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and the king addressed himself to it been adopted with regard to the from the throne, Dec. 5. 1782. rights and the commerce of Ireland.
He observed, that he had lost no He prefled a revision of our whole time in giving the necessary orders fystem of trade, with a view to its for prohibiting an offensive war a. fullest extenfion; and turning his gainst the Americans; and that he attention to Asia, he pointed out our had been directing his vicws to a vast poffeßions there as a moft imcordial reconciliation with them. portant object of regulation and care. Such being his own inclination, and He declared that the true spirit of such the sense of his parliament and the constitution would be the invaripeople, he had not helitated to make able rule of his conduct; and he them the offer of declaring them free called upon his parliament to exer. and independent states, by an article cise their temper, wisdom, and dirto be inserted in the treaty of peace. interestednels. Provisional articles were even agreed A motion for an address of thanks upon, to take effect when the terms to his majefty for this gracious specch of accommodation could be finally was made in the houle of commons adjusted with the court of France. by Mr. Yorke, and seconded by Idr. He deplored this dismemberment of Banks. These gentlemen echoed his empire, which had become a back the sentiments of the king, and matter both of policy and prudence; indulged themselves in expreifions but teftified a hope that religion, of loyalty, zeal, and support. Tbey anguage, interelt, and affection considered the conceffion of inde would yet prove a permanent tie pendence to America as an acquiof union between the two countries. fition which her own arms had obHe spoke with pride and fatisfaction tained to her ; but they displayed of the gallant defence of the gover- the probability which there existed nor and the garrison of Gibraltar ; that the old and establihed habits of and of the honour acquired by his commerce would continue between fleet, which had offered battle to the the two countries. They described combined force of France and Spain in ftrong language our naval fucupon their own coasts. Heexpressed cefles in the West Indies and at Gibthe fincerity with which he would raltar ; painted the distresles to endeavour by every measure in his which our enemies had been reduce power to diminish the burthens of ed ; and insisted on the advantages his people ; he had recommended to which might accrue to us from a his commons an immediate attention general pacification at a period when to the great object of public receipts our trealury was exhausted, and our and expenditure, and above all to debts had ainounted to a most enor. the state of the public debt. To inous fum. They trusted that it the parliament in general he re- would be esteemed politic to make marked the great excess to which some sacrifices as the price of a durthe crimes of theft and robbery had able peace; and seemed to hint that grown, and the personal violence the best means of obtaining it would with which they were often accom- be the surrender of some of those obpanied ; and intimated the necessity jects which had induced the contendwhich of consequence prevailed for ing powers 'to engage in hoftili. a strict and severe execution of the ties. 'Spain, once gratified, would law. He bestowed his approbation not easily be disposed to renew the on the liberal principles which had contentions of war, France was tired of a struggle which had involv. had gone abroad; and it was not ed her in a ruinous expence ; and impossible but that it had been aour condition was such, that a long dopted. He was convinced, nottract of peace, with a strict attention withstanding, that there was noto trade and economy were become thing in our situation which could necessary to recover our strength justify the surrender of a fortress and grandeur.
which was fo valuable and so imporMr. Fox expressed his fatisfaction tant. But though he had no reason that the miniltry had adopted the to rely on the virtue of the earl of expedient of avowing the indepen. Shelburne, he had hopes in the dence of America. That a fair de- fincerity of his colleagues ; and he claration to this purpose was infi- would therefore, avoid to oppose nitely proper, had been long his firm the address, or to offer an amendopinion. It was not the plan of the ment upon it. prefent cabinet. The country was In the course of the debate it was indebted to it to a former administra- urged on the part of administration, tion. But while the concession was that the intentions of the ministry honourable upon our part, it con- were the most fair and honourable ; ferred nothing upon America. She that the speech from the throne was was already independent by the vi- the platform of the system which gour of her councils and her arms; they were pursuing; and that when and it was beyond our utmost efforts it consisted with the secrecy and deto subdue her. In approving the licacy inseparable from great affairs, measure of avowing the indepen- the negociations for a treaty with dence of America intimated from the America would be submitted to the throne, he was not however with scrutiny of the parliament. An exout fome apprehensions of the mi. treme candour displayed itself in nisters. He had cealed to act with contending factions, and the address the earl of Shelburne, because he was unanimously agreed to. distrulled his candour. He had In the house of peers, a motion quitted a fituation where he had for an address of thanks to the king found himself encompassed with was made by lord Carmarthen, and snares. Nor was he certain that, seconded by lord Hawke. While in the present instance, there was no the speech from the throne inet with intention of artifice and treachery. general approbation, the expectation He suspected that the terms of the was entertained that the parent proposed peace was improper ; and fate would still derive the greatest rather than content to what was advantages from its offspring. But difhonourable, he would give his till a firm pacification took place, voice for a continuance and vi. it was argued that it would te imgorous prosecution of the war.. Our politic to relax the preparations for fituation was indeed sufficiently war; and that the good of the coungloomy; but it was not altogether try would best be promoted by a desperate : and a base servility and happy and permanent understanding fubmiffion could only lead to def- between the crown, the lords, and pondency and ruin. He did not the commons. Suspicions, notwithunderftand what concessions were to standing, were insinuated against the be made as the price of a general earl of Shelburne ; and afforded hiin pacification. Was Gibraltar to be an opportunity of explaining him given up to Spain ? Such an idea self. He said that he had excrted
the full extent of his ability to pro- ministry in the meanwhile proceed mote the interests of his country ; ed with vigour, and held out to th but at the present moment it was not nation the most honourable proproper for him to reveal these fessions; and while the negotiations crets of government. When it be- for a peace employed their chief came him to throw himself before care, they forgot not to extend their the justice of his country, he would attention to other objects. do it with pleasure. He had en- In the event of the prolongation deavoured to find out if there was of the war, and with a view to the any possible method of restoring national defence, it was moved for America to this country, before he in the house of commons, and ahad granted the offer of its indepen- greed to, that one hundred and ten dency. It was not his natural de. thousand men fhould be employed fire to yield up this independency : in the sea service, for the year 1783, he had submitted to the controlling iucluding twenty-five thousand two power of neceffity and fate.
“. It hundred and ninety marines. was not I, said he, that made this fum not exceeding four pounds per cession. It was the evil star of Bri- man per month was allowed for maintain : it was the blunders of a for- taining this force for thirteen months, mer administration: it was the power including ordnance for sea service. of revolted subjects, and the mighty To encourage valour, and to ex. arms of the house of Bourbon.” But press the gratitude which was due notwithstanding the offer of indepen- to essential services, general Conway dency which had been made to moved a vote of thanks of the comAmerica, he would still strenuously
mons to governor Eliott for his gal. contend to revive the habits of af. lant defence of Gibraltar. He ex. fection and intercourse between that patiated on the consummate skill country and England. These ha- and distinguished merit of this combits fortunately were not yet entire- mander ; and having observed that ly extinguished. French manners the national praise ought not to be and customs had not yet taken root with-held on an occasion so brilliant, in America; and he trusted that the he insisted that nothing could be rifing generation would imbibe no more acceptable to a soldier than prejudices hostile to Britain. It was such a mark of honour. While it objected to the earl of Shelburne, served to fofter his gallantry, it was that he had not always followed these the moit flattering reward of his doctrines ; and earl Fitz-William, bravery and toils. A motion, in and lord Stormont reminded him every refpect so proper, was received of the period when he was a fout and carried, not only without dis. advocate for the dependence of pute, but with the most cordial faAmerica, and when he affirmed that tisfaction. A fimilar motion was the fun of England's glory would made in favour of lord viscount set whenever independency should Howe, for the important service he be granted to the colonies.
had rendered to his country by his Although the motions for thanks relief of the fortress of Gibraltar, to the throne were carried without and by his gallant and able maa divifion in both houses ; yet the næuvres of the fleet under his comspirit of party was busy ; and dif- mand against a superior force of the contents and animofities were speedi- enemy. The thanks of the house of ly to break out with violence. The commons were likewise given to lieutenant-general Boyd, 'major.ge- consequence. For it obviously courtneral La Motte, major-general ed an immediate speculation upon Green, chief engineer, to Sir Roger : an event which was held out as soon Curtis, and to the officers, soldiers, to happen. And with regard to his and failors emploved in the defence second letter, it was, if possible, of Gibraltar. The house of peers ' still more irrational; as, notwithconcurred in fimilar professions of standing his promise, it announced gratitude and commendation ; and neither peace nor war, and kept up to the parties concerned their fen- a mysterious suspence on a topic timents were communicated by the which ought to have been explained lord chancellor.
with precifion. It was urged that The attention of the nation was the articles of the provisional creaty very naturally excited by the offer must be known to the courts of of a surrender of independency to France and Spain, to the commisAmerica; and a strong and general fioners of Ainerica, and to the curiofity prevailed to know the terms Dutch'; and it was emphatically of the provisional treaty. Mr. se- asked, for what purpose are they cretary Townshend, to prevent the concealed in Great Britain ? It was mischiefs resulting from specula- thought and said, that ministers tions in the funds, had addressed'a- were afhamed of what they had done; letter to the lord mayor of London, that their actions were of so base a in the end of November 1982, stats complexion that they could not bear ing that the negociations carrying the light; that they had submitted on at Paris were brought so far to a to shameful ftipulations ; and that point, as to promise a decisive con- they had been deluded by French clusion either for peace or war bee' artifices. fore the meeting of the parliament. Another source of difficulty and Upon the third day of December distrust had arisen. The ministry following, he addressed a new letter did not seem to be uniform in the to the lord mayor, in which he ac.' language' which they held on the quainted him, that a messenger had. object and tendency of the provi. just arrived from Paris, with an ac- fional treaty. It had gone abroad, count of provisional articles having that a few of them considered it as been signed the zoth of November a-free' and unreserved declaration of by his majesty's commissioners and American independence; while by the commissioners of the United others of them, it was understood States of America, 'to be inserted in to hold out a conditional recognition a treaty of peace to be concluded of independency to America, which when pacific terms should be agreed was to be valid or ineffectual, ac. upon between Great Britain and, cording as the negociations for an France.
m accommodation with France were A regular plan of opposition was to take effect, or to be abandoned. by this time formed against the mi- The national ferments increased nitry; and the ambiguous language in their strength; and the critical of these letters served to encourage ficuation of affairs engaging the apprehensions and doubts. Iaitead attention of the house of Peers, of preventing speculations in the earl Fitzwilliam called upon lord funds, it was obferved that the first Shelburne to explain the contradicletter of the fecretary of State would i tory reports which had been circube attended with the very opposite lated concerning the provisional
treaty with America. He accounted marked that he wanted not to know it to be right that ministers ought to the secrets of government, nor to diftinguish themselves by their can receive a minute explanation of the dour and integrity. Sophiftry and articles of the treaty, infifted that circumvention
arts which he had a title to have his doubts recould not lead to confidence; and lieved with regard to the different governıment in order to be respecta- constructions which had been put õle at home as well as abroad, upen it. Nor did ic efcape his obought to be rescued from every im- fervation, that the secretary of State, putation of ambiguity. Having in one of his letters to the lord may. pressed these sentiments, his lord- or, had given the appellation of Thip. requested the attention of the “ the United State's," to the colominister to the following question, nies. This language, in his opi“ Is it to be under tood, that the nion, intimated a full acknowledgeindependence of America is never ment of the American indepenagain to become a subject of doubt, dence. Yet, perhaps, it was to be difcuffion, or bargain; but is to také gathered from the speech from the effect absolutely, at any period near throne, that an offer only of inde. or remote, whenever a treaty is pendency had been made to them. concluded with the court of France, He did not inean to invade any of though the present treaty should the prerogatives of the crown. It entirely break off ? Or, on the was simply his defire that an ambicontrary, is the independence of guity should be cleared up; and he America merely contingent, so that could not but conceive, that if his if the particular treaty, now Rego- request should be rejected, the gociating with that court, should not vernment would obtain a character terminate in a peace, the offer is to which would rend to disgrace it. For be considered as revoked, and the it would thus be exposed to the charge independence left to be determined of duplicity, at a period when the by circumstances and the events of brightest rectitude and the most exwar ?"
plicit virtue could beft uphold its inThe carl of Shelburne was not terests, and promote its prosperity. disposed to give an explicit answer The earl of 'Shelburne called anew to the interrogatory of lord Fitz- the attention of the noble lord to williain. He considered that it was the royal prerogative; and contend. improper in itself ; that he was ed that he had constitutionally a bound not to reveal the secrets of right to refuse any explicit explana. the king, and that if he should ven- tion of the matter proposed to him. ture to reply directly to the noble To preserve fecrecy in cases like the lard, he might endanger the public present, was one great use of the security. It was the prerogative of monarchical branch of our governthe king to negociate for peace ;. ment. To carry on negociations and this prerogative was not to be was not the business of popular ase' violated. The provisional treaty semblies. If the constitution was was signed and sealed ; and when to be altered, the best way was at policy thould juftify him for exhi- once to go to St. James's, to bow to biting it publicly, he would not the king, and to say to him, God Jose one moment to do so. Earl bless you ; good bye to you: after Fitzwilliam was diffatisfied with this having been obliged to your family mode of reasoning; and having re- før rescuing us from popery ; ; and