Слике страница
PDF
ePub

against law. It is not the least of our national misfortunes that the strength and character of our army are thus impaired. Infected with the mercenary spirit of robbery and rapine, familiarized to the horrid scenes of 5 savage cruelty, it can no longer boast of the noble and generous principles which dignify a soldier; no longer sympathize with the dignity of the royal banner, nor feel the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war, “ that

make ambition virtue!” What makes ambition virtue ? 10 the sense of honor. But is the sense of honor con

sistent with a spirit of plunder or the practice of murder ? Can it flow from mercenary motives, or can it prompt to cruel deeds ? Besides these murderers and plunderers,

let me ask our Ministers, what other allies have they 15 acquired ? What other powers have they associated to

their cause ? Have they entered into alliance with the king of the gipsies ? Nothing, my Lords, is too low or too ludicrous to be consistent with their counsels.

The independent views of America have been stated 20 and asserted as the foundation of this Address. My

Lords, no man wishes for the due dependence of America on this country more than I do. To preserve it, and not confirm that state of independence into which your meas

ures hitherto have driven them, is the object which we 25 ought to unite in attaining. The Americans, contending

for their rights against arbitrary exactions, I love and admire. It is the struggle of free and virtuous patriots. But, contending for independency and total disconnection

from England, as an Englishman, I cannot wish them 30 success; for in a due constitutional dependency, includ

ing the ancient supremacy of this country in regulating their commerce and navigation, consists the mutual happiness and prosperity of both England and America.

She derived assistance and protection from us, and we 35 reaped from her the most important advantages. She

was, indeed, the fountain of our wealth, the nerve of our strength, the nursery and basis of our naval power. It is our duty, therefore, my Lords, if we wish to save our country, most seriously to endeavor the recovery of these most beneficial subjects; and in this perilous crisis, per- 5 haps the present moment may be the only one in which we can hope for success; for in their negotiations with France, they have, or think they have, reason to complain. Though it be notorious that they have received from that power important supplies and assistance of 10 various kinds, yet it is certain they expected it in a more decisive and immediate degree. America is in ill-humor with France ; on some points they have not entirely answered her expectations. Let us wisely take advantage of every possible moment of reconciliation. Besides, the 15 natural disposition of America herself still leans toward England ; to the old habits of connection and mutual interest that united both countries. This was the established sentiment of all the continent; and still, my Lords, in the great and principal part, the sound part of Amer- 20 ica, this wise and affectionate disposition prevails. And there is a very considerable part of America yet sound — the middle and the southern Provinces.

Some parts may be factious and blind to their true interests; but if we express a wise and benevolent disposition to communicate 25 with them those immutable rights of nature and those constitutional liberties to which they are equally entitled with ourselves, by a conduct so just and humane we shall confirm the favorable and conciliate the adverse. I say, my Lords, the rights and liberties to which they are 30 equally entitled with ourselves, but no more. I would participate to them every enjoyment and freedom which the colonizing subjects of a free state can possess, or wish to possess; and I do not see why they should not enjoy every fundamental right in their property, and every 35 original substantial liberty, which Devonshire, or Surrey, or the county I live in, or any other county in England, can claim ; reserving always, as the sacred right of the Mother Country, the due constitutional dependency of 5 the Colonies. The inherent supremacy of the state in regulating and protecting the navigation and commerce of all her subjects, is necessary for the mutual benefit and preservation of every part, to constitute and pre

serve the prosperous arrangement of the whole empire. 19 The sound parts of America, of which I have spoken,

must be sensible of these great truths and of their real interests. America is not in that state of desperate and contemptible rebellion which this country has been de

luded to believe. It is not a wild and lawless banditti, 15 who, having nothing to lose, might hope to snatch some

thing from public convulsions. Many of their leaders and great men have a great stake in this great contest. The gentleman who conducts their armies, I am told, has

an estate of four or five thousand pounds a year; and 20 when I consider these things, I cannot but lament the

inconsiderate violence of our penal acts, our declarations of treason and rebellion, with all the fatal effects of attainder and confiscation.

As to the disposition of foreign powers which is as25 serted to be pacific and friendly, let us judge, my Lords,

rather by their actions and the nature of things than by interested assertions. The uniform assistance supplied to America by France suggests a different conclusion.

The most important interests of France in aggrandizing 30 and enriching herself with what she most wants, supplies

of every naval store from America, must inspire her with different sentiments. The extraordinary preparations of the house of Bourbon, by land and by sea, from Dunkirk

to the Straits, equally ready and willing to overwhelm 35 these defenceless islands, should rouse us to a sense of their real disposition and our own danger. Not five thousand troops in England ! hardly three thousand in Ireland! What can we oppose to the combined force of our enemies ? Scarcely twenty ships of the line so fully or sufficiently manned that any admiral's reputation would 5 permit him to take the command of. The river of Lisbon in the possession of our enemies ! The seas swept by American privateers! Our Channel trade torn to pieces by them! In this complicated crisis of danger weakness at home, and calamity abroad, terrified and in- 10 sulted by the neighboring powers, unable to act in America, or acting only to be destroyed — where is the man with the forehead to promise or hope for success in such a situation, or from perseverance in the measures that have driven us to it? Who has the forehead to do so ? 15 Where is that man? I should be glad to see his face. You cannot conciliate America by your present mea

You cannot subdue her by your present or by any measures. What, then, can you do? You cannot conquer; you cannot gain; but you can address can lull the fears and anxieties of the moment into an ignorance of the danger that should produce them. But, my Lords, the time demands the language of truth. We must not now apply the flattering unction of servile compliance or blind complaisance. In a just and necessary 25 war to maintain the rights or honor of my country, I would strip the shirt from my back to support it. But in such a war as this, unjust in its principle, impracticable in its means, and ruinous in its consequences, I would not contribute a single effort nor a single shilling. 30 I do not call for vengeance on the heads of those who have been guilty ; I only recommend to them to make their retreat. Let them walk off; and let them make haste, or they may be assured that speedy and condign punishment will overtake them.

35

sures.

you 20

My Lords, I have submitted to you, with the freedom and truth which I think my duty, my sentiments on your present awful situation. I have laid before you the ruin of your power, the disgrace of your reputation, the pollu5 tion of your discipline, the contamination of your morals, the complication of calamities, foreign and domestic, that overwhelm your sinking country. Your dearest interests, your own liberties, the Constitution itself, tot

ters to the foundation. All this disgraceful danger, this 10 multitude of misery, is the monstrous offspring of this

unnatural war. We have been deceived and deluded too long. Let us now stop short. This is the crisis the only crisis of time and situation — to give us a possi

bility of escape from the fatal effects of our delusions. 15 But if, in an obstinate and infatuated perseverance in

folly, we slavishly echo the peremptory words this day presented to us, nothing can save this devoted country from complete and final ruin. We madly rush into multiplied miseries, and “confusion worse confounded.”

Is it possible, can it be believed, that Ministers are yet blind to this impending destruction? I did hope that instead of this false and empty vanity, this overweening pride, engendering high conceits and presumptuous

imaginations, Ministers would have humbled themselves 25 in their errors, would have confessed and retracted them,

and by an active though a late repentance, have endeavored to redeem them. But, my Lords, since they had neither sagacity to foresee, nor justice nor humanity to

shun these oppressive calamities since not even severe 30 experience can make them feel, nor the imminent ruin of

their country awaken them from their stupefaction, the guardian care of Parliament must interpose. I shall therefore, my Lords, propose to you an amendment of

the Address to his Majesty, to be inserted immediately 35 after the two first paragraphs of congratulation on the

20

« ПретходнаНастави »