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nothing but their zeal to distinguish them. In weighing this unanimous concurrence of whatever the nation has to boast of, I hope you will recollect, that all these concurring parties do by no means love one another enough to agree in any point, which was not both evidently, and importantly, right.
During the year 1780, affairs in America, and indeed in Europe, wore a more favourable appearance to Britain. Charlestown and the whole province of South Carolina were reduced; and the British forces made every exertion that courage and conduct could produce. Still, however, the Americans exhibited no signs of submission. The authority of Britain was acknowledged in no part, but those occupied by her forces. A hatred of the mother country was generally prevalent throughout the colonies. In Europe, Admiral Rodney had, by a signal victory over the Spanish fleet, displayed the valour and superior skill of the British navy. He led his victorious fleet to the West
Indies, and there maintained the pre-eminence of our fleets by considerable advantages, a prelude to
a decisive victory, equalling any in the former annals of British glory, though since equalled by the victories of the present war, of the present year, and of the present month.* The efforts of Rodney could not have been successful, but with a force that shewed that the First Lord of the Admiralty was not inattentive to his duty; and that Burke, in his imputation of negligence and incapacity to Lord Sandwich, was a party speaker, not an impartial thinker.
From the commencement of the American war, Holland had leaned to the colonies, and had supplied them with stores. After France and Spain had become hostile to Britain, she had also supplied those nations with warlike stores, contrary to the general principles of neutrality and particular treaties subsisting between her and Britain.
* Written Oct. 19, 1797
Various remonstrances on this subject had been made to the Dutch, which were disregarded. The Ministry, therefore, resolving to imitate the example of the illustrious Pitt during the former war, gave orders for the seizure of ships laden with contraband goods. This order was rigorously executed; the Dutch ships were searched, and contraband articles taken from them; the full value being paid to the owners. The Dutch, very unreasonably, complained of this proceeding. The British secing them hostilely inclined, in order to put their disposition to the test, demanded succours stipulated by treaty. To this the States-General returned no satisfactory answer. It appeared evident that Holland had determined to abandon Britain, and join her enemies. The northern powers entered into an association for promoting a scheme that altered the received law of nations concerning the right of neutral states to carry naval stores to the belligerent powers, and notified to the states at war, that they had prepared an arıned force for
protecting every species of neutral trade. It was evident to every one acquainted with the maritime power and situation of the several nations, that this plan, ostensibly impartial, was really meant to injure Britain. Thus, from Norway to Spain, the naval powers were either avowedly hostile, or really inimical to Great Britain. All Europe seemed to have combined to pull down her naval power. Such a situation, though alarming, was not without its use. It had a tendency
to STIMULATE THE EXERTIONS OF EVERY
TRUE LOVER OF
HIS COUNTRY, AND TO
SACRIFICE NARROWNESS OF 'PARTY SPIRIT
The question was not now, were or were we not right in attempting to impose taxes on America, but what were the most efficacious means for defending ourselves against so formidable a combination? Those were to be considered as true patriots, not who declaimed most fluently against the war, but who endeavoured to find out the most efficacious measures for national vigour, as the only means
Out of Parliament, disappro
bation of the individual Ministers was in many absorbed in their wishes to support Government in general.
On February 19th, 1781, Burke revived his plan of oeconomy, in hopes of better success than he had experienced the preceding session. He supported his motion by a speech necessarily consisting, as the subject was the same, of 'many arguments similar to those which he had used the year before ; but there was a great accession of new reasoning, new imagery, new illustrations, which the extent of his knowledge and fertility of his invention never failed to throw on any subject, however much it might to other orators appear exhausted.
A circumstance distinct from the intrinsic merit of the question rendered it at this time remarkable: on it William Pitt made his first speech in the House of Commons.
Mr. Pitt was now in the twenty-second year of his age, when he entered Parlia