« ZurückWeiter »
History must record the events that happen in time, that future ages may know what has passed in former periods of the world, and take an example and warning from the transactions of their predecessors. An historian should know no party, but record truth. Adulation and flattery as well as rancor and prejudice, are inconsistent with the character of an ; honelt historian. The author presumes that your Majesty will meet with none of these in his history. Love of liberty, and of his sovereign, has made him write freely; and if he have any ruling prejudice, it is in favqur of his Country, his King, and the Law. Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to accept of this humble address of a subject, who is fincerely attached to the Brunswick family; who loves his King and country, values liberty and religion, and reveres the British coustitution; who sincerely wishes that your Majesty, your royal confort, and family, may live long, that it may be your happiness to rule with wisdom, live in tranquillity, and make your subjects happy ;--and at last enjoy a kingdom, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away ;
Such is the fincere prayer,
Newcastle upon Tyre
Dec. 12, 1780.
War more celebrated in history than the arts of peacema · the American War proceeded from two causes--an ac.
count of the Cyder Act-the Stamp Act-debates con. cerning it-an abridgement 'thereof-argumenss for, and against it—the proceeding of the Colonists againi it--the Americans would have defended themselves without our help the parliament would not suffer them - Doctor Franklin's letter to Governor Shirley.
W A R, though of all things tlie most destructive to the human species, and contrary to the original dietates of nature, has in all ages of the world filled up a great part of the history of nations. The laws and constitutions of kingdoms, and the improvements of virtue and science, make a small figure in the an. nals of empires, when compared with the ponderous polames that contain the achievements of soldiers, and the rise and progress of war. The works of Archimedes, Socrates, and Plato; the laws of Solon, and other eminent legislators, fill up but a few pages in comparison of the history of the wars of Greece and Rome. It is custom chat renders the most dis. agreeable things familiar, makes things disgustful at
first, afterwards pleasant ; and stamps the most abagdoned of all actions with the epithet of glory. The glory of war is a creature of the imagination ; often formed by caprice, nursed by policy, and manymitted by public authority; when yet this unnatural creature of fancy, instead of promoting public or private happiness, is the torment of the poffeffor, and the universal bane of all society. A thirst after this glory, and a pro. pensity for renown in martial exploits, have made fruit. ful countries a wilderness, cities a desolation, and em. fires scenes of slaughter; this unnaturaļ appetite dragsthe parent from his family, the children from their pa. renes, renders the widow desolate, their children fatherlefs, and the father without offspring. Hence it bea comes glorious to thirst for blood, an honour to fpoil our neighbours, and the dignity of men to live by ra, pine. It is magnanimity to fall at the command of princes; and to return inajmed from battle, though in an unjust causę, is accounted bravery in the lowest individual. By giving false names and epithets to things, and by frequenily repeating them as matters of the highest importance, they at last leave an impression which becomes a principle of action in the minds of such as do nat, examine them. , .
ii., · The present war in America feems to have pro. ceeded from two general causes; an excessive defire of dominion in government, and an exceeding great jealousy in the people of the colonies, of ministerial designs against their natural rights and liberties. It cannot be disputed that the legislature in Great Britain, as well as the executive power, by modern ftatures of parliament, which had all the appeararce of selfishnefs and domination, gave sufficient ground of jealousy to the colonies. From the pretence of expences and disgursements, laid out for the
d eleng defence of America, the government of the mother country claimed a right of internal taxation, unknown to the English constitution; and proceeded to frame Dew laws, which in their own nature declared that the sole right of legislation remained in the parliament of England. In this case the subjects of the empire in that western part of the world, were considered, tot as other subjects, but as vassals, under absolute autho. riry, to a legislature, in which they had none to repréfent them, and who were not under sufficient obligaa tions to pay regard to their interest. The late war with France and Spain, had added an enormous weight of debt to our former national burdens, and the peace that was but lately concluded had given us an ade dition of territory, without making us any richer than we were before. As soon as peace gave the nation time to reflect, it was found that the flattering ideas of conquest could not remove the feelings, which the pressure of so many millions of debt, had impressed on our national constitution. It was expected that our debts would have been lefsened, our taxes reduced, and our burdens lightened; but the hot fever of war had so relaxed the folids of the body politic, and weakened the whole frame of the constitution, that the nation soon after the ratification of the peace, apa peared in the second stage of a consumption. The conductors of the last stages of the war, who had only proceeded upon the plan which a minister, the glory of his country, had formed before, were obliged ig: Dominiously to drop it, for want of credit and capacity, to carry it on; and ratified a peace as inglorious as the war had been successful. Though an indifferent peace is preferable to even a successful state of war, yet when a nation is laden with a burden of enormous debt, contracted for its own defence against a perverse ene.
my, wisdom and political prudence, will certainly vinja dicate a nation, in making their enemies, when they are in their power, pay as much of the debt contraét. ed as it is possible to obtain from them. The nego, ciators of the peace were considered by the nation as men anfriendly to the common interest, and persons, who when they were sensible of their incapacity to carry on the war, were determined to conclude a peace, with as much advantage to their own private interest as possible. Demands which inight have pro. tracted a war, which they neither had genius ņor cre. dit to carry on, were industriously avoided, and the more mild requisitions of private douceurs were fup. pofed to have been adopted. Whether this jealousy of the nation proceeded from a suspicion founded in distrust, or from signatures which implied moral cer. tainty, I will not pretend to determine ; but it was the general opinion of the people at that period, that the French ministry purchased the peace, and that some persons of no small distinction in England, received the price thereof. · What gave more weight tơ these fuf. picions of the people on this occafion was, that their favourite minister, who had recovered the nation from disgrace, and exalted it to an high pitch of glory and renown, had for some time been dilplaced, through the influence of the royal favourite, who nowwas fupposed to manage all the springs of government::: It is fo seldom that a prime minister is universally esteemed, and when such a phänomenon happens in the politi. cal world, it must be an unpopular action in a loves reign, to turn him out of office, without: ferring forth some conspicuous acts of his mal-administration. The whole transactions concerning the peace, being car. ried on by men of different complexions and characters from their former minister, afforded ground of