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T :0 RY
PROCEEDINGS' and DEBATES
Of the FOURTH SESSION of the HOUSE OF COMMONS
Fourteenth Parliament of Great-Britain ; Appointed to be held at Westminster, on Thursday the 18th day of
February 5. THE
HE report of the committee of supply for the new levies.
Mr. Popham opposed the bringing up the report, contending upon the law argument, that the manner in which the troops had been raised was unconstitutional and illegal.
Mr. Turner spoke next, declaring that his life and fortune should ever be devoted to his Majesty's person and government, because he thought it impoflible that a prince of the House of Hanover should ever become hoftile to liberty, or violate the laws and constitution in any shape whatever.
Mr. Rous thought the subscriptions illegal, but that the rebellion ought to be quelled by any means whatever ; he should therefore vote for the supply of the levies, though raised against law.
Mr. Wallace said, that though, to be sure, it was against law for the King to levy money, yet it was perfectly consonant to law for his Majesty to get money levied for him.
Lord Frederick Campbell maintained, that the principles of his family were always those of whigism ; and he thought subscriptions for quelling the American rebellion perfe&tly confifted with whigish principles.
Mr. Moysey declared himself satisfied of the legality of such subscriptions, being, as they were, purely voluntary; that Lord Coke's opinion was clearly in their favour, as appears by his reading upon the statute of Rich. III. where he makes the diftinction between voluntary and involuntary contributions, in his chapter of Benevolences, which had not been taken notice of. That the commission authorised by the statute of Cha. II. VOL. VIII.
fo much relied on by the other fide, was compulsory in its nature, as appears by the proceedings under such commissions in the time of Charles I. and in particular by the description given of them by Sir John Elliot, in his famous petition to the King from the Gatehouse, in 1626; that the terms of the act of Charles II. prove compulsion, for the words, “ supplies hereby granted,' are irreconcileable to any other construction, and are of themselves decisive of the question; for if the money thereby raised was purely spontaneous on the part of the people, the Commons in Parliament, in such case, granted nothing; nor was the King sure of receiving a single farthing under such act of parliament.
Governor Johnstone contended for the illegality of the subscription; expatiated on the injustice the old officers must sustain by having so many young ones put over their heads; and that in the same proportion as the new levies were raised the recruiting service, as to the old regiments, must be prejudiced. He particularly lamented that so vaft a proportion of these new levies was to be raised in Scotland, because the country must be stripped of its most useful hands for agriculture and for commerce.
Lord North contended, that the present subscriptions were no more than had been practised in all times of public emergency, particularly in 1745, and in 1759, in Mr. Pict's administration, when the new levies were raised by private fubfcription; and the subscribers, instead of being treated as violators of the law, were publicly and folemnly thanked by the then minister, Lord Chatham, and applauded by the public. He averred, that no influence whatsoever had been used, but that the offers all came as the spontaneous and generous effufions of love and loyalty to the King, and as a testimony of their zeal to support the legislature of Great Britain against the rebellion in America.
Sir William Meredith replied to Lord North, that it was unjust to give any lanction to his own administration at the expence of the reputation of another; that Lord Chatham's conduct, which he represented to be the same as his own, was nothing like it; that the subscriptions then were to raise recruits for old regiments which had suffered in the wars, which had been raised under the authority of Parliament, approved, voted, and for a long time paid by Parliament; whereas, in the prefent case, both the money had been levied, and the troops raised, during the fitting of Parliament, without the confent, knowledge, or any communication with Parliament whatever; that the precedent for his Lordship’s conduct might be drawn
with more correctness from that of James the Second, who, on the Duke of Monmouth's landing in the West, had adjourned the Parliament for the very purpose of levying the troops himself, without the interference of Parliament, in order to choose such as were most attached to his person, and most likely to serve his purposes. He then went through the hiftory of all benevolences, from the reign of Edward the Fourth, when they began, to the present time; that they had been suppressed by two acts of Parliament, which are now in force, and had been treated as unconstitutional always, particularly in the reign of fames the First, when the King attempted to raise a subscription in a manner exactly similar to the present; namely, by sending certain of his confidential servants to different parts of the kingdom to raise spontaneous and voluntary subscriptions, unaccompanied with any circumstance of force whatever. Mr. St. John, who was esteemed the best constitutional lawyer in the kingdom, and afterwards Lord Chief Justice, opposed those subscriptions with great vehemence, and declared that the attempt to get money for the King's use in that way was a breach of his Majesty's coronation oath, and an abetting of perjury in all those who subscribed. He said it was a mark for a Bolingbroke, and a match for Richard the Second. Mr. St. John was profecuted in the Star Chamber, and acquitted; so that there is the judgment of the Star Chamber itself, the most arbitrary and the most tyrannous court that ever existed, that resistance to such subscriptions, by any means, or in any language, is not reprehensible; which opinion they could never have entertained, had they judged the subscriptions themselves to have been legal.
Mr. Gascoigne was entering into some personal invective against Sir William Meredith, but the Speaker stopped him, which Sir William Meredith, in reply, said, he was sorry for, because the more that honourable gentleman abused him, the better he thought of himself; that the effusions of his eloquence were incapable of the guilt of flander; they were, on the contrary, satisfactory and reputable.
The question was called for, and the House divided; for agreeing with the report 223, against it 130 *.
February 6. Mr. Burke moved, “That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to give direc
* So large a minority upon a question of fupply was thought extraordinary, it having been commonly observed, that questions of supply are usually carried unanimously, or but weakly relifted.
tions, that there be laid before this House copies of all papers that have passed between any of his Majesty's ministers and the generals of his armies in America, or any person acting for government in Indian affairs, relative to the military employment of the Indians of America, in the present civil war, from the first of March 1774 to the first of January 1778.".
Mr. Burke began by obterving, that one of the grand objects in the inquiry into the state of the nation was, the condition and quality of the troops employed in America. That an account of the King's regular forces, and those of his European allies, were upon the table. That hitherto no account had appeared of his irregular forces, those in particular of his favage allies; although there had been great dependence upon them, and that they were obtained at a great expence. "That it was necessary to examine into this point; because an extension of their mode of making war had been lately ftrenuously recommended. The prevailing idea was, that in the next campaign, the plans hitherto pursued were to be abandoned, and a war of distress and intimidation was to take place of a war of conquest, which had been found impracticable.
He observed, that this mode of war had been hitherto tried upon a large scale; and the success which hitherto had attended it would best prove how far it would be proper to extend it to all our troops, and all our operations; that if it did not promise to be very decisive, as a plan merely military, it could be attended with no collateral advantages to our reputation as a civilised people, or to our policy in reconciling the minds of the colonies to his Majesty's government.
He then stated what a war by Indians was. That the fault of employing them did not consist in their being of one colour or another; in their using one kind of weapon or another; but in their way of making war, which was so horrible that it fhocked not only the manners of all civilised people, but far exceeded the ferocity of all barbarians mentioned in history.
That the Indians in North America never have but two principal objects for going to war: the glory of destroying, or, when 'opportunity offered, of exterminating their enemies; the other, which always depended on the former, the glory of procuring the greatest number of scalps, which they hung up in their huts as trophies of victory, conquest, and personal prowess, much in the same manner that standards, kettle-drums, and colours, are deposited in public places in civilised nations, in token of some signal overthrow of a powerful and dangerous enemy. The Indians of America had no titles, finecure places, lucrative governments, pensions, or red ribbons, to be
stow on those who signalised themselves in the field ; their rewards were generally received in human scalps, in human Aeth, and the gratifications arising from torturing, mangling, scalping, and sometimes eating, their captives in war. He then repeated several instances of this diabolical mode of war scarcely credible, and, if true, improper to be repeated.
He went largely into the proofs of this their mode of making war in all times. He proved, that they had not altered that mode of making war; and that no posible means could prevail on them to alter it. He then took a view of the employment of these favages in the wars between France and England, and fewed, that it had been the inevitable confequence of the connexion of the two nations with the feveral Indian tribes, who, on the first European settlements, were, comparatively, great and powerful states; that alliances had been formed with them, and all our affairs became neceffarily entangled with theirs. But now no European nation but the Englith colonies remained in North America; and the favages were fo reduced in number, that there was no necessity of any connexion with them as nations. They were only formidable from their cruelty; and to employ them was merely to be cruel ourselves in their persons, and to become chargeable with all the odious and impotent barbarities which they would certainly commit whenever they were called into action.
On all these points he dwelt a long time, explaining and illuftrating every particular with great clearness and precision. He then considered the apologies which had been made for employing them; such as, ift, “ That if his Majesty had not employed them the rebels would; 2d, and that great care had been taken to prevent the indiscriminate murder of men, women, and children, according to their favage custom; 3d, Tnat they were never employed but in the company of disciplined troops, in order to prevent their irregularities.”
To the first he answered, that no proof whatever had been given of the Americans having attempted an offensive alliance with any one tribe of lavage Indians; wereas, the imperfect papers already before that Houfe demo traced that the King's ministers had negotiated and obtained fach alliances from one end of the continent of America to the other. That the Americans had actually made a treaty on the footing of neutrality with the famous Five Nations, which the King's ministers had bribed them to violate, and to act off-nfively against the colonies. - That no attempt had been m-de, in a single instance on the part of the King's minitters, to