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HistRevolV2_501-550.indd 11 3/16/12 12:00 PM CHAPTER X X I I I General Observations on the Conduct of the British King and Parliament, after the Intelligence ofthe Capture ofLord Comwallis and his Army • King's Speech • Address of Thanks opposed • Proposition by Sir Thomas Pitt to withhold Supplies from the Crown • Vote carried in Favor of granting Supplies • General Burgoyne defends the American Opposition to the Measures of the Court • Variety of desultory Circumstances discussed in Parliament [75] The close of the campaign in Virginia, in the year one thousand CHAP. xxm seven hundred and eighty-one, was an era interesting to the empire 1 7 8 1 of Britain, and indeed to the European world, as well as to the United States of America. The period was beheld by the latter with a mixture of pleasure and astonishment, more easily imagined than described; and by some of the former, especially Great Britain, with chagrin and mortification, equal to their designs of conquest and subjugation. The relief of the southern colonies, and the capture of lord Cornwallis and his army, was not less unexpected than humiliating, to the king, the minister, and the British nation at large; yet from their deportment there did not appear any immediate prospect of peace. [76] From the situation of American affairs at home, from the expected accession of new allies, and the general disposition of the European powers, to acknowledge the independence of the United States, and from their successes and their perseverance, it might rationally have been expected, that the contemplation of a general pacification among the contending powers, would at this time have originated in England: more especially when the expenses of the nation were calculated, and the misfortunes Great Britain had suffered during the war were considered. Her national enemies abroad were accumulating; discontents and riots at home increasing; the complaints of Scotland alarming; and Ireland nearly in a state of insurrection. But the pride, the spirit, and 511 HistRevolV2_501-550.indd 12 3/16/12 12:01 PM 512 W A R R E N ' S H l S T 0 R Y 0 F T H E R E V 0 L C T I 0 :'1 CHAP. xxm the resources of the nation, appeared almost inexhaustible; and the 1 7 s 1 stake of the colonies was too great to relinquish yet, though the ministry had hitherto played a losing game. Thus when the British parliament met, after the confirmation of the loss of the army in Virginia, the capture of lord Cornwallis and his brave troops, the total defeat of the expedition to the Chesapeake, and the declining aspect of affairs in the more southern colonies, the speech from the throne was yet manifestly dictated by the spirit of hostility. The king, though he [77] lamented in the preamble of his speech, the loss of his brave officers and troops, and the unfortunate termination of the campaign in Virginia, he still urged the most vigorous prosecution of the war, and of measures that might extinguish that spirit of rebellion that reigned in the colonies, and reduce his deluded subjects to due obedience to the laws and government of Great Britain. "The war," he observed, is still unhappily prolonged by that restless ambition which first excited our enemies to commence it, and which still continues to disappoint my earnest and diligent exertions to restore the public tranquillity. But I should not answer the trust committed to the sovereign of a free people, nor make a suitable return to my subjects for their constant and zealous attachment to my person, family, and government, if I consented to sacrifice, either to my own desire of peace, or to their temporary ease and relief, those essential rights and permanent interests, upon the maintenance of which, the future strength and security of this country must ever principally depend. The late accounts from America had in some measure weakened the influence of the ministry, and in proportion, strengthened the party who had always execrated the American war. [78] But administration , too much agitated by the desire of revenge, and too haughty and powerful to bend to terms of pacification, flattered themselves, that events had not yet fully ripened a general disposition for peace. Of course, the usual compliment of an address of thanks for the speech from the throne, was brought forward; but it was opposed with unusual acrimony. It was boldly asserted, that the speech breathed nothing but...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781614878742
Related ISBN
9780865970694
MARC Record
OCLC
597332904
Pages
821
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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