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ought to be more polite and have better | county towns, the freeholders cannot, but manners than the Commons; and that at their great expence, fatigue, and loss therefore it was expedient in them to set of time, be convened together at any one the Commons an example and open their place, to make elections for knights of the doors. shire; and that provision should be made, that, in such counties, the poll, if de-` manded, at the proclamation of the writ, may be taken at certain different places, for certain different districts within such counties."

Mr. T. Townshend said, he perfectly agreed with an hon. gentleman that the outrageous behaviour of the Lords ought not to be forgotten, and that he should have wished to have resented the insult personally to those who were daring enough to offer it. Several of the peers had expressed to him that they were ashamed of the proceedings of their brethren, and meant to have voted against them.

Mr. Edmund Burke said he by no means agreed with the duke of Argyle, that the peers of the realm had more manners than the Commons. He touched upon the pride of the peers, and said he apprehended more true politeness was to be found among the country gentlemen: he then argued in favour of opening the doors of both Houses on the principle of duty, declaring that if he could do his duty completely without, he would never desire to enter the doors of the House of Peers; but he was very well convinced, that upon certain occasions it was absolutely necessary the members should have free access to their respective Houses; that a great commercial Bill, the importation of provisions from Ireland, would probably have been lost, if he had not had access to the House of Peers, to explain the principles on which that Bill went; and that if the doors of that House had not been shut against the Lords last session, the Bill for the security of Literary Property would never have been rejected with such contempt, after it had passed the House of Commons; for if the young peers had come down and heard the arguments on it, it would have met with a different fate.

Here the matter dropped.

Bill for preventing Expences attending Elections.] Dec. 12. Mr. Rose Fuller moved, that the last of the Resolutions, which, upon the 5th of May last, were reported from the committee, who were appointed to consider of the laws in being, relative to the election or returns of members to serve in parliament, might be read. And the same was read as follows: "Resolved, That, in some counties in this kingdom, by reason of their great extent, or the particular situation their

Mr. Rose Fuller then observed, that it appeared at that time to the House, that there were several large counties, where it was extremely inconvenient for the freeholders to attend at an election for members to serve in parliament; he beg ed therefore, to acquaint them with what came within his own knowledge. He said, he resided in a county (Sussex) where he was eighty miles from the place of election, and that there were several freeholders who lived above a hundred miles off, and were obliged to go to give their suffrages at the expence of 4/. each, which he looked upon no less troublesome than expensive. He therefore moved, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill, for further preventing the expences attending elections of knights of shires, and for the more easy attendance of freeholders at such elections;" which was agreed to.

Debate in the Commons on the Navy Estimates.] Dec. 12. The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, Mr. Buller moved, That 16,000 men be employed for the Sea Service, for the year 1775, including 4,284 marines. He prefaced his motion with setting forth, that Admiral Harland was daily expected from the East Indies, with three sail of the line, and by that means 16,000 would be sufficient, which was 4,000 less than last year.

Mr. T. Townshend desired to know why 20,000 were necessary last year, and 16,000 would do this; and what quantity were necessary to be sent to America, and what proportion left to guard us at home.

Mr. Buller attempted to solve these questions, but could not; he therefore read an extract of a letter from admiral Amherst, commander at Plymouth, informing, that they had several supernumerary seamen, and that their guard-ships were full; that the number of ships in America were three third-rates, one fourthrate, six sixth-rates, seven schooners, and two armed vessels; the number of seamen 2,835.

Mr. Luttrell said he was much surprized | sent year less than the preceding one, to hear the hon. gentleman mention the notwithstanding the speech from the state of our seamen in such a manner; throne announced the very critical and that, had he been apprized of the business alarming situation of affairs in America. coming on that day, he would have pre- This was a conduct he could by no means pared himself to have answered him more reconcile; for taking the speech to have fully; yet he was so much a judge of ma- been framed upon right information, as ritime affairs as to know it was impossible calling for measures of a spirited and dethat the ships or seamen the hon. gentle- cisive nature, what sort of correspondence man had mentioned to be in America there was between the contents of the could be there for some months, for ships speech and the naval establishment, was that went out at this season were prevented more than he could possibly discover. by winds and weather, so that they were But were he to declare his sentiments, he obliged to go to the West Indies or put feared it would be found to be a mere miback, and could not arrive in America till nisterial trick: a forming of estimates, in the spring: that he should be glad to be the first instance, that were never intended informed whether or not the seamen sent to be adhered to, or rather designed as in the fleet to America were taken out of mere waste paper, and afterwards surprize the guard-ships here, which consequently and drive the House into grants of a very weakened our strength at home, and left improper and burdensome nature. Such us almost defenceless; and whether the being his suspicions, he could not face his admiral's account of the full complément constituents without previously knowing of men did not include those draughted what he must tell them, both in relation off to other ships, and sent to America, to further burdens, and what was involved which might be set down as lent, but were in such an enquiry, if compulsive meaabsolutely lost, as a defence to this coun- sures were really intended to be pursued try, until they returned. towards the Americans; for to talk of enforcing the acts upon a reduced establishment, either naval or military, was a sort of language fit to be held only to children.

Col. Barré said, he had been informed, that unless admiral Harland arrived in ten days, it would be impossible for him to arrive in less than four months, therefore the number of seamen expected from his coming home was very precarious and not to be depended on.

Mr. Hartley desired to know the number of ships that were on the American station before the present disturbance.

Mr. Buller answered, one fourth-rate, six sixth-rates, seven schooners, two armed vessels, and about 1,900 men.

Col. Barré desired to know what force we had at home to defend us against any attack of an enemy.

Mr. Buller replied, 5,900 men in the guard-ships, and 1,168 men in the other ships on the British and Irish coasts.

Mr. Luttrell said, he was much afraid as we would not take the Spaniards' words, that they would not take ours, but take advantage of our weakness, and repay themselves for the piracies we committed prior to the last war.

The Resolution was then agreed to.

Lord Beauchamp said, that the noble lord had communicated to him, that morning, his intentions of moving something on the subject matter of the present conversation; that he had accordingly apprised the noble lord who presided at the Treasury therewith; and that his lordship had authorised him to acquaint the House, that he had no information whatever to lay before it; nor measures to propose respecting America. He was therefore of opinion, that as the noble lord was indisposed and absent, it would be better, particularly as there was a very thin House, to suspend all further solicitude, till his lordship should have an opportunity of fully explaining the motives of his conduct in person.

Mr. Cornwall endeavoured to apologize for the minister's conduct. He insisted, that the present was not a proper time to enter into any discussion relative to American affairs; that the naval reduction, he Dec. 13. Lord John Cavendish begged presumed, was founded on good and subleave to state to the House the conduct of stantial reasons, however the motives administration in one or two points, parti- which gave birth to them might vary with cularly respecting the naval establishment the circumstances; and, that when the for the ensuing year. He observed, that question concerning Great Britain and the there was 4,000 seamen voted for the pre-colonies came in a parliamentary way be

fore the House, every member would then be fully at liberty to deliver his sentiments and maintain his opinions.

Mr. Burke answered, and was extremely severe on the conduct of administration. Among a variety of other things, he compared the House of Commons to a dead senseless mass, which had neither sense, soul, or activity, but as it derived them from the minister. If his lordship chuses to tell them one day, that America is in a state little short of actual rebellion, it is all very well; if in a few days after, he acquaints them, at second hand, that he had no information whatever to authorize such an assertion, who can doubt his candour and his veracity? Both assertions still remain uncontradicted, and all must be silence. A few days since it was indecent to call for papers, because they could be had; to look for them now would be improper, because they cannot be had. That however absurd it might seem, such a conduct was nevertheless founded on system; for if matters turned out well, the merit would be imputed to the minister; whereas, if they should be attended with miscarriage or misfortune, it is no more than applying to parliament, and every thing will be set to rights; that is, we despise the parliament, who are our only proper and constitutional counsellors; but when we have blundered and ruined our affairs, perhaps beyond a possibility of redress, then we will come to parliament"-to do what?-to remedy what is incurable, and to recover what can never be regained! It is an old device, though methinks not a very wise one, to trust to the chapter of accidents. The book in which it is contained, has the beginning and the end torn out. This valuable chapter counsels you to trust to accidents, because accidents are sometimes productive of good fortune. He concluded his observations with remarking, that ignorance and folly are nearly allied; that to effect the latter, we must be held in ignorance, and that by both, we would be the fitter to receive vigilance, activity, information and knowledge, whenever the minister thought proper to communicate one or inspire the other.

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Sir William Mayne condemned the very extraordinary conduct of those in power, in withholding from the House the necessary information, or at least the best they had; and, laying his hand on his breast, solemnly protested he would never have voted for the address without

the proposed amendment, had he imagined they meant to refuse the necessary explanations, on which the speech was supposed to be founded.

Mr. Hartley rising to speak was interrupted, and informed from the chair, that as there was no question before the House to debate on, gentlemen could not be permitted to proceed in such a disorderly manner. However, being desired to proceed, he quoted several instances, since the year 1765, both by petition and otherwise, wherein the Americans offered to contribute towards the public support, by way of requisition. He therefore submitted it to the consideration of the House, whether it would not be proper to suspend the operation of the late Acts relative to Boston, pro tempore, in order to see if the colonists still continued to be of the same way of thinking; and if they did, then to have requisitory letters under the great seal issued, and directed to the several provinces, requiring them to contribute in certain proportions towards the public expence.

Lord Beauchamp observed, that the present was no more than a desultory conversation; that he perceived the hon. gentleman mistook entirely the design of the late Acts, for they were not directed to the question of taxation, but were meant to apply, as a particular punishment for certain outrages and acts of disobedience committed by the inhabitants of Boston alone.

Lord John Cavendish replied, that the present conversation, as originating with him, was not immediately connected with the propriety of the conduct of Great Britain, or America, but was simply intended to prevent a deceit being put or practised on the House by framing ideal estimates, which were afterwards, at a very improper season, perhaps, meant to be increased.

Lord Beauchamp reminded the House how very irregular it was to continue to debate in this manner; and said, that as the army estimates were to be taken into consideration on the 16th, when probably the House would be full, and the noble lord, who could give satisfaction in this business, would be present, begged that any further consideration of it might be deferred till that day.

Captain Luttrell replied, That this was a very uncommon way of satisfying the House; for, by this mode of reasoning, if the noble lord should not, or could not

attend, they must submit, and go to the country without any information what


Mr. Rose Fuller said, a motion ought to be made before the holidays, for a committee on the present state of America.

Debate in the Commons on the Army Estimates.] Dec. 16. The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, Lord Barrington moved, that a number of land forces, including 1,522 invalids, amounting to 17,547 effective men, commission and non-commission officers included, be employed for the year 1775.

Mr. Rose Fuller desired to know in what manner the troops serving in America were stationed; and what number were now on service at Boston, or were intended for it?

Lord Barrington answered, that the force now on duty there, consisted of seven battalions and five companies of artillery; and he knew officially, there were three battalions more ordered to join those at Boston.

Mr. Fuller said, that he had no motion to make, but should be glad to know from the noble lord at the head of the Treasury, if he had any information to lay before the House, or any measures to propose respecting America; because, if he had not, he thought it the duty of parliament to interpose and call for papers, and proceed on such information, however defective, as well as they could. He added, that he looked upon the measures adopted by the last parliament, impolitic and impracticable; and that they could never be prudently or effectually put in execution.

him, (Mr. Fuller) as to propose to appoint a committee for taking the affairs of Âme

rica into consideration.

Mr. T. Townshend declined entering into any consideration of the present state of America; but desired to know from the noble lord, whether the present estimates were meant to be real ones, or whether intended to be held out to the House and the public, as very moderate; while they were to be led, unawares, into a heavy expence, under the heads of an encreased navy debt, services incurred, and not provided for, and perhaps a vote of credit?

Lord North replied, the forces now demanded were sufficient, unless from the conduct of the other colonies it should be judged necessary to extend the line with respect to them.

Governor Johnstone said: I think a true determination upon this question can only be made after knowing the plan which the gentlemen in administration are resolved to pursue, with respect to American affairs. It is now clear, that the people of America, actuated with the same firm and resolute spirit, and tinctured with the same enthusiasm which enabled our ancestors to withstand the unjust claims of the crown, in the days of Charles the 1st, are determined to resist the high doctrines of parliamentary supremacy, held forth by this country, which must, in its consequences, reduce their liberties to a level with the colonies of France and Spain. If we are resolved to adhere to those incomprehensible tenets, echoed with so much applause in the last parliament, and on the first day of the present sessions, nothing but the sword can now decide the contest. In that event it is in vain to suppose that the peace establishment of the army now proposed

Lord North confessed the very great importance of the subject now mentioned. He said, it would require the utmost dili-will be sufficient; for every wise man must gence and attention, as a matter of the greatest magnitude ever debated within those walls. He could not, he said, entirely acquiesce in the condemnation of measures hastily, which had been taken up and adopted upon such weighty motives; that at the time, it was impossible to foretel precisely how they might answer; but the shortness of the time and other circumstances considered, they ought to have a fair trial before they were reprobated; and that the wisdom and policy of them could be only finally known in the event. He concluded by assuring the House, that he had information to lay before it, shortly after the holidays; and that he would so far adopt his hon. friend's ideas behind

foresee, that our rivals in Europe cannot
be idle spectators in such a scene. Sup-
posing then, a sufficient force is employed
to subdue the Americans, this country
must be left destitute of the necessary de-
fence. No man is less desirous of
menting a military establishment than my-
self. I foresee that the liberties of this
country must, in the end, fall a sacrifice
to that power which has annihilated the
rights of mankind in other states. Be-
tween the danger from abroad, and the
danger from those who are to defend us,
according to the present establishments of
Europe, the situation is very nice.
my own part, however wisely the military
system is interwoven into our constitution


in time of peace, citizen and soldier happily intermixing with each other in equal privileges, yet upon an invasion, or a civil war, when men of high minds come to assemble in military camps, with the weapons in their hands, the contagion of power will soon spread; nevertheless, we must maintain (though with a watchful eye) a necessary force for defence, in case of invasion. I speak as a seaman, confident, that whenever France shall find an enterprizing officer, capable of conducting such an attempt with skill and resolution, that the landing of an army in this country is not to be prevented, by all the ships we can arm, while the elements continue so various, and the distance so short. There are several methods to accomplish this, which I shall not repeat here, from prudential motives; but I am so convinced of the truth of my assertion, that I consider it as the duty of every man in this country to be ready to dispute the fate of this kingdom on a battle; and if we are left without a necessary strength to support wavering minds in such a conjuncture, while we are thinking of depriving our fellow-citizens of their just and legal rights America, we may, as a proper punishment, lose our own. It is true, that, by the present vote, we do not preclude ourselves from an augmentation in the course of the session, in case the exigencies of the state shall require it, and so far I am willing to assent to the present motion; but, I beg gentlemen in administration will, in the mean time, draw no merit from proposing so low an establishment, unless they intend to alter their measures; since it is undoubtedly inadequate to our situation; and I would likewise caution the landed interest, not to plume themselves on the escape they have made, since it is equally evident, a further taxation, if not included in the general vote of this year, must be demanded by extraordinaries, or a vote of credit, to meet them next session, under the multiplied expences of that mode of raising money.


With regard to the navy, I confess it to be extremely hard, that the noble lord should be attacked in the last session of parliament for too great profusion, and blamed in this for the reduction that was then deemed necessary: but I am not one of those who are captivated with a simple proposition upon paper, when all the avenues of extravagance are kept open; while the situation of our affairs, from the worst judged policy, necessarily leads us

to open these sluices of expence. It is therefore in vain to hold out œconomical resolutions in our votes, when our conduct must produce a contrary effect. I hope, however, that the sentiments of gentlemen on the subject of American affairs begin to alter. I hope, they will now see what men, uncorrupted by the luxurious vices of a great capital, are capable of suffering, in support of essential privileges; and that the flattering expectations of seeing America at our feet, are now vanished.

To those who conceive that men are to yield their rights from oppression and distress, I would recall to their memory the sufferings of the late parliament of Paris. The haughty mind of a debauched minister and an imperious chancellor had induced the late king of France to violate all the ancient and established privileges of that august body, the only remaining check against the despotism of the monarch: even men of wit and genuis were found base enough to vilify the claims of the parliament; for I am sorry to observe, that fortitude of mind does not always accompany excellent talents; and that many men possessing those rare gifts are too often induced to lend their ingenuity to the hand that pays them, in support of the doctrines of the day. Is it possible for any of the people of America to undergo greater distress than those worthy patriots in France have suffered? Deprived of their office and subsistence, banished from their friends, vilified by the court, no prospect of a change; yet supported by principle and a good conscience, they have now seen their day of triumph, and felt the reward of virtue; securing to their country, by their perseverance, more essential rights than have been obtained by three civil wars. After such concessions from the king of France, shall the king of Great Britain be ashamed to yield to the just cries of two millions of his subjects!

I know all the arguments which are used to entangle weak men in support of the present arbitrary tenets. The subject, indeed, is complicated; and men are confounded, more than convinced. It is said that legislation existing in the parlia ment of Great Britain, taxation, which is a part of legislation, must necessarily be included. The various privileges which subsist in every free state, are hardly to be determined by any reasoning à priori. Such dilemmas occur on every subject.

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