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HistRevolV1_251-300.indd 1 3/16/12 11:48 AM C H A P T E R X I I Observations on the Conduct of the British Parliament, previous to the Capture of Burgoyne • The ineffectual Efforts of the Commissioners sent to America, in consequence of Lord North's Conciliatory Bill-Their Attempts to corrupt Individuals and Public Bodies • Negociation broken off • Manifesto published by the Commissioners • Counter Declaration by Congress • Sir William Howe repairs to England [59] While America gloried in her recent success against the northern CHAP. x11 army, and was making all possible preparations for vigorous action at 1 7 7 s the southward, the coercive system in Britain was so far from being relaxed, that the most severe measures were urged with bitterness and acrimony. The speeches of the king were in the same tone of despotism as formerly: the addresses of parliament were in the usual style of compliment and applause; as if they had little else to do, but to keep each other in good humor, until alienation was complete, and the colonies so far connected with other powers, that there could be no hope of reconciliation. But though a unison of sentiment, and a perfect conformity to the royal will, previous to [60] the news of Burgoyne's defeat, appeared in the majority of both houses of parliament, yet the measures of the ministry were, as usual, warmly opposed by some gentlemen of the first abilities in the nation. Several of the principal nobility were in the minority, and urged an accommodation before America should be irretrievably lost. It was recommended to the minister, "rather to forge bands of amity for the minds, than chains for the bodies of Americans." The present moment of uncertainty with regard to success, was urged as the proper season for giving the most unequivocal proofs of cordiality, by requesting his majesty to order a cessation of hostilities, and the immediate adoption of measures for accommodation .• • Debates in parliament, before the news of the termination of the northern campaign reached England. [See Cobbett, XIX: 1176-1199.] 251 HistRevolV1_251-300.indd 2 3/16/12 11:48 AM 252 W A R R E N ' S H I S T 0 R Y 0 F T H E R E V 0 L U T I 0 N CHAP. xn Mr. Fox, whose powers of oratory were the admiration of the world, 1 1 1 s not only reasoned against their measures, but ridiculed the ministry in the most pointed manner, for their ignorance of America from the outset of the controversy. He alleged, "that they had mistaken the extent of the thirteen colonies, and considered the Massachusetts as including the whole." Nor were they less mistaken in the weight of opposition they had to encounter. He observed, they had ever been blind to the consequences of their own measures, or they [61] never would have rejected the most dutiful and loyal petitions; more especially that presented by Mr. Penn, late governor of Pennsylvania, even after the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill.* He expatiated on the absurdity and injustice of the bill for transporting Americans to England for trial, the Quebec act, the restraining bill, the declaratory act, and the Boston port bill. All papers relative to America for three years past, were ordered to be laid before the house; and the state of the army, and the expenditures in the course of the war, loudly called for. But amidst the severe scrutiny of the house, the anxiety of the nation, the perseverance of the king, and the perplexity of the minister, all parties were thunderstruck by the arrival of the intelligence of Burgoyne's defeat, and the capture of the army at Saratoga. A general gloom overspread every countenance: the severest censures were cast on the late measures of administration; indignation burnt in the bosoms of those who opposed them: clamor raged without doors; asperity, sarcasm, and reproach, from the lip of truth within: and, notwithstanding his abilities and his firmness, the minister was distressed, the minority [62] increased, and opposition was strengthened . Lord Chatham rose with his usual energy, eloquence, and commanding spirit, and reprobated both the war and the mode of prosecuting it; and with vehemence and acrimony asserted, that a court system of wickedness had been adopted for the last fifteen years, subversive of all faith and confidence, tending to extinguish all principle in the different orders of the community; and that an ascendency...


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