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fail of being agitated at one time or another. I was willing to agitate such a question at the proper season, viz., that of the German war— my German war, they called it ! Every session I called out, Has any body any objection to the German war? Nobody would object to it, one gentleman only excepted, since removed to the Upper House by succession to an ancient barony [Lord Le Despencer, formerly Sir Francis Dashwood]. He told me he did not like a German war. I honored the man for it, and was sorry when he was turned out of his post. A great deal has been said without doors of the power, of the strength of America It is a topic that ought to be cautiously meddled with. In a good cause, on a sound bottom, the force of this country can crush America to atoms. I know the valor of your troops. I know the skill of your officers. There is not a company of foot that has served in America, out of which you may not pick a man of sufficient knowledge and experience to make a governor of a colony there. But on this ground, on the Stamp Act, which so many here will think a crying injustice, I am one who will lift up my hands against it. In such a cause, your success would be hazardous. America, if she fell, would fall like the strong man; she would embrace the pillars of the State, and pull down the Constitution along with her. Is this your boasted peace—not to sheathe the sword in its scabbard, but to sheathe it in the bowels of your countrymen P Willyou quarrel with yourselves, now the whole house of Bourbon is united against you; while France disturbs your fisheries in Newfoundland, embarrasses your slave trade to Africa, and withholds from your subjects in Canada their property stipulated by treaty; while the ransom for the Manillas is denied by Spain, and its gallant conqueror basely traduced into a mean plunderer; a gentleman [Colonel Draper] whose noble and generous spirit would do honor to the proudest grandee of the country? The Americans have not acted in all things with prudence and temper: they have been wronged : they have been driven to madness by injustice. Will you punish them for the madness you have occasioned? Rather let prudence and temper come first from this side. I will undertake for America that she will follow the example. There are two lines in a ballad of Prior's, of a man's behavior to his wife, so applicable to you and your colonies, that I can not help repeating them :
“Be to her faults a little blind;
Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the House what is my opinion. It is, that the Stamp Act be repealed absolutely, totally, and immediately. That the reason for the repeal be assigned, viz., because it was founded on an erroneous principle. At the same time, let the sovereign authority of this country over the colonies be asserted in as strong terms as can be devised, and be made to extend to every point of legislation whatsoever; that we may bind their trade, confine their manufactures, and exercise every power whatsoever, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their consent.
Notwithstanding the advice of Pitt, the government pushed on in its mad course. The Stamp Act had to be repealed; but accompanying the repeal was a declaration that Parliament had the power and the right “to bind the colonies and people of America in all cases whatsoever.” This was the very position that the Colonies had denied. It was not so much the tax as the right to tax that the Americans questioned. When the resolution reached the House of Peers, Lord Camden sustained the American view. He said: “My position is this, I repeat it—I will maintain to the last hour, taxation and representation are inseparable. This position is founded on the
law of nature. It is more, it is in itself an eternal law of nature. For whatever is a man's own is absolutely his own.
No man has a right to take it from him without his consent
either expressed by himself or his representative. Whoever attempts to do this attempts an injury. Whoever does it, commits a robbery.” Lord Mansfield, however, as we shall see, took the opposite ground, and the opposite ground prevailed. The consequence was that the Colonies were lost.
ON AN ADDRESS TO THE THRONE CONCERNING AFFAIRS IN AMERICA. HOUSE OF LORDS, November 18, 1777.
Though at the delivery of this speech Chatham had already entered upon his seventieth year, he seems to have been inspired with all the fire of his youth. It is by most critics regarded as his greatest effort. Chatham had abundant reason for an extraordinary affection for America, and, as he saw that a persistence in the mad course entered upon would inevitably result in a loss of the colonies, he brought all his powers to an advocacy of a treaty of peace on such terms as would at once save the colonies and the honor of the mother country. It is the only speech of Chatham, the report of which was corrected by himself and published with his approval.
I rise, my Lords, to declare my sentiments on this most solemn and serious subject. It has imposed a load upon my mind, which, I fear, nothing can remove, but which impels me to endeavor its alleviation, by a free and unreserved communication of my sentiments.
In the first part of the address, I have the honor of heartily concurring with the noble