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meant to be adhered to, in respect to America. He condemned, in terms equally explicit and unreserved, the measures which had compelled America to declare herself independent, though he was sorry for it, and thought she acted extremely wrong in so doing.”
The address was adopted as introduced.
In the address to the King from the House of Commons, moved by Neville, seconded by Hutton and supported by Wombwell, we read: “While we lament the continuance of the troubles which have so long distracted your Majesty's Colonies in North America, and of the calamities and oppressions which our unhappy fellowsubjects are still suffering under the arbitrary tyranny of their leaders ; we cannot forbear to express our detestation and abhorrence of the audacious and desperate spirit of ambition, which has at last carried those leaders so far, as to make them openly renounce all allegiance .
In the debate here, as well as in the House of Peers, many — among them General Conway — showed themselves, however, to be opposed to the Ministry.
An amendment, offered by Lord John Cavendish and seconded by the Marquis of Granby, proposed to strike out the first part of the address and insert : “Nor can we conceive that such an event . . . could have taken place without some errour in the conduct observed towards them..
Wilkes declared : “Much has been said, sir, of the prophecy of the Ministers, that the Americans would in the end declare themselves independent. I give the Ministers no credit for such a prophecy ... They might very safely promulgate such a prediction, when
they knew that the unjust and sanguinary measures which they intended to pursue, must bring about the event. They drove the Americans into their present state of independency. The Jesuits in France risked nothing when they prophesied in 1610 the death of the best prince that ever reigned in Europe, within that year. Theirs was the sure word of prophecy. They employed Ravillac to assassinate their Sovereign ... This (declaring independence] was done with circumstances of spirit and courage, to which posterity will do justice. It was directly after the safe landing of your whole force ... I hope, and believe, you never will conquer the free spirit of the descendants of Englishmen, exerted in an honest cause. They honor and value the blessings of liberty.”
Governor Johnstone “ 21 said he was far from being pleased with the Americans for their declarations in favour of Independency, but he saw clearly that they were driven to the measure by our vigorous persecution of them. We had hired foreign troops to fight against them, and they had no other way of putting themselves on a footing with us, than by throwing off the yoke .. and inviting foreign aid to defend them. They had, he said, taken every possible means to avoid such a
Fox thought that “The Americans had done no more than the English had done against James the II.”
The Honorable Temple Luttrell and the Right Honorable T. Townshend approved of the act of the Colonists. The former said, “For his part, he construed this speech (the King's] an infamous, groundless libel
fabricated by a tyrannical faction, against some of the most valuable members of the British community, who, actuated by principles of justice and honour, were nobly contending on the other side of the Atlantick, for the dearest rights of mankind; and who, limiting their resistance to a redress of real and essential grievances, were falsely accused of having, from the beginning of this unhappy contest, had no other object in view than anarchy and independence.” The latter, speaking of the Declaration, expressed himself thus: “To say that the measures of last year did not tend to this end, seems to me absurd to the last degree ... There is, I think, one part of the speech which mentions a discovery of the original designs of the leaders of the Americans. In God's name, who made them leaders ? How came they to be so ? If you force men together by oppression, they will form into bodies, and choose leaders. Mr. Hancock 22 was a merchant of credit and opulence when this unhappy business first broke out. Men in that kind of situation are not very prone to a change of Government.”
“ The arrival of the declaration of independence” in France, Bancroft says, “gave more earnestness to the advice of Vergennes . [His] words . . . were sharp and penetrating ... but the young prince whose decision was invoked was too weak to lead in affairs of magnitude .. with the utmost firmness of will of which his feeble nature was capable, he was resolved that the peace of France should not be broken in his day. But deciding firmly against war (with Great Britain), he shunned the labor of further discussion; and indolently allowed
his ministers to aid the Americans ... the Marquis of Lafayette. · whispered his purpose of joining the Americans Besides disinterested and chivalrous volunteers, a crowd of selfish adventurers, officers who had been dropped from the French service under the reforms of Saint-Germain, and even Swiss and Germans, thronged Deane's apartments in quest of employment, and by large promises, sturdy importunity, or real or pretended recommendations from great men, wrung from him promiscuous engagements for high rank in the American army.”
Deane himself writes, from Paris, December ist: emigrations from Europe will be prodigious immediately
24 the establishment of American independency.”
But we must look still further. Bancroft tells us: “The civilized world had the deepest interest in the result: for it involved the reform of the British Parliament, the emancipation of Ireland, the disinthralment of the people of France, the awakening of the nations of Europe. Even Hungary stretched forward to hear from the distance the gladsome sound; the Italians 25 recalled their days of unity and might.” “In Spain, the interest in America was confined to the Court . . . the catholic king was averse to hostile measures; his chief minister wished not to raise up a republic on the western continent, but only to let England worry and exhaust herself by a long civil war.”
THE FIREWORKS OF 1776
N the very day the Declaration was adopted,
ies' of the declaration be (printed and] sent to? the several assemblies, conventions & committees or councils of safety and to the several commanding officers of the continental troops ..."
In pursuance of this order, Hancock, on the 5th, enclosed to the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania copy of the Declaration of Independence, which I am directed”, he says, “to request you will have proclaimed in your Colony in the way and manner which you shall judge best ... The important consequences flowing from the Declaration of Independence . . . will naturally suggest the propriety of proclaiming it in such a mode that the people may be universally informed of it.” Another copy he enclosed to the Convention of New Jersey. The next day, a similar letter was sent to the Convention of New York, to the Assembly of Massachusetts, to the Assembly of New Hampshire, to Governor Trumbull, to Governor Cooke, to Washington and to General Ward. The letter to Maryland and the letter to Virginia were dated the 8th.