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ceptionable in other respects, the service did not nearly repay the expence; all that they did to annoy the enemy might have been done by regulars. The barbarities of the Indians must widen the breach between Britain and the colonies. He reprobated, at the same time, an attempt that had been made by Government to excite an insurrection in the southern colonies, of negro slaves against their masters, as equally barbarous and impolitic. The Virginians were so enraged at this attempt that they declared, if all the other colonies should submit, they would not, to the instigators of treachery and barbarity. He concluded, that the only remedy for the alienation of affections, and the distrust and terror of our own Government, which had been brought on by their inhuman measures, was for Parliament to inquire seriously and strictly into them; and, by the most marked and public disapprobation, to convince the world that they had no share in practices which were not more disgraceful to a great and civilized nation, than they were contrary to all true
policy, and repugnant to all the feelings of humanity: for, that it was not in human nature for any people to place a confidence in those, to whom they attributed such unparalleled sufferings and miseries; and the colonies would never be brought to believe, that those who were capable of carrying on a war in so cruel and dishonourable a manner, could be depended on for a sound, equitable, and cordial peace; much less, that they could be safely entrusted with power and dominion.
Ministers endeavoured to prove, that unless Britain had employed the Indians, America would have engaged them; but brought no proof to maintain this assertion.
A set of motions was now proposed, in which Mr. Fox took the lead, for an inquiry. into the state of the forces in America, from the commencement of the war, and the losses sustained. His object was, to shew that the men and money employed in the contest had been thrown away, and that the
coercion of America was unattainable. This proposal was opposed by Administration, on the ground that it would be imprudent to expose the number of our forces. Mr. Fox asserted, that twenty thousand men had perished in the contest. The Minister answered, that not more than twelve bundred had been slain. Mr. Fox, always ready in directly applying the just criterion, when truth was his object, moved for an account of all the men sent to America, all that still remained, and that the difference would be the loss sustained. Particular inquiry was deemed by the friends of Administration inexpedient. Similar motions were made in the upper house, and rejected. The great Earl of Chatham, notwithstanding his bodily infirmities, took an active share in the business of this session, the last which that illustrious statesman lived to see.
February 17, Lord North proposed a conciliatory plan, which afforded much discussion to Burke and other leading members
of Opposition. He defended his own plans.
and conduct respecting America.
intentions of Great Britain concerning the exercise of the right of taxing the colonies, and, in fact, renouncing the exercise of the right; another for appointing commissioners, with full powers to treat with America. The great defect of Lord North was want of firmness. With an excellent understanding and upright intentions, he too readily sacrificed his own opinion to that of others; there was in his conduct a defect very pernicious either to the public or private manager of important business, he was too easily borne down by opposition to what be bimself thought right. This was very evident in his parliamentary conduct, and it is not unfair to conclude, that it took place sometimes in the cabinet. The more determined abettors of coercive measures were confounded at the proposed abandonment of the plans they had hitherto supported. Mr. Fox professed to approve of the general object of conciliation, and shewed that the means proposed were nearly the same as those intended by Burke in his conciliatory bill some years before. At the same time