governor of St. Eustatia, had permitted the seizure of an English vessel, by an American pirate, within cannon shot of the island; and that he had returned from the fortress of his government the salute of a rebel flag and the ambassador concludes with demanding, in his majesty's name, and by his express order, from their high mightinesses, a formal disavowal of the salute by Fort Orange at


St. Eustatia to the rebel ship, and the dismission BOOK and immediate recall of the governor Van Graaf; declaring farther, that until such satisfaction is 1777. given they are not to expect that his majesty will suffer himself to be amused by mere assurances, or that he will delay one instant to take such measures as he shall think due to the interest and dignity of his crown.

The States, highly offended at the imperious. language of this memorial, would give no answer whatever to the ambassador, but ordered count Welderen, their resident in London, to deliver into the king of England's own hand a counter-memorial, in which they complain of the menacing tone that reigns throughout that of the English court, such as ought not to take place between sovereign and independent powers; adding, however, "that from the sole motive of demonstrating their regard to his majesty, they have actually dispatched orders to M. de Graaf to render himself within the republic without delay, in order to give the necessary information respecting his conduct; nor do they scruple to disavow, in the most express manner, any act or mark of honour which may have been given by their officers to any vessels belonging to the colonies of America, so far as it may imply a recognition of American independence." The King thought proper to declare

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