« ForrigeFortsett »
the Americans the ensuing campaign. The request, however, was not granted. The opinion gave by John Derk van der Chapelle, in the assembly of the states of Overyssel, was pointedly against it. When entered upon his last observation, he says,
Though not as principals, yet as auxiliaries, our troops would be employed toward suppressing (that what some please to call) à rebellion in the American colonies; for which purpose I would rather see Janissaries hired, than troops of a free state.”
“In what an odious light must this unnatural civil war appear to all Europe; a war in which even savages (if credit can be given to news-paper information) refuse to engage ; more odious still would it appear for a people to take a part therein who were themselves once slaves, bore that hateful name, but at last had spirit to fight themselves free. But above all, it must appear superlatively detestable to me, who think the Americans worthy of every man's esteem, and look on them as a brave people, defending in a becoming, manly and religious manner, those rights, which as men, they derive from God, not from the legislature of Great-Britain." ! " Their mode of proceeding will, I hope, serve as an exam. ple to every nation deprived by any means of its privileges; yet fortunate enough in being able to make suitable efforts toward retaining or regaining them.”
But though his majesty's request to their high mightinesses was not complied with, his message to the parliament of Ireland had met with success, and they had voted on the 15th of November, “that 4000 troops out of the 12,000 voted for the defence of that kingdom, be spared for his majesty's service abroad (the message had mentioned America) the same to be no charge to Ireland after quitting the kingdom.” But they declined voting, " that 4000 protestant troops be received to replace the like number sent abroad; these likewise to be no charge to Ireland," which proposition was also contained in the message.
[Dec. 29.] Sir Peter Parker and earl Cornwallis, with the Acteon and Thunder bomb, sailed from Portsmouth for Corke, to convoy the troops and transports there to America. The Actęon put into Falmouth, and took on board col. Ethan Allen and his fellow prisoners, who had been confined in Pendennis castle, Cornwall; from whence they were removed by direction
government, upon a discovery that there was an intention of bringing them before the proper magistrate by the habe:1s corpus act, in order to ascertain whether they were legally chargable with any crime that could warrant their continea
No assistance was given to Allen in England; but when the ship arrived at Corke, a subscription for him was begun in Ireland, and an ample supply of necessaries given him, of which he and his friends were in great need. About the 20th of Jan. 1776, the fleet and transports were ready to sail; but the lord lieutenant of Ireland, doubting his power of permitting the troops to go, a clause, giving particular leave on this occasion, was inserted in one of the Irish bills. When the bill came to England, the clause was struck out upon the idea, “that the king had a right by his prerogative to send the troops.” The lord lieutenant still retaining his doubts, the clause was inserted in another bill, which was hurried through with all possible dispatch. But so much time was lost by this affair, that it was the 13th of February before the fleet could sail. It consisted of forty-three sail, and about 2500 troops. On the 18th they met with a terrible storm that dispersed them. Some of their transports put back to Corke, others gut into Plymouth, Portsmouth and the Western ports. The carcass bomb got into Portsmouth : When she parted with Sir Peter he had only twentyfive sail with him. İt is generally thought, he is destined for the middle or southern colonies.
A single rifleman taken prisoner and brought overto England being carried before the mayor to be examined was dismissed; as no crime was charged upon him, of which that magistrate could take cognizance.
His majesty having entered into treaty with the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, the duke of Brunswick and other German princes, for 17000 men, to be employed in America, Lord North move ed, [Feb. 29.] “ that these treaties be referred to the committee of supply.” The troops were represented as equal to any in Europe for the regularity of their discipline : and one reason assigned for hiring them was, that men could be more readily had that way than by recruiting at home, and upon the whole on cheaper terms. But the measure of employing foreign auxiliaries was reprobated in all its parts by opposition : however, after debating till past two in the morning, his lordship's motion was agreed to by a majority of 242 to 88. When the treaties came before the house of lords, they met with equal opposition. The duke of Richmond moved for an address to the king, requesting him to countermand the march of the German auxiliaries, and to give immediate orders for a suspension of hostilities in America, in order to lay a foundation for a treaty, to compose the differences between Great Britain and her colonies. He took an historical view of the treaties between the British and Hessian court for many years past: showing that this had gradually risen in its demands, in every successive treaty. The present was said to have exceeded all the former in the exorbitancy
of its conditions. He asserted, from the calculations he had made, that the body of 17,300 foreigners taken into British
pay, would, including all contingencies, occasion an expence of no less than £.1,500,000 within the course of a twelvemonth. It was said in the debates--the colonies are to be devoted to the horrors of war, and to be treated as a nation froin which we bave experienced every kind of contutaelious usage. Unprovided with a sufficient number of troops for the cruel purposes designed, or unable to prevail upon the natives of this country to lend their hands to such a sanguinary business, ministers have applied to those foreign princes who trade in human blood, and hired armies of mercenaries for the work of destruction. An army of forcigners is now to be introduced into the British dominions, not to protect them from invasion, not to deliver them from the ravages of an hostile army, but to assist one half of the inhabitants in massacreing the other. This foreign connection will be productive of the most fatal events. Hitherto this unhappy dispute has been confined to the people of the British empire ; the colonies have not shown a disposition for the calling in of any other nation as an umpire. They apparently depend upon themselves for its support and termination ; and do not, in all probability, imagine that we can be so imprudent as to associate others to our domestic feuds. But when they see that we have recourse to this odious expedient, they will no longer think themselves bound to stand singly in the contest : they will, after our example, apply to strangers for assistance. They will connect themselves with such, as instead of requiring subsidies, will supply them with men and money ----such as wil espouse their quarrel, not from mercenary motives, but fronı hostile considerations to this country--front ancient habits of inveteracy--from a thirst of revenge for the losses and humiliatons occasioned by our arms.
The plea of necessity was the constant shield with which the ministry covered all the measures that had been laiely adopted. But with regard to the present, they asserted ------Treating with foreign princes for the loan of their troops is far from being detrimental; the terms are not exorbitant, considering how indispensabiy they were known to be wanted, the extraordinary service they are to go upon, the lands and seas they are to traverse in going forth and coming home, and the great uncertainty of their return. The computation of the expences attending them are over-rated. But had the expence been greater, the emergency is such that we must have complied with any terms demanded. The Americans have thrown iheinselves out of our protection, and are become strangers; su that we should VOL. II.
not scruple to employ against them, both our own forces and those of our allies. Little is to be apprehended from the countenance that foreign powers may give to America; it is so evident that their plainest interest militates against their undertaking the defence of the colonies, that it is not a subject deserve ing of discussion.
After violent debates, the question was carried in favor of mimistry, by 100 votes tu 32. But not without a protest, wherein the lords say, “We have reason to appreliend, that when the colonies come to understand that Great-Britain is forming alliances and hiring foreign troops for their destruction, they may think they are well justified by the example, in endeavoring to avail themselves of the like assistance; and that France, Spain, Prussia or other powers of Europe, may think they have as good a right as Hesse, Brunswick and Hanau, to interfere in our domestie quarrels.” When this business was decided, another came on, which occasioned no less ferment. The secretary of war gave notice [March 11.] that the sum of £.845,000 would be necessary to defray the extraordinary expences from the commencement of March the preceding year, to the end of last January. This information excited one of the most violent storms of opposition ever known. “Never, said they, was so vast a demand for contingent expences incurred in so short a time." From the various calculations made on this occasion they inferred that no less than one hundred pounds a man had been expended on the garrison of Boston, within less than the term of a year; during which time they had been reduced to great extremities through want of provisions ; and had endured a variety of wretchedness. The ministry, though assailed with much vehemence, stood their ground,-upon the approbation and authority of parliament. They argued-As to the expendi. ture of those sumns, which are loaded with heavy censures, it ought to be remembered, that the operations they were employed in, were numerous and chargable; and that the various un. dertakings which had been resolved upon, were of so novel and difficult a nature, as to require the most resolute exertions and the most liberal support. The Massachusetts had exercised that resistance for which, not imagining it would have been carried to such extremities, they had not made an adequate preparation ; but now that nothing less than the most daring and stubborn opposition was expected from the colonists, they should no longer withhold their strength; but should put it forth in such a manner as would shew that Britain was fully able to crush them. A session or two more of firmness and vigor, would bring about an alteration of affairs, and make the colonies repent of the provo
cations they had given to this country. The motion for the supply was carried by a majority of 180 to 57.
(March 14.] A fresh attempt was made in the house of lords to prevent a continuance of hostilities. The duke of Graf. ton moved, that an address should be presented to the throne; requesting that, in order to stop the further effusion of blood, and to manifest the sincere desire of king and parliament to restore peace, and redress grievances, a proclamation might be issued, declaring, that if the colonies should present a petition to the commander in chief of his majesty's forces in America, or to the commissioners appointed for such purposes, setting fourth what they considered to be their just rights and real grievances, the king would consent to a suspension of arms, and refer their petition to parliament, where they inight be confident it would be duly considered and answered. All the reasonings of those who supported the motion were totally ineffectual: it was rejected by a majority of near three to one. Thus ended a debate, which pat a period, for a while, to all attempts for concilatory measures in either house of parliament. But the lord mayor, alderman, and commons of the city of London, still continued their endeavors, in an humble and decent address, which they presented to his majesty: [March 22.] The answer, though not according to their petition, was no wise irritating, and expressed as much mercy and clemency to the Americans, adjudged to be in a state of rebellion, as could be expected, considering what coercion was going forward. Some of the Brunswick troops sailed froni Spithead [ April 4.] under convoy of two men of war, and were followed the next day by generals Burgoyne and Philips ; Burgoyne had left Boston in December, and returned home after a short passage,
-[May 6.] Letters patent, by his majesty's order, passed under the great seal constituting lord Howe and general Howe, to be his majesty's commissioners for vestoring peace to the colonies in North-America, and for granting pardon to such of his majesty's subjects there, now in rebellion, as shall deserve the royall mercy. The same day, commodore Hotham, with all the transports, having the first division of Hessians on board, sailed from St. Helen's for North-America. The troops are to assist in forcing the rebels to ask mercy. Five days after, his lord"ship followed in the Eagle man of war.
According to the estimates laid before parliament, the army to be employed against the Americans, in different quarters amounts to 55,000 men, besides all the recruits raised in Canada and other parts of the continent, which may amount to 5000. These cstimates must however have supposed the regiments full. But