Abbildungen der Seite


gotiations of this fort, he would materially affect the negotiations advise them to go to the king at then carrying on, he would defift once, and tell him that they were from his purpose altogether. The tired of the monarchical establish- minister refusing to pledge himself ment, that they meant to do the in the manner proposed, Mr. Fox business of the crown themselves, made the following motion on the and had no farther occasion for bis 18th. services. No man, he added,

" That an bumble ad. could be more anxious than himself


- dress be presented to his to have the world know what he majesty, that he will be gracihad done, and to receive the judg oully pleased to give directions ment of parliament and of the " that there be laid before this people of England upon his pro “ house copies of such parts of the ceedings; and that for this pur “ provisional articles as relate to pofe, lo soon as prudence and po “ the independency of America." licy should warrant, he would not The motion was opposed by the lose a moment in laying the treaty ministers and their friends, as both before them. With respect to the unseasonable and unnecessary. The affertion that had so frequently moment of negotiation was said been made, that no mischief would to be of all others that in which arise from giving the answer re- parliament ought to place confiquired, he said it was a little ex- dence in ministers, and to abstain traordinary, that those who knew from interfering by its advice in not what the treaty was, should be measures, with the delicate situation so positive in declaring there could of which it muft neceffarily be usbe no secrets in it, whilst those acquainted. Whatever construcwho did know its contents as posi- tion the treaty might bear, whattively asserted there were.

ever contrariety of opinions might Dec. 16th.

On the 16th Mr. Fox. be entertained respecting it, it was

gave notice of his in- figned, and could not be altered; tention to move, on the first con- and, what was most material, had venient day, for the provisional given perfect satisfaction to the treaty to be laid before the house, party that had accepted it. The or such parts of it as related to the mischiefs that might arise from disrecognition of American indepen- cusling subjects of this nature in the dence. At the same time, as a house were strongly insisted on; and proof that he had no design to em the ministers were advised to keep barrafs government, or throw any a total silence with respect to the impediment in the way of the mi. matter in debate. nifter's negotiations, he declared These objections were supportthat if the secretary of state would ed by Lord North in a speech full pledge himself to the house, that of irony and sarcastic observation. the treaty in question contained He said, he entirely approved of the particulars, which, if discovered advice that had been given to miearlier than the moment minifters nisters to keep filent, but wished might choose for laying it before the injunction had been laid upon parliament, would be attended them a little earlier ; much trouble with mischievous consequences, and would then have been saved, much


tanreasonable discussion of charac- fixed to the treaty. It was a maxim, ters ftopped; and, if the new doc. he said, with casuilts, that the fuptrine of a privy counsellor's oath port of one grave doctor was enough were solid, something very like pere to make an opinion probable;-now jury prevented.

he had the opinion of two grave The motion before the house he doctors, two cabinet minifters, that understood was made for the pur- the treaty was not irrevocable. He pose, either of satisfying them that next examined the contradictory the American treaty was irrevo- explanations that had been given ; cable, or of declaring it to be fo and after commenting on them for if it should appear doubtful. Now, some time, argued that if, from so as he neither wished nor believed it many contradictions, any thing cera to be of that nature, he certainly tain could be deduced, it must be, could not vote with the right how that the provisional articles meant nourable mover.

nothing fixed. In this opinion he It had been pleasantly remarked, was confirmed by the speech from that he should vote that day with the throne. To this edition of the the ministers, not because he agreed treaty, printed on royal paper, he with them, but because they dif- fhould certainly give the preference agreed with each other. This, he over the many that had since been faid, was in some measure true ; published, and enriched cum notis but it was a matter not of choice variorum. In that it was said, in but of necessity; and as he wished the first place, that'independence to ftrengthen their government, he had been offered; fecondly, that fhould be very happy if he could be this article was dependent on anoinstructed how he could support ther treaty, in which it was to be inthem collectively.

Jerted; and, thirdly, it is chere Differences, he admitted, un- styled only a provifional treaty, doubtedly existed, and of a very which clearly implied that it was essencial nature, in the cabinet; conditional, and therefore revo. and those differences might certain cable. İy have an effect with foreign pow Having stated the grounds of his ers, but they were not likely to be opinion, he added, that it could reconciled within those walls. The not be expected he should concur cabinet consisted of eleven persons in a motion, the design of which of great genius, long experience, was to affix a meaning on the trea. and invariable constancy; they had ty of which he could not approve. employed almost an equal number lf, says he, the right honourable of commissioners at Paris in this gentleman should succeed in that important business ; and if all these attempt, would not the minifters personages had not been able to of France argue thus with our nefix a precise meaning to a treaty gotiators, “ You have told us, that that was declared to be concluded, the English nation would submit could it be expected that an una with great unwillingness to the renimous explanation of it should be cognition of American indepengiven in that house?

dence, and you demand some fa. He then proceeded to state the crifice from us as an equivalent for grounds of the meaning he had af- that conceflion. You see now that VOL. XXVI



parliament has none of the difficul- unconditional acknowledgment of ties you made account of; we the independence of America; and therefore must alter our terms, this, it was argued, was the best pothere being no reason why we should licy we could adopt. To grant it now inake the sacrifice you re as the price of peace, at the requifiquire.”

tion of France, would be base and In support of the motion was degrading. Should the French mi. urged, that the production of a nister infult us with an offer, he treaty, pending the negotiation, thould be told, “ We will not sell was perfectly parliamentary, and the independence of America to not unprecedented; and that none you at any price ; we will freely of his Majesty's servants would ven present her with that which you ture to affert, that, in the present hall not procure her, offer what instance, it would be dangerous or bargain you please." unsafe. The difficulties under The motion was at length rewhich our negotiators muit una jeeted on a previous question, by a voidably labour, so soon as the majority of 219 to 46; and both contradictory language of ministers houses adjourned on the 23d to the at home was known abroad, and 21st of the following month. the necessity of relieving them from On the day of meetthis embarrassment, was strongly ing after the recess, a

Jan. 21st. insisted on. It was not from any motion was made in the

1783 absurd idea of reconciling the con House of Commons, for leave to tradictions of ministers that the bring in a bill, for removing prefent motion was brought for “ and preventing all doubts which ward, but that parliament might “ had arisen, or might arise, conput fuch a clear, diftinét, and de- " cerning the exclusive right of finitive construction on the treaty, the parliament and courts of as might fatisfy both foreign pow “ Ireland in matters of legislation ers and the people at home of its " and judicature; and for pretrue meaning and purpose. Minis venting any writ of error or apters could then no longer flottuate “ peal from any of his majesty's in their explanations of it, and might “ courts in that kingdom from berecover that confidence abroad ing received, heard, and adwhich at present it was ridiculous judged, in any of his majelty's for them to expect. They had courts in the kingdom of Great themselves confessed, that the insi. " Britain." nuations that had been propagated The cause of his bill, which af. respecting the insincerity of the ter going through the usual forms noble earl at the head of the trea- passed into a law, was as follows : fury had materially impeded their When the matter of establishing negotiations; and was it likely that the legislative and judicial indethese fufpicions would be removed pendence of the kingdom of Ireby what had passed in parliament land was under the confideration since the first day of the seffion? of the late ministry, two ways of

It was not denied that the design doing it had occurred. of the motion was to induce parlia- by a renunciation of what this ment to come to an explicit and country held to be a right, buc 9



The one,

which it was ready to give up. eagerly laid hold on by the cla.

This mode, however, it was fore morous in that country; and the feen, might give offence to the peo- jealousy they attempted to spread ple of Ireland, who contended, was not unwillingly improved by that England never had any such the ministers into an opportunity right. The other mode was by of shewing, that the measures of declaring that England, though it their predecessors had failed of give had exercised, had never been le- ing that complete satisfaction which gally possessed of, such a right: had been boasted, and of courting but to this mode of renunciation it the applause of Ireland by the ad was justly apprehended that the ditional security which the present parliament of Great Britain would bill was supposed to afford to their not be brought to consent. The rights. measure of a fimple repeal of the The bill paffed without any fordeclaratory act of the 6th of Geo. I. mal opposition : it was however rewas therefore adopted, as most con- marked, that as the parliament of fiftent with the spirit of the peo- Ireland had declared that no conple there, and the dignity of go- ftitutional question did any longer vernment here: and though some exist between the cwo countries, it zealous patriots in Ireland seemed was not consulting the dignity of to think that an absolute renuncia. the legislacure of Great Britain, tion was neceffary ; yet, as we have nor paying auy compliment to the before related *, an address was car- discernment of that of Ireland, to ried there through both houses, with declare that doubts might ftill arise ; only two or three diffentient voices, and to pass an act to prevent them, exprefling their perfect fatisfaction, that was unaked, and groundand declaring that no constitutional ed on mere surmises. The parquestion between the two countries liament of Ireland, by the repeal of would any longer exift. After the 6th of Geo. I. were virtually this the parliament of Ireland pro- invested with full powers to reguceeded in the exercise of their le late every domestic inconvenience gillative capacity, to enact laws according to its own discretion ; for regulating their judicial pro- and this in the present instance ceedings, and for confining the they had actually done, a bill for the decisions of property to their own purpose having received the royal courts of law, with power of ap- assent. The officious interference peal to the House of Lords of that now of Great Britain, so far from country only. Things were going encreasing the confidence which on in this amicable manner, when Ireland was inclined to repose in us, a cause that had been removed by was more likely, it was said, prowrit of error from Ireland to the duce the contrary effect, by authocourt of King's Bench, long be- rizing groundless jealousy and disfore the repeal had been in agita- truft. Confidence was in its nature tion, and which the judge, by the voluntary: a profusion of profesrules of the court, was bound to fions never had, nor ever would, determine, was brought to a deci- either produce or confirm it. It fion. This unlucky accident was was madness to suppose that spe

See Vol. XXV. P. [179.
[K] 2



culating politicians in Ireland, like an end somewhere ; and ministers all other people in fimilar circum- were advised to come to a resoluItances, would not find matter to tion of making a stand, where the cavil at. It was therefore neces- best and wiseft men of that counsary, for the peace of both coun try had already fixed the land. tries, and to the dignity of parlia- marks of the constitution. ment, that the business should have

[blocks in formation]


Preliminary articles of peace hgned at Versailles-laid before both houses

of parliament.--Address of thanks moved by Mr. Thomas Pitt.-Amendment proposed by Lord John Cavendish.--Second amendment proposed by Lord North.--Lift of the principal speakers for and against the original address. The peace defended on three grounds.--. From the deplorable ftate of the finances of the navy-of the army.--2dly. On the merits of the articles of the several treaties.-Defence of the French treaty— of the ceffion of part of the Newfoundland fishery, and of the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon of the restoration of St. Lucia, and of the ceffion of Tobago of the cellion of Senegal, and the restoration of Goree of the restoration of the French continental settlements in the EastIndies of the abrogation of the articles relative to Dunkirk.-Defence of the Spanish treaty-of the ceffion of East and Weft Florida and Mi.

Defence of the provisional treaty with the Americans -- of the line of boundaries ---of ihe settlement of the fisheries--of the terms procured for the loyalists.-dly. On the factions and interested motives of those who pretended to disapprove of it.--Arguments urged by the oppofite fide in support of the amendments.- Arguments used in defence of the peace replied to in the same order.-Both amendments carried in the House of Commons, by a majority of 16.- Amendment to the address in the House of Lords moved by Lord Carlisle, and negatived by a majority of 13.List of Speakers in the debate. -Resolution of censure on the peace moved in the House of Commons by Lord John Cavendish, and carried by a majority of 17.

HE preliminary articles of and in the intermediate time fe.

peace between Great Britain' veral motions were made for such and France, and between Great Bri. papers and documents as mightalist tain and Spain, were signed at Ver- the house in deciding on their merits. failles on the 20th of January; and : On the day appointed upwards on the 27th copies of the fame, of four hundred and fifty members and of the provisional treaty with

were assembled,

After the papers the United States of America, were were read, a motion was made by laid before both houses of parlia- Mr. Thomas Pitt, and seconded ment, and after a short debate, or- by Mr. Wilberforce, " that an addered to be printed. Monday the cá dress of thanks should be pre17th of February was appointed “ sented to the King for his grafor taking them into consideration; «« cious condescension in ordering


« ZurückWeiter »