Imatges de pÓgina

brilliant vi&tory of Lord Cornwallis, brilliant for the design of the attack, for the courage of the execution, and for the alacrity with which Colonel Tarleton followed up the blow; the mentioning that officer put him in mind of major Moncrief, whose services he ought not to have passed over when he spoke of the fiege of Charles Town. He expatiated also, upon the merit of Lord Rawdon, and spoke of the pleasure he felt at the dawn of his Lordíhip's military talents, from which his country had reaped such fignal and diftinguished advantages.

But he might be told indeed, by way of answer to all this, that your resources which are et fübfidia belli et ornamenta pacis were exhausted, and the country drained by taxes, and impoverished by expence. It might be true ; but what would you obtain by inactivity, and by meanly foliciting peace,' which you probably would not obtain; or if you could obtain it, you would have but little hopes of preserving it. That, however, all he had now to do, was to promise such support, as it was at once our interest and our security to give, and was in conformity to those assurances contained in the address of the 17th March 1978, upon the French ambassador's declaration, to which he referred, and which he wished gentlemen to act up to both it letter and in spirit; that if the quantum or the application of any sum proposed was to be questioned, the proper time for questioning it would be in a committee of supply, when the sum itfelf, and the service to which it was to be appropriated, could fall at one and the same time under your consideration. That one thing gentlemen would consider in the nature of that application, it was not to make additions to your empire that we undertook that war, nor to enlarge conquests already, perhaps at least, fufficiently extensive for the bulk of the empire at large, but we had as the object of our conteft, the prefervation of all that was necessary to our honour, and perhaps to our existence. And as it was manifeft upon a cool and dispasfionate review of the whole of his Majesty's reign, that not a single instance could be traced in which the line of the conftitution had been passed over, and in which its principles had not been inviolably adhered to, for the preservation of our internal liberties, it would be difgraceful indeed if that should not be an incitement to us to exert ourselves at all hazards to fecure them from foreign violence.




Sir Grey

Mr. Baker.


November 13*. Sir Grey Cooper brought up the bill for taking away for one Capper.

year the benefit of the Habeas Corpus, from all períons sufpected of committing high trealon in his Majesty's colonies and plantations abroad.

Mr. Baker observed, that out of the many persons detained on suspicion, not one had yet been tried : The bill in queftion therefore was an unjust power given to the servants of the crown, to keep in perpetual imprisonment all whom they might think proper to suspect of having committed high treafon beyond seas. A very bad use had been already made of this power; a person who had been taken into custody, before the enacting of the bill, had been kept on ship-board, and shifted froni vessel to vessel, left a Habeas Corpus should free. him, before the bill, which was then depending, passed; yet, notwithstanding all this, the person alluded to was at last discharged, after 15 months confinement, without ever being brought to trial. Among the 400 persons now confined, many probably have been taken with arms in their hands; in America such people were exchanged as prisoners of war; why did not ministry then exchange those whom they detained in England, or, at least, bring them to trial ?

Sir Edward Astley also objected to the bill; complained at fley. the same tiine of the duration and expence of the American

war, which, in the end, he said, muft bring ruin upon this country,

Sir Grey Cooper begged gentlemen would recollect, that the Cooper. distance from the place where the crime was supposed to be

committed, necessarily made it a work of time to bring over the witnesses, both for and against the prisoners; and to hurry them to trial when the minds of men were heated, would be as inexpedient as it was cruel. With respect to the bill itself, it was far from being a new thing. Similar bills had passed in the reigns of William, Anne, George I. and George İ!. In the last reign, it had even been continued for three years; so that gentleinen might see it was not the offspring of the present administration, who acted froin precedent, a precedent adopted through neceffity. The bill was then read a

first, and ordered to be read a second time, Mr.Minibin Mr. Minchin gave notice, that he should, on a future day,

move for leave to bring in a bill, empowering certain persons therein-named, to act as justices of the peace in times of riot and public tumult, and to take upon them the command and

Sir Edward

Sir Grey

# On the 10th the House adjourned to this day,


direction, of all such military forces, as it might be necessary to employ in the fuppreffion of such disturbances.'

Right Hon. T. Townshend said, it had been his intention to Right Hon. have moved the House that day, “ to vote on thanks to Sir T. TownFletcher Norton, Knt. for his faithful, diligent and able fend. difeharge of his duty as speaker, for the last ten years;” but jas' he heard a noble Lord [Lord North] was not well enough to attend, he had done himself the honour to enter into a correfpondence with that noble Lord upon the subject, and though he did not find the noble Lord meant to oppose his motion, yet he would poftpone it till a future day, when the noble Lord was likely to be present.

Lord Mahon called the attention of the House to a fact, which Lord Mae he thought merited their ferious notice, and he said, he would bom. the rather state it then, as he saw the noble Lord, at the head of the American department, was present, who, he presumed, was the best able to give the House full information respecting it. The fact he alluded to, according to his information, wa's this:

“ That upon the gth of August last, one English fhip of the line, fix frigates, and a cutter, went to the island of St. Martin's, belonging to the Dutch, (situated, as gentlemen .well knew, not far distant from the island of St. Euftatia) and that the English commanding officer was said to have debarked troops upon the said Dutch island, and had demanded, in the moft peremptory manner, that seven American vessels which had taken refuge in that neutral port, should be instantly delivered up, as alfo such parts even of their cargoes which had already been carried on shore, fold to the Dutch, and stored in the Dutch warehouse. That the fame information said, that the English commandinig officer had threatened, that in case of refutal, he would lay waste the Dutch island of St. Martin, by fire and sword. That the Dutch governor of the island, infinitely surprized at such an extraordinary proceeding, but unable to resist so superior a force, had required of the English commanding officer, that he should give him a written declartion that he acted in this manner by crders, under the authority of his court; and this being complied with, (as the same information faid) the Dutch govern nor had found himself compelled to subrnit to this flagrant and moft unjustifiable act of violence.” The fact he had tated, his

Lordship said, was adaring violation of the law of nations, So notorious an insult to a neutral power, his Lordship reprebáted in very strong terms. He



asked if this country had not enemies enough to cope with at present? Whether America, France, and Spain united, did not give the arms of Great Britain sufficient employment ? Whether it was wise or politic to offend any of the neutral powers, who had now a very respectable naval force afloat? These were questions, his Lordship faid, which every man must feel the force of; every man befides must know, that we should treat others as we wished to be treated ourselves. We ought to do as we would be done by; he therefore called upon the noble Lord to give the House fome satisfaction on the point he had mentioned, and to tell why minifters had so unadvisedly authorized the most unjust and impolitic breach

of the law of nations, which he had stated, Lord George

Lord George Germain said, the noble Lord had supposed, Germain." that his situation in office, gave him a full opportunity of

knowing the affair, to which he had alluded; he begged leave to remind the noble Lord, that the transaction was altogether of a maritime nature, and that the official account of it, if any had arrived, was to be had from the Admiralty, and not from him. No account of the affair, he could venture to say, had arrived at the Admiralty, unless it had come that morning ; but as he happened to have heard of the mate ter from one of the West-India islands, though he was far from admitting the doctrine, that he or any other man in office was obliged to rise and answer any questions put to him by any honourable member standing up in his place, he would now, as he was ready to do at all times when he had it in his power, to satisfy gentlemen, state what he knew of the tranfaction. He had heard it to have happened in this manner : some of Admiral Rodney's fleet came in fight of several vessels, which from their making away from them, they discovered to be enemies; they pursued, and the American ships that were chaced, made the best of their way for that part of the island of St. Martin which belonged to the Dutch. As soon as they got into the harbour, they hoisted their American stripes, and assumed an air of triumph and defiance ; upon this, the British commander ordered in a part of his squadron to cut them out; whereupon the Dutch governor lent word, that if the British commander perfifted, he would fire upon his ships, the English officer's answer to which was, that his Admiral (Admiral Rodney) had given orders for what he was doing, and that if the Dutch governor offered to fire, the British ships should return it upon the port, His Lordship said, he had not heard that any mention was

made of Admiral Rodney's having orders from home for any part of his conduct in the affair, neither had he heard that the Dutch governor requested to have the British commander's reasons, for his resolving to cut out the ships, stated in writing. A full representation of thc affair had already been received in Holland, where the matter had been complained of, and a representation of it, ministry knew was drawn up in Holland, and was to be sent to them. It had not yet come over; when it did, and it was ascertained in what manner the Dutch stated the facts, alluded to by the noble Lord, our court would in consequence give an answer, and the House then might proceed upon it, as they thought proper.

The order of the day to go into a committee of supply was called for, upon which

Mr. W. H. Hartlcy rose and said, Sir, before you enter Mr. W. H. upon the business of supply, permit me to request the indul- Hartley, gence of the House for a few minutes, and I take the liberty of doing it before you leave the chair, to express my sentiments, which I have in common perhaps with other members of this House, who, anxious to take a part, that may give strength and vigour to the exertions of this country, are yet concerned at the fatal war that is carried on, and do not chuse to give their afsent to all the measures which are pursued. Upon the general question of supply, I am therefore now desirous to explain myself, that whether I shall give my voice for the fums required or withhold my assent, I may not on the one hand appear unwilling to join in the defence of my country, or on the other, be supposed to approve the propriety of the war, and place a confidence in the conduct of those who have the direction of a fairs.

It is matter of the greatest consolation to my mind, that ever fince I had the honor of a seat in this House, I have withstood as far as an unavailing vote would go, those measures which have proved so destructive to this country ; what has contributed to the delusion, or where the fault has been, I wish not to enter upon at present, being free to give my opinion whenever an inquiry shall be made into the subject. However, when we see the country in such a situation, surrounded by so many open foes, involved in a fatal war with those who were once our fellow subjects, united by every tie, and with whom every person must wish a reconciliation to take place; when we consider these circumstances, it seems necessary to take some different steps to restore us to peace and safety. To extricate ourselves from these difficulties, reduced as we



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