Imagens da página

7. faith. Sir, you have heard at your bar what your Committees

have done. One has been so flow in their motions, that the Company have given up long since all hopes of redress from them; and the other has gone on altogether as rapid, that they do not know where to stop. Like the fly of a jack, the latter has gone hey go mad! the other, like the ponderous lead at the other end; and in that manner, Sir, have roasted the India Company. Shame upon such proceedings !

Mr. Burke, Dec. 18, 17720

[ocr errors]

The conduct of the Minister, in withholding every proper information from the House, puts me in mind of a King, who perceiving one end of a Lutheran church exceedingly ruinous, and all the rest of it very good and elegant, proposed to rebuild that part for them, which he did in a very magnificent manner; but when they came to assemble there, they found that he had taken away all their light : upon which they waited on His Majesty, thanking him for his favours, and also acquainting him with their misfortune, in not being able to see at church. Upon which His Majesty replied, it was perfectly right so, for that it was written in the Scriptures, “ Blessed are they that believe, and do not see.”

Col. Barré, Nov. I, 1775.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

But allow that the professions of the Americans were general; that their inclinations were those of duty and respect towards this country; that they entered into the present rebellion through the intrigues and arts of a few factious and ambitious men, or those who ultimately directed them; that the ftamp act was wrong; that the declaratory law might assert the supremacy over that country, but it ought never to be exercised, nor amount to more than such a power as his present Majesty claims over the kingdom of France, a mere nominal dominion; that no troops should be sent into that country, even to defend them, without their own permiflion; that the Vol. II.


Admiralty Courts should never be made to extend there, though by the trial of jury, the parties themselves would be judges; that offenders against the laws and authority of this country should be tried for offences by persons who themselves were ready to declare that they did not think the charges criminal; that no restraints should be laid upon their commerce, though that great bulwark of the riches and commerce of this country, the Navigation Act, depended on such restraints; that every measure hitherto taken to compel submission to the Parliamentary authority of this country was cruel and unjust; that every Ministry in this country were tyrannic and oppreffive, and that the last is worst of all. Yet admitting all this to be true, my Lords, what are we to do? Are we to rest inactive, with our arms across, till they shall think proper to begin the attack, and gain strength to do it with effect? We are now in such a situation, that we must either fight or be pursued. What a Swedish General said to his men, in the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, just at the eve of a battle, is extremely applicable to us at present. Pointing to the enemy, who were marching down to engage them, says he, “ My lads, you see those men yonder, if you do not kill them, they will kill you."

Lord Mansfield, Dec. 20, 1775.

This is the first time I have ever heard it asserted in the fame debate, that neither peace nor war is a proper time for reformation. Some gentlemen have said, war was not the proper time for innovation or reformation ; and other gentlemen have made a similar objection to a season of a peace. I must beg leave to retort a simile in support of my sentiments, on this species of ministerial logic. A person who had a fire engine to dispose of, offered it to his neighbour for sale, in order, as he said, to preserve his house from fire. The neighbour replied, “ No, I do not want it; my house is not on fire." Anon his house is on fire; he applies to the owner of

the the engine, and tells him how much he is in want of it, but is answered, “ that it has been long since disposed of.”

Sir George Savile, March 11, 1777.

[ocr errors]

We are are again brought back to that favourite passage of the Rubicon, and the jacta est alea'; of a truth, there is some justice in the comparison, between our Ministers crossing the Atlantic, and Cesar crossing the Rubicon from Gaul: for though these Ministers, considered as statesmen, or as commanders, are no more like Cesar than I am like Hercules, yet did he, like them, take up the battle against the constitution of his country; and having rafhly made the first decisive step, he faw no possibility of receding, without the loss of his credit and his offices, perhaps the forfeiture of his life; for his offences had been scarce less criminal than those of Cataline. What Cicero remarked of the march of Cesar towards the capital of Italy, may also be well applied to our Ministers : “ He came well provided with every thing," says that celebrated orator, “excepting a good cause."

Hon. Temple Luttrell, Nov. 18, 1777.

I can only compare the conduct and catastrophe of General Burgoyne, at the head of the northern army, with that of Charles, the bold Duke of Burgundy, when he issued the most fevere proclamations against the brave Switzers, in the Canton of Bernë. Looking upon them as already conquered, he carried with him chains to lead them captive at the feet of his cavalry, and he gave them notice, that he would cause to be erected the most stately monuments to his martial fame, in the very heart of their country. Sir, he fulfilled his promise; à monument they erected for him in the form of a charnelhouse, filled with the sculls and skeletons of the invading army, which was totally overthrown by the intrepidity of the Swiss peasants near the town of Morat, and the victors furnished his monument with this emphatic inscription : « Carcam U 2


lus Burgundiæ dux inclitus hoc fui monumentum reliquit," &c. It is, Sir, however, in vain to hold up such bloody scenes, in terrorem, before the hardened authors and conductors of this unnatural quarrel. You might as well, Sir, put an hungry leech on the richest vein of your body, and counsel with it not to draw blood, as to talk with these contractors, paymasters, treasurers, commissaries, and a long list of et ceteras, who traffic thus lucratively with the calamities of their country, to relinquish their hold, and confess their ambition and their rapacity satisfied. The minority, therefore, of which I certainly fhall be one, have only to lament, that a Sovereign so moral and pious as ours now on the throne, so humane and so generous, so capable of governing a free people with honour, prosperity, and renown, should already have sacrificed one half of his dominions, and desperately hazard the loss of the other half, to cherish and aggrandize a more immoral and profligate, a more tyrannical and fanguinary, and, in short, a more weak set of Minifters, than ever tried the patience of the English nation under the worst of the Stuart Kings.

Hon. Temple Luttrell, Nov. 18, 1777.

I cannot help observing, Sir, that I have never heard the noble Lord (Lord North) behave with so much candour, generosity, and spirit, as to-day; he has agreed to every tittle of what has been requested of him; he has published a bond, wherein he has granted all; but in the end has inserted a little defeasance, with a power of revocation, by which he has preserved himself from every grant he made. His conduct, Sir, exactly reminds us of a certain Governor, who, when he arrived at his place of appointinent, sat down to a table covered with profufion, and abounding with every dainty and delicacy that art, nature, and a provident steward could furnish: but a pigmy physician, who watched over the health of the Governor, excepted to one dish, because it was disagreeable; to

another, another, because it was hard of digestion ; to a third, because it was unhealthy; and in this progressive mode, robbed the Governor of every dish on table, and left him without a dinner.

Mr. Burke, Nov. 28, 17.77.

Convinced, perhaps, of the inefficacy of violent remedies, we may learn, though late, to prescribę lenitives. For two years that a certain noble Lord has presided over American affairs, the most violent, scalping, tomahawk measures have been pursed : bleeding has been his only prescription. If a people deprived of their ancient rights are grown tumultuous --bleed them! If they are attacked with a spirit of insurrection-bleed them! If their fever could rise into rebellion-bleed them! cries this state physician: more blood ! more blood! still more blood! - When Doctor Sangrado had persevered in a similar practice of bleeding his patients, killing by the very means which he used for a cure, his man took the liberty to remonstrate upon the necessity of relaxing in a practice to which thousands of their patients had fallen sacrifices, and which was beginning to bring their names into disrepute. The Doctor answered, “I believe we have, indeed, carried the matter a little too far; but you must know, I have written a book upon the efficacy of this practice, therefore, though every patient we have should die by it, we must continue the bleeding for the credit of my book.”

Mr. Fox, Dec. 2, 1777.

A right honourable gentleman has proposed, that a Conmittee should be appointed to regulate and adjust the public accounts. The noble Lord in the blue ribband, alarmed at the propofition, and shrinking from the appeal, and a tribunal fo impartially and so honourably constituted, stepped in between the gentleman and the public in a manner seldom practised in this House, produced a bill, appointing a certain number of


« AnteriorContinuar »