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jesty's Speech, which informed his parlia- | wants, I can give it partly on my legs, in ment, that he had sent his Hanoverian which way it will not be a precedent; and troops to garrison Gibraltar and Minorca, if I am not so correct, from the papers that he was compelled to withhold his ap- | which I have accidentally about me, as probation of measures, which in every might be expected, against to-morrow I other instance he approved.
will procure those which shall be more acThe previous question being put, that curate. the main question be now put; the House Colonel Barré. Without entering into divided. The Noes went forth.
the matter of precedent, why not give Tellers.
the House an information which can do
no harm, and may do much good ? In Yes SLord John Cavendish - .7 Sir James Lowther - S
these matters accuracy is to be wished for,
As to telliog the facts to me, I want not S Sir George Howard - 1
to have a private curiosity gratified: I ES (Mr. Onslow - - - • want not to be paid in private a public So it passed in the negative.
debt. The information should be gene
ral. The ministers of the crown have Debate in the Commons on a Motion for admitted that they were deceived--they the Returns of the British Army in Ame have deceived parliament; which would rica.] November 1. Lord Barrington not have been the case, had information laid before the House the Army Esti been laid before us : my motion demands mates.
only information, that before we vote Colonel Barré desired to know the more troops we may know something connumber, state, and disposition of the cerning those we have already. Let us troops in America, according to the last know to what extent future estimates are returns.
to go, that when we have voted one numLord Barrington could not satisfy the ber, supposing it to be the total, there hon. gentleman; but before Monday he may not be after demands. The House would consult some papers which would must proceed in the dark, as we have hienable him to answer as much of those therto done, if we are not informed what particulars as was prudent to be dis- the state of the army in Boston is, and closed.
what the distribution is to be. The inCol. Barré. What the noble lord has formation I have had, which is that of the now said is in the true spirit of the admi- public, is only that of the troops being benistration. Give information they will sieged; a light-house burnt under the Dot; but they will call upon parliament to nose of the fleet, and the men sent to revote fresh troops, without letting parlia pair it carried off by the enemy. Let us ment know the least of what they ought to know the truth, and we shall then be able know concerning those which are already to proceed with our eyes open. employed. I shall therefore move, “ That | Lord Barrington. The last return is there be laid before the House an account that of July 19th, which was received here of the last returns of the number of effec- the 25th October. By this it appears that tive men, in the several regiments and the number of men in Boston, exclusive corps in his Majesty's service, serving in of three regiments going over to join North America, together with a state of them, was 8,550, of which 1,482 were sick the number of sick and wounded; distin- and wounded, and 354 missing, of which guishing the several places where the said Mr. Welbore Ellis. I submit it to the troops are stationed."
noble lord, whether it would not be also Lord Barrington. Ever since I have for the information of the House, to lay been concerned in the army, I know of before us these particulars of the rebel no precedent similar to what is now called army? for. To call during a war, for the return Colonel Barré. I give the right hon. of an army, has indeed been attempted, gentleman credit for what he says; lay but was always opposed, as a practice before the House the number and strength which might prove exceedingly inconve- of the provincial troops, that we may know nient. In the present case, I do not know whether you can fight them, that we may that any evils would Aow from it, but if judge of your demands, and know if the done by a resolution of the House, it will troops you ask will be as competent to the become a most dangerous precedent. As service they are to perform as were those to the information which the gentleman of last year. He expressed his surprise that government had no returns of the while your enemy is in the field? Would army later than the 19th July.
it not be giviog him intelligence of the Mr. T. Townshend. On the point of most advantageous nature? Could any precedent, I can give the noble lord one, ministers carry on the business of the fully in point. I moved for the return of public, if any gentleman in this House had the regiments employed in the affair of St. a right to cală for such an account? It Vincent's, and it was laid before the would be impossible. If ministers act House.*
badly they should be turned out of their Mr. Fox. It is evident from what has places: but the public service can never passed, that the plea of acting contrary to be advanced by calling for accounts which precedent will not avail the noble lord. destroy your confidence in them. What therefore is the true reason for the Mr. Burke. So, Sir, it is now laid ministers refusing to lay the information down as a maxim not only to refuse the called for before the House? Merely, I information, but to take care that assert, to keep parliament in ignorance. such information shall never be given Was the fair truth to be laid before the and this is to be the case, because parliaHouse, the demands of ministers would ment, instead of calling for information, be inconsistent with the facts they pro- should give confidence to ministers. duced. This was the case last session, This, Sir, is not only telling us that we and they have kept back all information, must bear our ignorance, but perpetuatand imposed on the House in order to get ing it; and making a minister's having the cry of the people before the extent of forfeited a right to all confidence, the the evil was known. But they have taken greatest plea for placing the more in him care, to a degree of affectation, to inform for the future. This is a mode of reasonyou that it is the rights not of the crown / ing I never heard of before. As to the but of parliament, for which they are importance of the information now called fighting, and yet with an inconsistency for, and the danger of producing it, it worthy only of themselves, they will not makes one smile. Can you imagine that allow parliament the least information to this army return of July last, can be conknow how to fight for those rights which / veyed to America and become better inthey say are peculiarly its own. This is telligence than general Washington has the conduct, Sir, which has driven from already? I will not bave so poor an opithem some of the most manly and re- nion of his abilities, who could write that spectable characters in the kingdom. excellent letter, we have all read, to geThey were deceived; they openly tell neral Gage ; but suppose him, and the gethese men who call themselves ministers, | nerals Lee and Putnam, to be more assi• You deceived us; you would not let us duous and attentive. These men know know the state either of America, or the much more of your army than your return force you had there to qucll the di. can give them. They coop it up, besiege sturbances ; acting thus in the dark, we it, destroy it, crush it. Your officers are were led into error, but we will not swept off by the rifles, if they show their persist in it; we know your intentional | noses. deceit, and we leave you.' This, Sir, Lord North wished as ardently as any is also the case of parliament; 'and the person to stop the effusion of blood on only remedy is for parliament to imi- | both sides; but thought it could only be tate the conduct of those manly charac. effected by sending over a formidable ters, by refusing to vote away the money army early in the spring, and appointing of their constituents for measures about proper persons on the spot to give par. which they are absolutely in the dark. I dons, as mentioned in the Speech. "He
Sir Gilbert Elliot. Whether or not the was against the motion, as it would ground precedent be for or against the informa-1 a precedent for future abuses: the case of tion, I shall be equally against the motion. the Caribbs was very different from the It would make a precedent of the most present: in that the minister was accused mischievous tendency. What is the re- of sending too many men to an upwhole. turn of an army? Why, every particular some climate ; and, besides, there was no concerning it given with the utmost accu- great danger of the Caribbs reading our racy, and perfectly authentic. Can it ever accounts. be proper to publish such a statement, Colonel Barré observed, that the con
duct of the minister in withholding proper * See Vol. 17, p. 568.
information, put him in mind of a king
who perceiving one end of a Lutheran | respect to the navy. Sir, I do not mean church exceedingly ruinous, and all the to accuse that noble lord of an inclination rest of it very good and elegant, proposed to impose upon this House, or the public, to rebuild that part for them; which he | | because his ignorance of naval affairs will did in a very magnificent manner; but acquit him with me of any such design. when they came to assemble there, they | But, Sir, let him beware here how he puts found that he had taken away all the light; implicit faith in the information of a man, upon which they waited on his majesty, who, with little more maritime knowledge, thanked him for his favours, and acquaint-may perhaps have much subtlety, and is ing him with their misfortune, in not being wise to rest such assertion as this upon able to see at church; upon which his the credit of the noble lord rather than majesty replied, it was perfectly right that upon his own ; for I believe it will puzzle it should be so ; for it was written in the any man in this House to produce more Scriptures, “ Blessed are they that be than one instance where this boasted lieve and do not see.”
æconomy has been observed, and there The House then divided, For the mo profusion would have been excusable, if tion 63; against it 170.
not commendable--I mean, Sir, when his
Majesty went to review his fleet at PortsDebate in the Commons on the Navy mouth. But, Sir, it would take me till Estimates.] The House resolved itself midnight to enumerate the various ininto a Committee of Supply.
stances of bad management, ignorance Mr. Buller moved, that 28,000 seamen, and extravagance that have followed one including 6,665 marines, be voted for the another since the noble lord, who now service of the year 1776, at the rate of 4l. presides at the head of the Admiralty, per month. He spoke of the stations of was appointed to such office ; proceeding the fleet ; particularly that the one under in part, I am sure, from his not taking the admiral Shuldham, who was to command advice of a very able and respectable sea in North America, was to consist of 78 officer, who is a lord of that board, but
obstinately following his own naval ideas, Admiral Keppel opposed the motion, as and being unable or unwilling to discern, inadequate to a war, and too large for a that though a subtle statesman, he is but peace establishment. He said that no an ordinary seaman. vessels could keep the sea upon the coast Sir, where then is this economy to be of North America in the winter season ; found? Is it in the summer parade of that arraigned the proceedings of the first lord noble lord, sailing from one king's port to of the Admiralty in his conduct of the the other, and wasting every year some navy, which he represented to have been hundred pounds of the public 'money, by in a much better situation before the pre the single expenditure of powder, to nosent noble lord came to the head of that tify his arrival? By prostituting the holepartment, than since.
nour of the flag, and claiming distincCaptain Luttrell. When the Address, tions, he must know, if he knows any which, we are told, pledged us to nothing, thing of the service, he is no way entitled massed this House, I did suppose ministry to, and therefore ought to be ashamed of. vould think it politic to vote navy, army, Is it by the loss to the public of the artinilitia, supplies, and every grant they may ficers’ labour, while they are doing homage Fant, without giving time for reflection, to this mighty lord ? Is it in sending a pformation, or enquiry; and therefore I'royal yacht with his son to Lisbon, whichi m not surprized at the precipitate man- , will cost the public 1,0001. when he might ier in which the hon. member has brought have gone in a packet for 50l. Is it in jefore us a question of such great national the wise regulations he has made in the mport ; but as I suspected it, I was eager navy, which we hear of in the newso learn from the noble lord opposite to papers, and by his dependants, but no le, when he mentioned the number of where else? Or is it in that careful inand forces proposed to be employed for spection into the state of the fleet so to le present year, what the naval establish- prevent abuses, that the best men of war lent was to consist of ? His lordship may be sold for 1,0001. while the worst arefully avoided being thus communica appear to have cost 40,0001, in repair ? ve, though he assured us in too general | And, Sir, as it is the custom to call up rms, that the most proper economy | the attention of the country gentlemen ad been, and would be, observed with upon every alarming subject, I will crave
that indulgence for a minute to mark one Shuldam's command is to consist of 78 instance out of very many where this sail of men of war. In that case it is economy is not to be found. He then trifling with parliament to come with entered into the abuses and misapplica- such a demand as this, when I am sure tions that had prevailed in the naval æco- it is impossible, by any calculation, to nomy since 1770. He shewed, that though prove them sufficient to man such a ficet in the course of five years, upwards of as is now in commission, and fitting for two millions sterling had been granted by foreign service; and if you except out of parliament for the repairs of the navy, \ 28,000 seamen the 1,200 marines under over and above the sums annually for wear the command of our general at Boston, and tear, yet the navy debt had increased sea officers, petty officers, and servants, in the same five years, upwards of 500,0001./ the number of foremast men will not ex. He proved that the Africa, a ship of 70 | ceed 14,000; therefore these must be orguns, had been sold for 9001. though she dinary grants; you may judge of the ex. was in better order than two-thirds of the traordinaries by what you have heard refleet, and could have been made as good as specting the Dragon, and of which there new for 3,0001. while there had been de- / are many more instances equally alarming, manded of parliament, for the use of the Sir, though I am totally against a great Dragon man of war only, within four increase of revenue for the destructive years, though she had never been at sea purposes it seems at present intended, it in the time, 32,9731. being extra work was my best hope that a large share of over and above what she had cost under 1 it would be appropriated towards the supthe articles of wear and tear, and ordi- port of what is generally acknowledged to pary; and is now laid up in Fareham be the great strength of this nation; that Creek unfit for service without further when the American ports were shut up, repair. He likewise proved, that the noble and we had lost that trade, we might have lord at the head of the board was the cause secured the seamen out of employ, by fitof the late insurrection of the shipwrights, ting out a formidable fleet; not because ! as he had encouraged them to petition I think it will prove useful on the coast of parliament for an increase of wages, in op-| America, but as the best security against position to the application of the captains a foreign power. Sir, talking of America, of the navy for an increase of their half a right hón. member said, there had been pay: he himself having told their com a fault in the navy somewhere. Will the mittee that the shipwrights were a set of noble lord declare that admiral Graves has more useful men to this nation, and much ever received positive orders that he did more entitled to the favour of government. not execute; or have they been, as I have He said that the task-work was the most reason to believe them, from the operations destructive manner of building and repair of the fleet, so artfully discretional, that ing possible, that it must inevitably in- if your ships should be wrecked upon that crease the naval expence, and ruin the frozen coast, or any misfortune attend fleet of this kingdom.]
them, the blame may be laid on the adNow, Sir, to return to the question im- | miral, and his reputation as an officer be mediately before us: my objection arises. / sacrificed to shelter the wicked proceedas it did last year, from a persuasion of the lings of these ministers.-Sir, an hon. mentinsufficiency of the number of seamen ap- / ber told us, we need not be dispirited with plied for to man the ships already in com our misfortunes in America, for that out mission, and those fitting for foreign ser. | fleets were unsuccessful at the beginning vice : if 6,665 marines are to be included. I of the late war, but afterwards proved 1,200 of which the hon. member allows tó victorious. Sir, this is a position similar make a part of your standing army, and to that of the naval economy, which I are now serving under the general of think can hardly be marked in above one your troops in America, how then can the instance, I mean the loss of Minorca. ships in this country be fitted for war, if Where else did ill-success await our naval occasion should require it, without the arms ? Was it in Europe, Asia, South or assistance of these marines, who, with the North America, where from the comfew volunteers we have, can alone be mencement to the conclusion of the war trusted to man the boats, get the stores we were making captures? How then, on board, guard the ships, and the men Sir, was the ill-success that attended this we receive from the impress traders. The country in any foreign war, to be como hon. member has told us, that admiral pared to the sea of trouble we are not
embarked in, but which I hope to God otherwise, if practicable, to harass them may calm sooner than I fear the minds of with your fleets, by interrupting their those men will do, who can tell us, in a trade, till at length they might perhaps be language that is shocking to hear, they brought to sue for protection. are riveted to coercion against our fellow The Resolution was agreed to. subjects in America.
Lord Hinchinbroke said, his brother was ' Debate in the Commons on the Bill for in such a situation, that the noble lord, his | Embodying the Militia.] Nov. 2. On the father, had no other means of sending order of the day for the second reading of
the Bill for embodying the militia, Lord North said, the ships built at the Mr. Hartley said ; Sir, I shall beg leave end of the war, were of green wood, which upon the present occasion to take a scope not being so durable as the seasoned wood, wide of the immediate business, and offer were very bad, had lately proved very | an observation or two upon the necessity rotten, and that this circumstance had of having some measure of a conciliatory been the cause of the great expence. nature to attend those coercive ones which
Sir J. G. Griffin did not get up to op- are brought forwards against America pose the number of seamen, because he with so much haste. I would propose thought if any operations were to be con- that there should be some test held out, tinued against the Americans, they ought by which the colonies may prove their subto be confined to that service only. He mission to the legislative power of this then declared that he had hitherto sup- country. I think the best would be the ported government on principles, without recognition of an act of parliament, to be regard to nen; thinking it is his duty as registered in the assembly of such colony in honest man so to do, as long as the willing to submit. And I think the best rue interest of the country appeared to should be one which exercises a control. e consulted, and the public affairs con- ling power over the colony; for instance, lucted to the credit or honour of the na. suppose it was to enact that all the slaves ion; he denied that to be the case at pre- in America should have the trial by jury. lent, and called on any of the minister's The recognition of this and the submission Jest friends to contradict him ; adding, he to its operation would yield the requisite hould ill deserve to sit there any longer, proof of duty. When this actual recogni. f he continued to afford his support to tion of an act of parliament shall have renen, the effects of whose pernicious mea- placed the legislative authority of this ures had reduced us to so shameful a situ- | country, without question or diminution, tion. He professed himself an advocate as it was before the commencement of or the supreme legislative authority of these troubles; then, as an act of merited his country over its colonies ; disclaimed justice to such colonies as shall have given owever on the one hand vindicating the this proof of their return to their allegi. ish and indiscreet measure of having ance, let their grievances be redressed; used the Americans, as he did on the let the operation of all the acts complained ther, their mode of resistance. The no. of cease, ipso facto, in each colony rele lord (North) had in the last session spectively where the required recognition iven it as his firm opinion, that the forces shall have been complied with. This prolen voted, and the other measures the position seems to me to be equitable in it. louse had adopted, would put an end to self; I hope it will be thought by all parI our unhappy disputes with America, ties to be definite, satisfactory, and practiven without a drop of bloodshed; yet cable. otwithstanding we all felt so seriously Mr. Charles Turner. I am against the le grievous effects of these ill-advised present Bill upon every account, as I am leasures, the noble lord, with fatal expe- against militias in general. The proper ence against him, was determined to men to recruit and supply your troops are tek our total ruin, by persevering in the the scum and outcast of cities and manuime wild and extravagant system; in- factures; fellows who voluntarily submit ead of which, he added, a tender of con- to be slaves by an apprenticeship of seven liation on terms suited to the true spirit years are the proper persons to be mili.
the British constitution ought to be tary ones. But to take the honest, sober, referred and held out to the Americans, industrious fellow from the plough, is hich, if not successful, we ought to re- doing an essential mischief to the commu. aquish all connections with them: ornity, and laying a double tax. The mili.