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they should be in concert, and we ought to protect and CHAP, defend each other from attacks, like real friends: else, like CXLVother broken forces, we shall be put to the rout."
A few days after, Lord Camden added: — "I shall per- Jan. 7. sist to the last in giving my testimony against this pernicious 1776' war, though I neither expect success nor popular applause, but it will be no inconsiderable consolation to hear my name joined to your Grace's, let the event turn out as it may."
In the autumn of this year Lord Camden visited Ire- Lord Camland, where he had a daughter married to Mr. Stewart, the menu^n'" ancestor of the present Marquess of Londonderry. Thence he the Amerithus addressed the Duke of Grafton: "The colonies have ration of" now declared their independence. They Are Enemies In" War And Friends In Peace; and the two countries are fairly rent asunder. What then are we ?— mere friends or enemies to America. Friends to their rights and privileges as fellow-subjects, but not friends to their independence. This event does not surprise me: I foresaw it. The Ministers drove it on with a view of converting a tyrannical and oppressive invasion into a national and necessary war; and they have succeeded too well: and now I expect the opposition will be called upon to join with them in one cause, and we shall be summoned as Englishmen to unanimity. But if your Grace should see a French war to grow out of this civil dispute, which I expect and believe to be unavoidable, our provinces will then be leagued with our enemies in an offensive war against Great Britain. In such a situation a private man may retire, and lament the calamities which he endeavoured faithfully to prevent. But how can he give an active opposition to measures that selfpreservation will then stamp with necessity? I have but one line to pursue if I am to bear my part, and that is a reunion with America, almost at any rate. 'Si possis, recte: Si non, quoeunque modo.' But I do not expect the ministry, the parliament, or the nation, will adopt any such system. So that what with the general fear in some of incurring the popular odium, and in others of seizing this opportunity 'to make their fortunes by shifting their position,' according to
Lord Camden's despondence.
His exertions in parliament for reconciliation.
Nov. 15. 1777.
His defence of the Americans.
Lord Suffolk's phrase,— the minority next winter will dwindle to nothing."
In the beginning of 1777, he writes: "From politics, my dear Lord, I am almost entirely weaned. I cannot prevail upon myself to go with the tide, and I have no power to struggle against it. War must now decide the question between the two countries, both sides having too much offended to be ever forgiven. But hopeless as I am, I shall be always at your Grace's command, and ready to contribute my poor endeavours for the public. And yet I suspect I shall spend more time this year at the play-house and opera than the House of Lords."
Notwithstanding Lord Camden's despair, arising from the violent councils adopted by the government, and the passion for coercing the colonists which still prevailed in the nation, he nobly seconded Lord Chatham in all the efforts of that illustrious patriot to bring about a reconciliation between the mother country and the colonies. He spoke at great length in every debate upon America, and many of his speeches during this interval are preserved. But although they were most exciting when delivered, the interest of them has nearly died away, and I can only venture to give a few extracts from them to show their extraordinary merit.
In opposing the bill for cutting off commerce with the New England States which so soon led to hostilities, he said, "Some of your Lordships inform us that it is a bill of mercy and clemency, —Mnd and indulgent to the Americans, — calculated to soothe their feelings, and to favour their interests. But, my Lords, the true character of the bill is violent and hostile. My Lords, it is a bill of irritation and insult. It draws the sword, and in its necessary consequences plunges the empire into civil and unnatural war." *
On the Duke of Grafton's motion respecting the British forces in America, he said, "I was against this unnatural war from the beginning. I was against every measure that has reduced us to our present state of difficulty and distress. When it is insisted that we aim only to defend and enforce
* 18 Parl. Hist. 436.
our own rights, I positively deny it. I contend that America CHAP, has been driven by cruel necessity to defend her rights from CXLVthe united attacks of violence, oppression, and injustice. I affirm that America has been aggrieved. Perhaps, as a domineering Englishman wishing to enjoy the ideal benefit of such a claim, I might urge it with earnestness and endeavour to carry my point; but if, on the other hand, I resided in America—that I were to feel the effect of such manifest wrong, I should resist the attempt with that degree of ardour so daring a violation of what should be held dearer than life itself ought to enkindle in the breast of every freeman." * Speaking a second time in this same debate, after he had been loudly reproached for the violence of his language, he said: "Till I am fairly precluded from exercising my right as a Peer of this House, of declaring my sentiments openly, of discussing every subject- submitted to my consideration with freedom, I shall never be prevented from performing my duty by any threats, however warmly and eagerly supported or secretly suggested. I do assure your Lordships I am heartily tired of the ineffectual struggle I am engaged in. I would thank any of your Lordships that would procure a vote of your Lordships for silencing me; it would be a favour more grateful than any other it is in the power of your Lordships to bestow; but until that vote has received your Lordships sanction, I must still think, and, as often as occasion may require, continue to assert that Great Britain was the aggressor, that our acts with respect to America were oppressive, and that if I were an American I should resist to the last such manifest exertions of tyranny, violence, and injustice." f
Lord Camden, in his correspondence with the Duke of Lord ChatGrafton, afterwards gives an account of a serious illness of rensefess" Lord Chatham which was kept secret from the world, and from hi* seems to have been a prelude to the closing scene of his glorious career. In a P. S. to a letter, dated July 27. 1777, he says, "Since I wrote this I have received a melancholy
• 18 St. Tr. 947.
f lb. 954. See also 18 Pari. Hist. 36. 164. 209. 371. 292. 422. 436. 454. 656. 675. 811. 901. 953. 1222. 1278. 1284.; vol. lix. 337. 394. 625. 640. 652. 664. 738. 860.
CHAP, account of a stroke received to-day by Lord Chatham, as he _ was riding. He fell from his horse, and lay senseless for ten
minutes. The message to-night is, that he is very much recovered. Whether this was apoplectic, paralytic, or gout in the stomach, I cannot learn. I wish it may not prove fatal. The public has lost him, and I fear he and England will perish together."
Oct. 29. In a few weeks after he gives this statement of Lord Lord Chat- Chatham's recovery and of his plans: "I thought it better to ham's re- wait till I could give you some satisfactory account of my hU plans" neighbour, Lord Chatham's health, and his intentions at the opening of parliament. If your Grace thinks as I do that the Earl's recovery may, upon some possible event, give a new turn to public affairs, you will not be sorry to hear that he is now (though it seems almost miraculous), in bodily health and in mental vigour, as equal to a strenuous exertion of his faculties as I have known him these seven years. His intention is to oppose the address, and declare his opinion very directly against the war, and to advise the recalling the troops, and then propose terms of accommodation wherein he would be very liberal and indulgent, with only one reserve and exception, viz. that of subjection to the mother country: for he never could bring himself to subscribe to the independence of America. This, in general, will be his line, and this he will pursue if he is alone. I should imagine your Grace would have no objection to concur with this plan, though it is certain before hand that all the breath will be wasted, and the advice overruled by numbers. Yet it would be right to stand firm upon the same ground, and not depart an inch from our steady purpose of opposing this war for ever. Thus much I thought it my duty to impart to your Grace. For my own part, I still continue in the same state of despondency, hoping nothing and fearing every thing." Death of On the memorable 7th of April, 1778, when Lord Chatham Lord Chat. feli senseless on the floor of the House of Lords in a dying effort to save his country, Lord Camden who was prepared to follow him in the debate, immediately ran to his relief and joined in the vote of adjournment to which the House immediately came. A few days after, in a letter to the Duke of Grafton, he wrote the following account—the most graphic CHAP, and the most authentic extant—of that solemn scene: 'x I N •
"April, 1778, N. B. Street
"My dear Lord,
"I cannot help considering the little illness which pre- His letter vented your Grace from attending the House of Lords last acemfnt of Tuesday to have been a piece of good fortune, as it kept you this event, back from a scene that would have overwhelmed you with grief and melancholy, as it did me and many others that were present: I mean Lord Chatham's fit, that seized him as he was attempting to rise and reply to the Duke of Richmond; he fell back upon his seat, and was to all appearance in the agonies of death. This threw the whole House into confusion; every person was upon his legs in a moment, hurrying from one place to another, some sending for assistance, others producing salts, and others reviving spirits. Many crowding about the Earl to observe his countenance — all affected — most part really concerned; and even those who might have felt a secret pleasure at the accident, yet put on the appearance of distress, except only the Earl of M.*, who sat still, almost as much unmoved as the senseless body itself. Dr. Brocklesby was the first physician that came; but Dr. Addington in about an hour was brought to him. He was carried into the Prince's chamber, and laid upon the table supported by pillows. The first motion of life that appeared was an endeavour to vomit, and after he had discharged the load from his stomach that probably brought on the seizure, he revived fast. Mr. Strutt prepared an apartment for him at his house, where he was carried as soon as he could with safety be removed. He slept remarkably well, and was quite recovered yesterday, though he continued in bed. I have not heard how he is to-day, but will keep my letter open till the evening, that your Grace may be informed how he goes on. I saw him in the Prince's chamber before he went into the House, and conversed a little with him, but such was the
* It appears by the Journals that there were only two Earls bearing titles beginning with an M. present that day — the Earl of Marchmont and the Earl of Mansfield. I am much afraid that the latter is alluded to.
VOL. V. X