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dering ignorance, and wanton negligence; and of the most notorious servility, incapacity, and corruption. On reconsideration, I must allow you one merit, - a strict attention to your own interests. In that view, you appear sound statesmen and able politicians. You well know, if the present measure should prevail, that you must instantly relinquish your places. I doubt much whether you will be able to keep them on any terms. But sure I am, such are your well-known characters and abilities, that any plan of reconciliation, however moderate, wise and feasible, must fail in your hands. Such, then, being your precarious situations, who can wonder that you should put a negative on any measure which must annihilate your power, deprive you of your emoluments, and at once reduce you to that state of insignificance for which you were by God and Nature designed?
44. AGAINST EMPLOYING INDIANS IN WAR.- Earl of Chatham.
In the course of the debate, November 18, 1777, during which the Earl of Chatham made the eloquent speech from which the two following extracts are taken, the Earl of Suffolk, Secretary of State for the Northern department, advocated the employment of Indians in the war, contending that, besides its policy and necessity, the measure was also allowable on principle; for that "it was perfectly justifiable to use all the means that God and Nature had put into our hands." The following is a resumption of the Earl of Chatham's speech of the same day.
Who is the man that, in addition to the disgraces and mischiefs of our army, has dared to authorize and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the savage ? to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhuman savage of the woods; to delegate to the merciless Indian the defence of disputed rights; and to wage the horrors of his barbarous war against our brethren? My Lords, these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment; but, atrocious as they are, they have found a defender in this House. "It is perfectly justifiable," says a noble Lord, "to use all the means that God and Nature put into our hands." I am astonished, shocked, to hear such principles confessed, to hear them avowed in this House, or even in this country; principles equally unconstitutional, inhuman, and unchristian! My Lords, I did not intend to have trespassed again upon your attention; but I cannot repress my indignation - I feel myself impelled by every duty to proclaim it. As members of this House, as men, as Christians, we are called upon to protest against the barbarous proposition. "That God and Nature put into our hands!" What ideas that noble Lord may entertain of God and Nature, I know not; but I know that such abominable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and to humanity. What! attribute the sacred sanction of God and Nature to the massacres of the Indian scalpingknife, to the cannibal savage, torturing, murdering, devouring, drinking the blood of his mangled victims! Such horrible notions shock every precept of religion, revealed or natural; every sentiment of honor, every generous feeling of humanity!
These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand most decisive indignation! I call upon that Right Reverend Bench, those holy ministers of the Gospel, and pious pastors
of our Church; I conjure them to join in the holy work, and to vindicate the religion of their God! I appeal to the wisdom and the law of this learned Bench, to defend and support the justice of their country! I call upon the Bishops to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their lawn; upon the judges, to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution! I call upon the honor of your Lordships to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your own! I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character! I invoke the genius of the Constitution! From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of the noble Lord frowns with indignation at the disgrace of his country! In vain did he lead your victorious fleets against the boasted Armada of Spain, in vain did he defend and establish the honor, the liberties, the religion, the Protestant Religion of his country, if these more than Popish cruelties and Inquisitorial practices are let loose amongst us! Turn forth into our settlements, among our ancient connections, friends and relations, the merciless cannibal, thirsting for the blood of man, woman and child? Send forth the infidel savage? Against whom? Against your Protestant brethren! To lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name, with these horrible hell-hounds of savage war! Spain armed herself with blood-hounds to extirpate the wretched natives of America; and we improve on the inhuman example of even Spanish cruelty; we turn loose these savage hell-hounds against our brethren and countrymen in America, of the same language, laws, liberties, and religion, endeared to us by every tie that should sanctify humanity! My Lords, this awful subject, so important to our honor, our Constitution, and our religion, demands the most solemn and effectual inquiry. And I again call upon your Lordships, and the united powers of the State, to examine it thoroughly and decisively, and to stamp upon it an indelible stigma of the public abhorrence. And I again implore those holy prelates of our religion to do away those iniquities from among us. Let them perform a lustration; let them purify this House and this country from this sin. My Lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say more; but my feelings and my indignation were too strong to have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed, or have reposed my head on my pillow, without giving this vent to my eternal abhorrence of such preposterous and enormous principles.
45. RUINOUS CONSEQUENCES OF THE AMERICAN WAR.-Earl of Chatham.
You cannot conciliate America by your present measures; you cannot subdue her by your present, or by any measures. What, then,
Lord Howard of Effingham, who commanded the English fleet opposed to the Spanish Armada, and from whom the Earl of Suffolk was descended. The tapestry in the House of Lords represented the defeat and dispersion of the Spanish Armada, in 1588 In October, 1834, this tapestry was burned in the fire which destroyed the two Houses of Parliament.
can you do? You cannot conquer, you cannot gain, but you can address. In a just and necessary war, to maintain the rights or honor of my country, I would strip the shirt from my back in its behalf. But, in such a war as this, unjust in its principle, impracticable in its means, and ruinous in its consequences, I would not contribute a single effort, nor a single shilling.
My Lords, I have submitted to you with the freedom and truth which I think my duty, my sentiments on your present awful situ tion. I have laid before you the ruin of your power, the disgrace of your reputation, the pollution of your discipline, the contamination of your morals, the complication of calamities, foreign and domestic, that overwhelm your sinking country. Your dearest interests, your own liberties, the Constitution itself, totter to the foundation. All this disgraceful danger, this multitude of misery, is the monstrous offspring of this unnatural war. We have been deceived and deluded too long. Let us now stop short. This is the crisis, it may be the only crisis, - of time and situation, to give us a possibility of escape from the fatal effects of our delusions. But if, in an obstinate and infatuated perseverance in folly, we meanly echo back the peremptory words this day presented to us, - words expressing an unalterable determination to persist in the measures against America,—nothing can save this devoted country from complete and final ruin. We madly rush into multiplied miseries, and plunge into "confusion worse confounded."
46. AMERICA UNCONQUERABLE. - Earl of Chatham, November 18, 1777, on the Address of Thanks to the King.
THIS, my Lords, is a perilous and tremendous moment. It is no time for adulation. The smoothness of flattery cannot save us, in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to instruct the Throne, in the language of TRUTH. We must, if possible, dispel the delusion and darkness which envelop it; and display, in its full danger and genuine colors, the ruin which is brought to our doors. Can Ministers still presume to expect support in their infatuation? Can Parliament be so dead to its dignity and duty as to be thus deluded into the loss of the one, and the violation of the other; as to give an unlimited support to measures which have heaped disgrace and misfortune upon us; measures which have reduced this late flourishing empire to ruin and contempt? But yesterday, and England might have stood against the world: now, none so poor to do her reverence! France, my Lords, has insulted you. She has encouraged and sustained America; and, whether America be wrong or right, the dignity of this country ought to spurn at the officious insult of French interference. Can even our Ministers sustain a more humiliating disgrace? Do they dare to resent it? Do they presume even to hint a vindication of their honor, and the dignity of the State, by requiring the dismissal of the plenipotentiaries of America? The People, whom they affected to call contemptible rebels, but whose growing power has
at last obtained the name of enemies, the People with whom they have engaged this country in war, and against whom they now command our implicit support in every measure of desperate hostility, People, despised as rebels, or acknowledged as enemies, are abetted against you, supplied with every military store, their interests consulted, and their Ambassadors entertained, by your inveterate enemy! - and our Ministers dare not interpose with dignity or effect!
My Lords, this ruinous and ignominious situation, where we cannot act with success nor suffer with honor, calls upon us to remonstrate in the strongest and loudest language of truth, to rescue the ear of Majesty from the delusions which surround it. You cannot, I venture to say it, you CANNOT conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing, and suffered much. You may swell every expense, and strain every effort, still more extravagantly; accumulate every assistance you can beg or borrow; traffic and barter with every little pitiful German Prince, that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign country: your efforts are forever vain and impotent, doubly so from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates to an incurable resentment the minds of your enemies, to overrun them with the sordid sons of rapine and of plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty! If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms! never! never! never!
47. ON FREQUENT EXECUTIONS, 1777.—Sir W. Meredith.
WHETHER hanging ever did, or can, answer any good purpose, I doubt: but the cruel exhibition of every execution-day is a proof that hanging carries no terror with it. The multiplicity of our hanging laws has produced these two things: frequency of condemnation, and frequent pardons. If we look to the executions themselves, what examples do they give? The thief dies either hardened or penitent. All that admiration and contempt of death with which heroes and martyrs inspire good men in a good cause, the abandoned villain feels, in seeing a desperado like himself meet death with intrepidity. The penitent thief, on the other hand, often makes the sober villain think, that by robbery, forgery or murder, he can relieve all his wants; and, if he be brought to justice, the punishment will be short and trifling, and the reward eternal.
When a member of Parliament brings in a new hanging law, he begins with mentioning some injury that may be done to private property, for which a man is not yet liable to be hanged; and then proposes the gallows as the specific and infallible means of cure and prevention. One Mary Jones was executed, whose case I shall just
mention. She was very young, and most remarkably handsome. She went to a linen-draper's shop, took some coarse linen off the counter, and slipped it under her cloak; the shopman saw her, and she laid it down for this she was hanged. Her defence was (I have the trial in my pocket), "that she had lived in credit and wanted for nothing, till a press-gang came and stole her husband from her; but, since then, she had no bed to lie on; nothing to give her children to eat; and they were almost naked: and perhaps she might have done something wrong, for she hardly knew what she did." The parish officers testified the truth of this story: but it seems there had been a good deal of shop-lifting about Ludgate; an example was thought necessary; and this woman was hanged for the comfort and satisfaction of some shopkeepers in Ludgate-street!
And for what cause was God's creation robbed of this its noblest work? It was for no injury; but for a mere attempt to clothe two naked children by unlawful means! Compare this with what the State did, and with what the law did! The State bereaved the woman of her husband, and the children of a father, who was all their support; the law deprived the woman of her life, and the children of their remaining parent, exposing them to every danger, insult, and merciless treatment, that destitute and helpless orphans can suffer. Take all the circumstances together, I do not believe that a fouler murder was ever committed against the law than the murder of this woman by the law! Some who hear me are perhaps blaming the judges, the jury, and the hangman; but neither judge, jury nor hangman, are to blame; they are but ministerial agents: the true hangman is the member of Parliament. Here, here are the guilty; he who frames the bloody law is answerable for the bloody deed, for all the injustice, all the wretchedness, all the sin, that proceed from it!
48. ON PARLIAMENTARY INNOVATIONS.
To calumniate innovation, and to decry it, is preposterous. Have there never been any innovations on the Constitution? Can it be forgotten, for one moment, that all the advantages, civil and political, which we enjoy at this hour, are in reality the immediate and fortunate effects of innovation? It is by innovations that the English Constitution has grown and flourished. It is by innovations that the House of Commons has risen to importance. It was at different eras that the counties and towns were empowered to elect representatives. Even the office of Speaker was an innovation; for it was not heard of till the time of Richard the Second. What was more, the freedom of speech, now so highly valued, was an innovation; for there were times when no member dared to avow his sentiments, and when his head must have answered for the boldness of his tongue. To argue against innovations, is to argue against improvements of every kind. When the followers of Wickliffe maintained the cause of humanity and reasor.