« PreviousContinue »
to move a resolution of censure, founded on under pretence of receiving contradictory facts contained in the papers which were orders, was not less than one hour and a laid in evidence before the house. Though half; that the cavalry were a mile and a no charges could be better founded, or more quarter only from the scene of action; and satisfactorily proved, than those against the it was certainly in his lordship's power, first lord of the admiralty, the vote of censure therefore, to have rendered the victory, imwas negatived in a very full house by a ma- portant as it was, far more brilliant and dejority of twenty-two.
cisive; and he had little reason to complain LORD GEORGE GERMAINE MADE A PEER. of the severity of the sentence passed upon
The creating of lord George Germaine a him.” peer, and consequently calling him to that Lord Southampton also, who, as aid-dehouse which lord Chesterfield has emphati- camp to prince Ferdinand on that memoracally termed, " The hospital of incurables," ble day, delivered the message of his serene was the first happy omen for the country of highness to his lordship, vindicated the equity the mouldering state of the ministry; but of the sentence. before he assumed his new title of lord vis- On the division, nevertheless, it was recount Sackville, he resigned his office of jected by a majority of ninety-three to American secretary. A motion was made twenty-eight voices: but to the inexpressible by the marquis of Carmarthen (afterwards chagrin of lord Sackville, a protest was enduke of Leeds), intimating, that it was de- tered on the journals of the house, declaring mgatory to the honor of the house, that any his promotion to be "an insult on the memory person, laboring under the heavy censure of the late sovereign, and highly derogatory of a court-martial, should be recommended to the dignity of that house." by the crown as a proper person to sit in GENERAL CONWAY'S MOTION AGAINST that house."
THE WAR-DEFEAT OF MINISTRY. The motion was evaded by the question The appointment of Welbore Ellis to the of adjournment; but lord George Germaine office of secretary to the American departhaving actually taken his seat in the house ment in the room of lord Sackville, and under the title of lord viscount Sackville, Sir Guy Carleton to that of commander-inthe marquis of Carmarthen renewed his at- chief in North America, occasioned an alarm tack, and urged, " that the house of peers among those who were persuaded, that there being a court of honor, it behoved them to still existed a secret and obstinate attachpreserve that honor uncontaminated, and to ment in the court to the prosecution of the mark in the most forcible manner their dis-war against the Americans. Another atapprobation of the introduction of a person tempt, therefore, was made in the commons, into that assembly who was stigmatized in on the twenty-second of February, to bind the orderly-books of every regiment in the the hands of the executive power, by the service."
strong and explicit declaration of parliament. Lord Abingdon, who seconded the motion, To this purpose general Conway made a styled the admission of lord George Germaine motion, " That an address should be presentto a peerage " an unsufferable indignity to ed, imploring his majesty, that the war that house, and an outrageous insult to the might be no longer pursued for the impracpublic.—What (said his lordship) has that ticable purpose of reducing the people of person done to merit honors superior to his America by force.” The motion was secondfellow-citizens? His only claim to promo-ed by lord John Cavendish, and opposed by tion was, that he had undone his country by the new secretary for the American departexecuting the plan of that accursed, invisi- ment, who declared, " that it was now in ble, though inefficient cabinet, from whom contemplation to contract the scale of the as he received his orders, so he had obtained war, and to prosecute hostilities by such his reward."
means as were very dissimilar from the Lord Sackville, in his own vindication, past. In order to obtain peace with America, denied the justice of the sentence passed we must vanquish the French; and as in the upon him, and affirmed “ that he considered late war, America had been said to be conhis restoration to the council-board, at a very quered in Germany, so in this America must early period of the present reign, as amount- be conquered in France. In the present ing to a virtual repeal of that iniquitous ver- circumstances the administration were condict."
scious of the necessity of drawing into a The duke of Richmond strongly defended narrow compass the operations of the Amerithe motion, and said that he himself was can war, a change of circumstances depresent at the battle of Minden, and was manding a corresponding change of measummoned on the trial of Lord George Ger- sures.” The decision of this question was a maine; and had his deposition been called real triumph to opposition, as the motion was for, he could have proved that the time lost lost only by a single vote; and as a majority when the noble viscount delayed to advance, of the absent members were supposed to be
adverse to the ministry, it was thought ex-jin the morning, when, on a division, there pedient to bring the question again before appeared, in favor of administration, a mathe house in a different form. On the twenty- jority of ten. seventh of February, therefore, general The unpopularity of lord North, however, Conway brought forward a new motion to was now further augmented by his proposal the same effect, which was seconded by lord of some new taxes; particularly that on Althorpe, and petitions from several trading soap, the carriage of goods, and places of lowns were read, in disapprobation of the public entertainment ; all of which were war. In order to evade the question, the at- finally rejected by the house. torney-general, Wallace, recommended that The interval between the eighth and fifa truce should be proposed with America : teenth was generally supposed to have been the intended deception, however, was too employed in various unsuccessful attempts obvious to impose upon the house; and, on to divide the party in opposition; and as lord a division upon his amendment, a majority North still seemed averse to resign, on the of nineteen appeared against the ministry. latter day a motion was made by Sir John The motion of general Conway was imme- Rous, and seconded by the younger lord diately followed by another, for an address George Cavendish, the design of which was to his majesty, to put an end to the war; to accelerate a change of administration. and it was further resolved, that the address After reciting the facts contained in the reshould be presented by the whole house. solutions moved on the eighth, it was pro
When the house went up to St. James's posed to resolve, “ That, on consideration with the address, it was observed as a re- thereof, the house could have no farther conmarkable circumstance, that the noted gen- fidence in the ministers who had the direceral Arnold was found standing at the right tion of public affairs.” In the debate, the hand of his majesty. This circumstance necessity of some new arrangement in the drew forth some pointed observations in par- administration of public affairs was no lonliament from lord.Surrey, afterwards duke ger denied; but the impolicy, and even the of Norfolk, who declared, that it was an danger, of throwing the country entirely insult to the house, and deserved its cen- into the hands of any party, was still strong sure.”
ly contended. A coalition was loudly called His majesty's answer to the address was for by many moderate and independent in general terms, that he should take such members, and the propriety of leaving the measures as might appear to him most con- noble lord at the head of the treasury in ducive to the restoration of peace. All refer- possession of his office, till such a measure ence to the prosecution of offensive war was could be accomplished, was much insisted on. cautiously avoided.
On the other side it was urged, that the The evasive nature of this answer induc- bait of a coalition had been thrown out by ed general Conway to move another resolu- the court merely for the purpose of delay, tion in the commons, declaring, “ that the and giving room for intrigue and cabal; and house would consider as enemies to his ma- that, in order to secure to the nation the adjesty, and to the country, all those who vantages which it was now universally adshould advise the further prosecution of of- mitted would arise from a total change in fensive war on the continent of North Amer- the public councils, it was necessary not to ica.” After a feeble opposition, the motion relax, for a moment, the vigorous pursuit of was permitted to pass without a division. such measures, as could not fail of being The embarrassment of ministers, and the speedily crowned with success. triumph and exultation which pervaded the Lord North endeavored to vindicate his whole nation on the success of these mo- own administration. He affirmed, that it tions, are hardly to be described. The whigs could not be declared with truth, by that were regarded as the real friends and sa-house, that the loss of the American coloviors of their country. The continuance of nies, or of the West India islands, or our the ministry in office was, however, thought other national calamities, originated from to be a favorite object with certain persons the measures of the present administration. in high authority; and it had been intimated The repeal of the American stamp-act, and by ministers themselves, that though parlia- the passing of the declaratory law, took place ment had interfered with its advice respect- before his entrance into office. As a private ing the American war, still, since it had ex- member of parliament, he gave his vote in pressed no direct censure on their conduct, favor of both; but, as a minister, he was they could not be expected to resign. In or- not responsible for either. The house at der to remove this impediment, lord John length divided upon the question, when Cavendish, on the eighth of March, moved there appeared for it two hundred and twena direct vote of censure upon the adminis-ty-seven, and against it two hundred and tration, which was seconded by Powys, in a thirty-six ; so that there was a majority of forcible speech. The debate lasted till two nine in favor of administration.
MINISTRY DISSOLVED. ties, that of lord Rockingham was by far thie NOTWITHSTANDING this seemingly favora- most numerous and powerful; but, from vable determination, it was so well known that rious causes, easily and distinctly ascertainthe ministry could not stand their ground, able by attentive observers, the other party, that four days after (March nineteenth) a of which, since the death of lord Chatham, similar motion to that made by Sir John the earl of Shelburne was accounted the Rous, was to have been made by the earl of head, were in less disfavor with the king ; Surrey; but when his lordship was about to and the highest department of government rise for that purpose, lord North addressed was upon this occasion expressly offered to hiinself to the speaker, and observed, that that nobleman by his majesty. For, not to as he understood the motion to be made by descend to subordinate reasons of preferthe noble earl was similar to that made a ence, it is evident that the chief of the infew days before ; and the object of which ferior party, lord Shelburne, would, from his was the removal of the ministers, he had comparative weakness of connexion, have such information to communicate to the been more immediately and necessarily dehouse, as must, he conceived, render any pendent than his competitor lord Rockingsuch motion now unnecessary. He could ham upon the crown for protection and supwith authority assure the house, that his port. But the noble lord had the generosity majesty had come to a full determination to and wisdom to resist the temptation; and change his ministers. Indeed, those persons the marquis of Rockingham, to the univerwho had for some time conducted the public sal satisfaction of the kingdom, was a second affairs, were no longer his majesty's minis- time, in a manner the most honorable and ters. They were not now to be considered flattering to his character and feelings, as men holding the reins of government, placed at the head of the treasury; under and transacting matters of state, but merely whom lord John Cavendish acted as chanremaining to do their official duty, till other cellor of the exchequer; the earl of Shelministers were appointed to take their places. burne and Fox were nominated secretaries The sooner those new ministers were ap- of state ; lord Camden was appointed presipointed, his lordship declared, that, in his dent of the council; the duke of Grafton opinion, the better it would be for the pub- reinstated as lord privy-seal ; admiral Keplíc business, and the general interests of the pel, now created lord Keppel, placed at the nation. He returned thanks to the house head of the admiralty ; general Conway, of for the many instances of favor and indul- the army; the duke of Richmond, of the gence which he had received from them ordnance. The duke of Portland succeeded during the course of his administration; and lord Carlisle as lord-lieutenant of Ireland; he declared, that he considered himself as Burke was constituted paymaster of the responsible, in all senses of the word, for forces; and colonel Barre, treasurer of the every circumstance of his ministerial con- navy. Lord Thurlow alone, by the unacduct, and that he should be ready to answer countable and unmerited indulgence of the to his country, whenever he should be called new ministers, continued in possession of the upon for that purpose. Upon this intelli- great seal. gence the motion was withdrawn, and the Previous to their coming into office, the house adjourned to the Monday following. whig ministry stipulated for peace with
Thus ended an administration which had America, and the acknowledgment of its inplunged the nation into a war, under the dependence, should it be necessary to that pretext of levying a tax which would not object; a reform in the several branches of have paid for the collection of it; and which the civil-list expenditure, upon the plan sug. refused every offer of accommodation from gested by Burke; and the diminution of the the revolted colonies, short of the most un- influence of the crown by excluding conconditional submission. The venerable tractors from the house of commons, and by Franklin, and the judicious Penn, were disqualifying revenue officers from voting in equally insulted, with proposals in their elections for members of parliament. hands for the adjustment of the disputed While these changes were taking place, points between the Americans and the the Irish began to be dissatisfied with the mother country.
opposition which the ministry had manifested NEW MINISTRY.
to what they considered as their natural WHILE the nation at large evinced the rights. At a general meeting of the volunmost unfeigned joy at the sudden dissolution teers of the province of Ulster on the fifof this cabal, it was still feared by many, teenth of February 1782, it was resolved, that great difficulty would arise in the for- “ That the claim of any body of men, other mation of a new and efficient administra- than the king, lords, and commons of Ireland, tion, on account of the unfortunate division to make laws to bind that kingdom, is unwhich had long subsisted among the whigs constitutional; illegal, and a grievance; that in opposition to the court. Of the two par- the powers exercised by the privy-councils of both kingdoms, under the color of Poyn- order to facilitate such a treaty, he was will. ing's law, are unconstitutional: and that all ing to give immediate orders for a suspenrestraints imposed upon the trade of Ireland, sion of hostilities, if the States-General except by the parliament of that kingdom, were disposed to agree to that measure. But are likewise unconstitutional.” These reso- the states of Holland did not appear inclined lutions they determined to support by every to a separate peace; nor, perhaps, would it legal means.
have been agreeable to the principles of AFFAIRS OF IRELAND-EFFORTS FOR
sound policy, if they had agreed to any PEACE
propositions of this kind. However, immeThe parliament met on the eighth of diately after the change of ministry, negotiaApril; and on the following day Fox pre- tions for a general peace were commenced sented a message from his majesty to the at Paris. Grenville was invested with full house of commons, recommending to them powers to treat with all the parties at war; to take the affairs of Ireland into considera- and was also directed to propose the indetion.
pendency of the thirteen united provinces In the Irish house of commons the cele- of America, in the first instance, instead of brated orator Grattan moved an address to making it a condition of a general treaty. his majesty, which was unanimously voted, Admiral Digby and general Carleton were stating, that Ireland was a distinct kingdom, also directed to acquaint the American conthe crown of Ireland an imperial crown; gress with the pacific views of the British and that no authority except the king, lords, court, and with the offer that was made to and commons of Ireland, could make laws acknowledge the independency of the United to bind that nation. It represented the States. power assumed by the councils of both king
REFORM BILLS. doms, of altering bills, as an unconstitutional THE British parliament prosecuted with grievance; and insisted upon a mutiny-bill, vigor the plans of reformation and economy limited in duration, as essential to the liber- which had been recommended by the new ty of the nation.
ministry. The bills for excluding contracJustice and policy seconding the views of tors from seats in the house of commons, Ireland, the obnoxious acts of parliament and incapacitating revenue officers from were immediately repealed; by which the voti at elections for members of parliawhole powers of government were vested ment, were passed with a feeble opposition solely in the king, lords, and commons of from lord Mansfield and the chancellor, the Ireland ; the controlling power of the Eng- latter declaring it to be lish parliament, and the practice of altering only calculated to deceive and betray the the bills in the privy-council
, were renounced people.” Every good patriot will indeed for ever.
agree with the noble lord in the truth of the The parliament of Ireland in return for assertion, that it was a “puny," that is, an these concessions immediately voted one inefficient“ regulation,” but on very differhundred thousand pounds for the purpose of ent principles. Burke's bill for the reform raising twenty thousand seamen for the pub- of the civil-list expenditure was introduced lic service. At the same time fifty thousand with augmented splendor, but diminished pounds was voted to Henry Grattan, Esquire, utility. By this bill
, which now passed the for his services.
house with little difficulty, the board of trade, Whilst measures were thus happily pur- and the board of works, with the great wardsuing for restoring order and tranquillity in robe, were abolished; together with the the sister kingdom, the new ministry were office of American secretary of state, now no less anxiously intent on effectuating a rendered useless by the loss of the American general peace with the different foreign colonies; the offices of treasurer of the powers with whom the nation was at war. chamber, cofferer of the household, the lords No time was lost in pursuit of this great ob- of police in Scotland, the paymaster of the ject, or in taking the necessary steps for its pensions, the master of the harriers, the attainment. Accordingly, the empress of master of the stag-hounds, and six clerks of Russia having offered her mediation, in or- the board of green cloth. Provision also der to restore peace between Great Britain was made to enable his majesty to borrow a and Holland, secretary Fox, within two days sum for the liquidation of a new arrear of after his entrance into office, wrote a letter three hundred thousand pounds, by a tax on to Mons. Simolin, the Russian minister in salaries and pensions ; for a debt to this London, informing him, that his majesty was amount had been again contracted by the ready to enter into a negotiation, for the shameful prodigality of the late ministers
, purpose of setting on foot a treaty of peace, notwithstanding the addition of one hundred on the terms and conditions of that which thousand pounds per annum,. so recently was agreed to in 1764, between his majesty made to the civil-list. and the republic of Holland; and that in The economical abolitions and retrench
puny regulation, ments of the reform bill met with a violent Thomas Rumbold, and Peter Perring, Esq. opposition in the upper house, from the lords from going out of the kingdom; were inThurlow and Loughborough, but it finally troduced under the same authority. A vote passed by a great majority. A bill sent up of censure was soon afterwards
passed on the from the commons, for disfranchising certain conduct of Warren Hastings, Esq. governorvoters of the borough of Cricklade, who had general in Bengal, and William Hornsby, been proved guilty of the most shameful and Esq. president of the council in Bombay, scandalous acts of bribery, was also impeded and a declaration, that it was the duty of the and embarrassed in all its stages by the same court of directors to take the necessary lelaw lords, with every possible subtilty of gal steps for their recall. Several resolulegal quibble and chicanery. The duke of tions were also passed, censuring the conRichmond was upon this occasion provoked duct of Laurence Sullivan, Esq. chairman to charge the chancellor with indiscriminate of the court of directors, for neglecting to ly opposing every measure of regulation transmit the act for the regulation of the and improvement which was laid before the company's service in India. An address to house." And lord Fortescue, with unguarded the king was also agreed to by the house, but honest warmth, remarked, “ that what pressing for the recall of Sir Elijah Impey. he had long feared was at length come to MINORCA TAKEN.-FRENCH FLEET DEpass; from the profusion of lawyers intro
FEATED BY RODNEY. duced into that house, it was no longer a On the seventh of May, Pitt made a mohouse of lords, it was converted into a mere tion" that a committee should be appointed court of law, where all the solid and honor- to inquire into the state of the representaable principles of truth and justice were tion, and to report to the house their opinsacrificed to the low and miserable chicanery ion thereon.” Though ably supported by used in Westminster Hall. That once vene- several members, the motion was rejected rable, dignified, and august assembly, now by one hundred and sixty-one against one resembled more a meeting of pettifoggers hundred and forty-one. While this patriotic than a house of parliament. With respect ministry were reforming abuses at home, to the learned lord on the woolsack, who had our fleets and armies were reaping laurels now for some years presided in that house, abroad. In the beginning of the year, howhe seemed to be fraught with nothing but ever, Great Britain experienced some adcontradictions and distinctions and law sub- verse fortune—the island of Minorca was tilties. As to himself,” lord Fortescue with taken by the Spaniards, on the fifth of Feba noble pride added, “ he had not attended ruary, after a close siege of upwards of six a minister's levee, till very lately, for these months. On the first of January, the marforty years; and the present ministry he quis de Bouille landed on the island of St. would support no longer than they deserved Christopher with eight thousand men, and it. But as they came into office upon the was supported by the count de Grasse, with most honorable and laudable of all princi- thirty-two ships of the line. After a pressples, the approbation of their sovereign, and ing siege of four weeks, the fortress on the esteem and confidence of the nation, it Brimstone-hill, to which the British forces filled his breast with indignation when he had retired upon the approach of the enemy, beheld their measures day after day thwarted was compelled to surrender, though Sir and opposed, by men who resembled more a Samuel Hood had made a bold effort to reset of Cornish attorneys than members of lieve the island with his fleet. Nevis and that right honorable house."
Montserrat followed the fortune of St. ChrisOn the third of May, on the motion of topher's; but the naval career of the French Wilkes, seconded by Byng, the celebrated and Spaniards was fortunately interrupted vote of the seventeenth of February 1769, in the beginning of February, by the arrival relative to the Middlesex election, was re- of Sir George Rodney, with twelve ships of scinded and expunged from the journals, as the line, at Barbadoes, which were augmentwell as all the other motions relative to the ed by the beginning of March to a fleet of incapacity of Wilkes to take his seat in that thirty-six sail of the line; that of the French parliament.
consisting only of thirty-four. On the eighth On the twenty-second of April, the lord- of April, the count de Grasse weighed anadvocate of Scotland moved a long series of chor from Fort Royal, with a large convoy resolutions relative to the affairs of the East under his protection, and intended to proIndia company, which were passed by the ceed to Hispaniola, where he expected to house; and on the twenty-ninth, a bill for meet the Spanish fleet
. But the British adinflicting pains and penalties on Sir Thomas miral, by means of good intelligence, was Rumbold, for high crimes and misdemeanors enabled to follow them by noon of the same committed during his administration in the day, from Gros-islet Bay, in St. Lucia, and Carnatic; and another for restraining Sir came within sight of the enemy off Domi