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in support of the present measures. The same approbation was also given and assurances made, though with less earnestness and unanimity, by a number of towns in England.
The loss of the American commerce was not generally felt. The prodigious remittances of corn during the British scarcity, and the larger than usual sums which the colonists were enabled to pay from the advanced prices of various articles, these together occasioned an extraordinary influx of money; while an unusual demand for goods and manufactures of various sorts, from different parts of Europe, produced a quick circulation of trade, kept up the spirit of the mercantile classes, and prevented their complaining for want of the American market. Great numbers at the same time were rendered perfectly unconcerned at what had happened in America, or were even rejoiced, because of the benefits they were receiving from the contest. The war being carried on at such a distance, gave employment and emolument to an amazing number of people; and caused that bustle of business and plenty of cash, which checked all observation of deficiences in other branches of traffic. Add, that a tribe of contractors, dealers, and gamesters in stcoks and money transactions, were themselves animated, and encouraged others to joinin justifying and supporting governmental measures. Hence, that apathy which has been noted; and which continued till toward the meeting of parliament.
The ministry gave into great expences, to supply the army at Boston with fresh provisions and other articles. It is said that five thousand oxen, and fourteen thousand of the largest and fattest sheep, beside a vast number of hogs, were purchased and sent out alive. Vegetables of all kinds were bought up in incredible quantities. Ten thousand butts of strong beer were supplied by two brewers. The seemingly trifling necessaries of vegetables, casks and vinegar, amount in two distinct articles, detached from the general comprehension of other provisions, to near twentytwo thousand pounds : and the hay; oats and beans, for the single regiment of light cavalry there, amount to nearly as much. To whatever it was owing, the transports were not ready to sail, till the year was far spent. By this mean they were detained on the coasts by contrary winds, or tossed about by tempests, until the greater part of their live cargoes of hogs, and particularly of sheep, perished, so that the channel was every where strewed with their floating carcases. A large part of the vegetables must also have been destroyed by excessive fermentation.
The retaliation practised by congress in cutting off the British fisheries from all colonial provisions and supplies, threw the whole business upon the banks and coasts of Newfoundland into
the greatest confusion, and brought distress upon all who were employed by sea or land in that quarter. Instead of prosecuting the service they went upon, many of the ships were constrained to make the best of their way to any place where provisions could be procured. It was computed, that to the value of full haif a million sterling was left in the bowles of the deep, and forever lost to mankind, by the first operation of the fishery
The storm which happened last September the 11th, during the fishing season, and of which you will have received some general accounts, may probably be reckoned by the Americans, as it is here by the more serious or those who favour them, a providential retaliation of the supreme Ruler on such as had deprived them, by a parliamentary act, of that sustenance, which seemed to be given them as their peculiar property. Lest you should not have had the particulars, let me mention, that a most dreadful tempest, of a particular kind, discharged itself on the coasts of Newfoundland. The sea rose near upon thirty feet almost instantly. Above scven hundred boats, with all their people, perished, and eleven ships with most of their crews. At Havrede-Grace, no fewer than three hundred boats were lost. The devastation was hardly less on the land; the waters broke in beyond their usual bounds, and occasioned vast destruction, --The shores presented a shocking spectacle.
As the time approached for the meeting of a parliament, addresses were poured in from different quarters, condemning the conduct of the Americans ; approving of all the acts of government; and in general recommending a perseverance in the same until the colonies shall be reduced to a thorough obedience.Manchester distinguished itself by taking the lead. These addresses necessarily implied an approbation of the measure that was then in execution, viz. the sending of five battalions of Hanoverian troops, to replace the like number of British, in the garrisons of Gibralter and Minorca thereby to increase the force in America with the addition of the latter. The electoral regiments sailed for the places of destination the first of November.
Petitions of a contrary tendency to the addresses were presented from several places. Great bodies of American, African and West-India merchants, with a niajority of the inhabitants of the cities of London and Bristol, still struggled to have matters restored to their ancient state, but to no purpose. At a numerous meeting of the frecholders of Middlesex, (Sep. 25.) after agreeing to lostruct their members in behalf of public liberty, it was moved and carried, “ that a letter should be addressed from the freeholders of Middlesex to those of Great-Britain.” The tenor
of it is in favour of a reconciliation with America, and against the prosecution of the ministerial war. Four days after, (Sept. 29.) the lord mayor, Mr. Wilkes, acquainted the livery with his having received a letter from the continental congress, which was read; when it was moved and passed in the affirmative, " that a letter addressed from the livery of London to the electors of Great-Britain should be read;" which was done, and afterward published. Three days before the meeting of parliament, an event took place, which for a while engaged the public attention. Rumours of combinations in favour of the Americans, had been frequent. It was said, that they were privately abetted by the advice and correspondence, and assisted by the purses of personages of high rank and importance. These reports spread much alarm through the nation, and, exasperated those who considered the Americans as rebels. Hints and suspicions were given and taken; and at length a seeming foundation for them appeared. (Oct. 23.) Mr. Sayre, an American born, and a banker in London, was secured; and being examined before the secretary of state, lord Rochford, and confronted by his accuser, was committed to the tower for high treason, on the ridiculous charge, of a desiga of seizing his majesty at noon day, in his passage to the house of peers; of conveying him a prisoner to the tower, and afierwards out of the kingdom; and of overturning the whole form of government, by bribing a few sergeants of the guards, who were also to bribe their men. After a close and severe confinement of five days, an habeas corpus was granted, and he was brought before the lord chief justice of the king's bench, who admitted him to bail, on his own security, in the trifling sum of five hundred pounds, and that of two securities in as much, for his appearance to answer the charge. No prosecution was attempted, and at the session in December it was inoved to have his recognisance discharged, which was granted accordingly. The secretary will be sued for illegal imprisonment, though it is thought his conduct is justifiable in point of law.(Oct. 26.) His majesty opened the session of parliament with a speech, which proposed sanguinary measures, and charged the American leaders with having nothing in view, but the establishment of an independent empire. It says, “I have received the most friendly offers of fereign assistance; and if I shall make any treaties in consequence thereof, they shall be laid before you. And I have, in testimony of my affection for my people, sent to the garrisons of Gibraltar and Port Mahon, a part of my elec, toral troops; that a larger number of the established forces of this kingdom, may be applied to the maintenance of its authority. When the deluded multitude, against whom this force will
be directed, shall become sensible of their error, I shall be ready to receive the misled with tenderness and mercy. I shall give authority to certain persons to grant general or particular pardons and indemnities, in such manner, and to such persons, as they shall think fit, and to receive the submission of any province which shall be disposed to return to its allegiance. It may also be proper to authorise the persons so commissioned to restore such province, so returning to its allegiance, to the free exercise of its trade and commerce, and to the same protection and secue rity as if such province had never revolted.” When an address to his majesty in answer to the speech, had been moved and seconded in the house of commons, lord John Cavendish moved for an amendment; which occasioned a long debate, that was carried on with the utmost eagerness and unceasing energy on both sides. The employment of foreign troops to reduce Amierica, was an object animadverted upon by opposition with peculiar violence and indignation.
GeneralConway though in place, opposed administration ; and condemned, in the most decisive terms, the American war, declaring it to be cruel, unnecessary and unnatural-calling it in plain terms, a butchery of his fellow subjects. He reprobated every idea of conquering America, upon all the grounds of justice, expediency and practicability. He declared in the most upreserved terms against the right of taxation, and wished to see the declaratory law repealed (though it had passed under his own auspices when in administration)
rather than it should beemployed to colour designs, the most opposite to the intentions, publicly declared, of those who supported it in parliament, and particularly opposite to the fullest declaration of his own at the time of his moving it. The ministry made as good a defence as their cause would admit; and pleaded, “ We are now in a situation which doth not afford a possibility of receding without shame, ruin and disgrace.” Lord North acknowlegded, that he had been deceived ; that he did not imagine that all America would have armed in the cause. Administration, he said, proceeded upon the information they had received; if other gentlemen were in possession of better, why did they not communicate it? Administration had opposite information, but they adhered to that which came from persons whose interest made them parties with the inclinations of ministry. That which they neglected, as proceeded from mistake or a wrong bias, they now find to have been the truest.
The space of a whole night was consumed in the debates upon the royal speech ; it was near five in the morning when the motion made by the opposition was rejected by 978, against 108; after which the address was carried without a division.
In the house of lords, the debate on the address was also long and warm. The duke of Grafton suddenly and unexpectedly quitted administration. He went into a decisive condemnation of all the acts of government for some time past, with respect to America, as well as of the measures held out by the speech. He declared that he had been deceived and misled upon that subject; and that, by the withholding of information and the misrepresentment of facts, he had been induced to lend his countenance to measures which he never approved; and that he was blindly led to give a support to the one of coercing America, from a firm persuasion held out, that matters would never come to an extremity of that nature, and that an appearance of coercion was all that was requisite to establish a reconciliation. He asserted that nothing less than a total repeal of all the American laws which had been passed since 1763, could now restore peace and happiness. The lords in administration did not deny the imperfect. ness of their information in some matters, but pleaded the impracticability of obtaining such knowledge as might have prevented several disappointments. They were obliged to depend upon the sagacity and judgment of those whom they trusted. They had taken all possible pains to proceed upon sure grounds. It would be unjust to make them answerable for failures which were occasioned by events totally unexpected by the shrewdest persons upon the spot ; to such alone must be attributed the general want of success in the plans pursued in the course of the present year. There were two remarkable instances of this kind; the one was the total alteration of circumstances in the province of New York, the other was the implicit acquicscence of the southern colonies in the views and arrangements of the northern. These were events that accelerated with irresistible rapidia ty the revolution of affairs through the continent, and equally surprised the ministry, who from their intelligence, could be no wise apprehensive of such an unhappy turn. The defection of New-York they imputed to its being compelled into measures by the Connecticut insurgents, which the people there would never have otherwise adopted. They pleaded, “We must either reduce the colonies to submission, or for ever relinquish all dominion over them, and all advantage from North-America." The motion for the address was at length carried by 76 votes against 33. But a protest against it was drawn up, and signed by nineteen peers. In that they condemned the war commen. ced against America with the utmost freedom and asperity; and