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fectual means to prevent the further effusion of blood, and to reconcile the honor and permanent interest of Great-Britain with the requisitions of his majesty's American subjects." The motion was seconded, but when the question was put, it passed in the negative without a division. Lord Barrington, in stating the army estimates, observed that the number of effective men in the army at Boston by the last returns, was 7415; but that the forces in America were augmented to 34 battalions, amounting in the whole to upward of 25,000 men. This augmentation being considerable, he thought it necessary to speak a few words on the subject. He said, he understood that the idea of taxation was entirely given up, and that being the case, it was absolutely necessary to secure the constitutional dependence of that country. The general plan of administration, he believed to be, first to arm, and send out commissioners; and then if the Americans should continue to resist, to employ against them the whole power sent out, in forcing them to obedience. His hint about the idea of taxation being entirely given up, alarmed many gentlemen who had supported government in their coercive measures, with a view, and in a firm persuasion that the revenue to be drawn from America, would, in a proportionable degree, lessen their own burdens.
Neither the secretary of state, who received the congressional petition brought by governor Penn, nor any other minister or person in authority, had since his arrival proposed a single question to him, or desired the smallest information from him. This circumstance gave countenance to the charge, that a system had been chalked out for ministers, which they were obliged blindly to pursue and to act in, merely as machines, without being at liberty to form an opinion as to justice, eligibility or consequence. [Nov. 10.] The duke of Richmond procured however, an examination of governor Penn before the house of lords. It ap peared from his examination-that congress was in the highest veneration imaginable by all ranks and orders of men-that he believed implicit obedience was paid to their resolutions through all the provinces-that in Pennsylvania 20,000 effective men had voluntarily enrolled themselves to enter into actual service if necessity required; and that among them were persons of the most respectable character in the province-that he presumed the major part were in flourishing situations-that beside these 20,000, there were 4000 minute-men, whose duty was pointed out by their description. They were to be ready for service at a minutes warning-that the Pennsylvanians perfectly understood the art of making gun-powder-that they had made that and salt-petre-that the art of casting cannon had been carried to great perfection-that small arms had been made to as great a degree
a degree of perfection as could be imagined-that the Americans were equally expert with the Europeans at ship-building---that he was sure the language of congress expressed the sense of the people of America in general, as far as it applied to Pennsylvania; and for the other provinces he affirmed the same, though from information only--that the petition which he had presented to the king, had been considered as an olive branch, and that he had been complimented by his friends as the messenger of peace-that he imagined the Americans, who placed much reliance on the petition, would be driven to desperation by its nonsuccess-that he was apprehensive that sooner than yield to what were supposed to be the unjust claims of Great-Britain, the Americans would take the resolution of calling in the aid of foreign assistance-and that, in his opinion, the neglect with which the last petition was treated, would induce the Americans to resign all hopes of pacific negociations. When he was afterward cross-examined he answered to some questions put to him -that except in the case of taxation, he apprehended the Americans would have no objection to acknowledge the sovereignty of Great-Britain that he knew nothing of the proceedings of the congress, they were generally transacted under the seal of secrecy and that in case a formidable force should be sent over to America in support of government, he did not imagine there were many who would openly profess submission to the authority of parliament. When governor Penn had withdrawn, the duke of Richmond, after speaking a few words, moved, "That the matter of the American petition affords ground for conciliation of the unhappy difference subsisting between the mother country and the colonies, and that it is highly necessary that proper steps be immediately taken for attaining so desirable an object." After a long and violent debate, the motion in favor of the petition was rejected by a division of 86 against 33, including proxies.
The house of commons was filled with no less altercation in consequence of the demands for the supplies on account of the American war. The land-tax was to be raised to four shillings in the pound. This augmentation occasioned the country gentlemen to turn their attention to an object particularly interesting to themselves. They had supported coersive measures, in expectation that a revenue would arise from the colonies, to lessen the weight of the burdens with which this country is loaded. Actuated by such hope, they were willing to advance money, while they had a prospect of being relieved from exactions in future, by contributions to be drawn from America. It was therefore with no small surprize and concern that they observed, by the language of
of ministry, that the idea of taxation was in a manner abandoned as inexpedient or impracticable. They declared, that if that essential object was relinquished, they also should recede from their intention of granting money for the prosecuting of a contest, from which no substantial benefits were to be derived; and which was attended with an expence, that nothing but the well founded expectation of large pecuniary future emoluments could encourage them to support. These discontents of the landed gentlemen were a serious alarm to ministry. The only method of pacifying them was a solem assurance that the intention of obtaining a revenue from America had never been dropped. Whatever language might have been held on this subject, no more was meant, than that in times of so much trouble and confusion, it. was not advisable to mix that with other causes of dissention and clamor in the colonies; but, though abandoned for the present, the idea fully subsisted in prospect. This explanatory answer having quieted the country gentlemen, the land tax was fixed at four shillings in the pound, by a majority of four to one.
An address, petition and meniorial, has been transmitted from the representatives of Nova-Scotia to the king and parliament, in ̈ consequence of the minister's conciliatory proposition during the last session. It proposes the raising of a revenue in the colony, by paying a certain fixed sum in the hundred on the importation of foreign goods. By which regulation the revenue will always bear a due proportion to the wealth and consumption of the colony. The rate of this duty is to be ascertained by parliament, and to remain unalterably fixed; the only future regulation to be allowed is, for making the duty correspond with the comparative value of money at the time the rates are settled. But it prays. "that when the exigencies of the state may require any further supplies from this province, that then such requisitions may be made in the usual manner formerly practised;" by which the petitioners evidently mean to secure themselves the right of. granting their own money in all such exigencies. It also contains. a list of grievances of which they entreat the redress, while they intimate the necessity of such redress to insure a permanent connection, and to retain the affections of the people.
As the petition proposed the raising of a revenue under the di rection of parliament, [Nov. 15.] administration received it; and on the day appointed the house of commons went into a committee upon it; when upon the motion of lord North it was resolve ed, "That the proposition in the petition is fit to be accepted, and that the amount of the duty should be eight pounds per centum, upon all such commodities-that on the formal settlement of this matter, all other taxes and duties should cease, such only ex-.
cepted as regulated commerce; the produce of which was to be carried to the account of the province-and that a direct importation into Nova-Scotia, of all wines, oranges, lemons, currants and raisins, from the place of their growth and produce, should be admitted. A fortnight after, the resolutions were reported, with a view to frame a bill agreeable to the prayer of the petitioners. But a multiplicity of greater objects engaging the time and attention of the ministers, and further consideration, occasioned a total relinquishment of this business.
[Nov. 16.] The rapidity with which ministry carried all their measures, did not prevent Mr. Burke's moving for a conciliatory bill. The motion was prefaced by a petition from the principal clothing towns in the county of Wilts; and that was intended to counteract another, which had been procured for a contrary purpose, and to prevent (in the petitioners words) the dreadful effects which might arise from such misrepresentation being conveyed to parliament. The debate that followed was not terminated till four in the morning, when the previous question being put, the motion was negatived by a majority of
210 to 105.
Some days after, the bill for prohibiting all intercourse with the Thirteen United Colonies was brought into parliament. You will have received it long before you can get this letter; and must have observed, that commissioners, whom it enables the crown to appoint, have only the power of simply granting pardons, but are not authorized to enquire into grievances, much less to offer the redress of them. This bill roused immediately the utmost fury of opposition; but the ministry were prepared to meet it without being moved from the ground they had taken. In the course of the various arguments and methods of reasoning employed against the bill, no few sarcasms were introduced. Among others, it was observed by one of its staunchest opposers, that the guardian genius of America had that day presided with full influence in the midst of the British councils. He had inspired the measures that had been resolved upon by those who directed the affairs of the country. They were evidently calculated to answer all the purposes which the most violent Americans, and their most zealous adherents could propose, by inducing the people in the colonies to unite in the most inflexible determination to cast off all dependence on this government, and to establish a free and independent state of their own. He therefore moved, that the title of the bill should be altered, and worded in such a manner as should express its real intent and meaning; in which case, he was of opinion, it should be stiled a bill for carrying more effectually into execution the resolves of congress. After a long and vehe
ment altercation, the motion for the bill was carried, (Dec. 11.) by 192 votes against 61.
In the house of lords, the opposition to the bill was no lesskeen and severe. It was reprobated as neither equitable, expedient or politic. This bill (it is said) completes the measures of that severity which refuses to listen to representations of a people, who persist in spite of ill treatment, to call themselves the subjects of Great-Britain; and who implore its clemency to suspend the sword lifted to strike them, till one more hearing has been granted them.
In the course of this famous debate, it was observed by a great law lord, that the question of original right or wrong, was not so much to be attended to, as the indispensabie necessity of selfdefence. We are now engaged in a war, and must exert ourselves to prosecute it with success. The critical situation of our circumstances compels us to fight. The laconic speech, which a Scotch general in the army of Gustavus Adolphus made to his soldiers, is precisely applicable to our situation. Pointing to the enemy he said, "See you those men, kill them, my lads, or they will kill you." After a contest which lasted till midnight, the motion for the commitment of the bill was carried by a division of 78 to 19.
It was followed by a protest of unusual length, and great energy, wherein it underwent a severe scrutiny. A minute investiga tion was made of every obnoxious part, and no censures were spared of which it was thought deserving. The protesting peers were Richmond, Ponsondy, Fitzwilliam, Abergavenny, Rockingham, Chedworth, Abingdon and Manchester. We dissent, say they, in one place," Because we reject with indignation that clause of this bill, which by a refinement in tyranny, and in a sentence worse than death, obliges the unhappy men, who shall be made captives in this predatory war, to bear arms against their families, kindred, friends and country; and after being plunder, ed themselves, to become accomplices in plundering their brethren." His majesty went to the house of peers, (Dec, 21.) and gave his assent to the above bill; and to others at the same time.
In the course of the debates upon the American business, the great importance of the colonies to the mother country was urged, by the ministry, as a reason for exerting the force of the nation in order to reduce them to obedience, though upon other occasions they had been spoken of as little consequence. That this reduction might be the sooner and more effectually secured, the states-general were solicited, by a letter of his majesty's own hand-writing, to dispose of their Scotch brigade, to serve against