Imatges de pÓgina
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be installed at Fort William, and all revenue and affairs of government be under a Secretary of State. Lord North described the conditions in June as a "wild unpleasant prospect of violence, fraud, faction in general Courts, collusive votes obtained and other enormities which required a control and regulation to put this commercial Company in a rich and flourishing state.” But neither he nor the British Parliament had any first-hand knowledge of the difficulties with which the men of India were struggling, and for a Minister of the House of Commons to speak of fraud and faction in others was the pot calling the kettle black.

A violent attack was made on Clive by the Bedford clan and others, but he defended his conduct admirably. But was the heat was intolerable, and the young men who had gone away to dinner and returned flushed with wine were impatient (Walpole), Burgoyne's resolutions that all acquisitions made under the influence of military force or by treaty with a foreign foe belong to the State, and that to appropriate such acquisitions is illegal, was passed. Lord North, standing apart from party, refused to take advantage of the vote.

In Committee on April 27, Lord North had made a proposal which he hoped would be wholly to the advantage of the Company: it was to allow them to export such part of the teas at present in their warehouses, some seventeen million pounds, direct to Ireland or America, as they should think proper, the duty of a shilling a pound payable in England to be given up, and threepence in the pound to be paid by the buyer. It was expected that this would help to meet the Dutch competition and help to destroy the smuggling trade. But they had reckoned without the power of the smugglers.

A great quantity of tea was sent by the East India Company to the various ports of America, the Company rather foolishly avoiding the middle man through whom their goods had hitherto been carried on, and acting by their own agents. The smuggling interest and the Dutch competitors were prepared to resist the invasion. In Boston harbour in December, 1774, a band of smugglers, disguised as Mohawk Indians, led by two “patriots,” Samuel Adams and John Hancock, boarded the Company's ship, broke open 342 chests of tea, and threw it into the sea. Following this patriotic example, the tea at the other ports was destroyed, or not allowed to land. Then followed the War of Independence.

CHAPTER XIV

THE AMERICAN WAR

i. The Causes of Quarrel and the Theories behind Them.After such outrages a strong assertion of the authority of the mother country was necessary, if the colonies were to remain part of the Empire ; they were already threatening to call in foreign assistance.

A new Parliament met on November 29, 1774. The opposition called loudly for a long delay while the colonies should be heard in their defence, and opposed the necessary increase of the forces and all measure for the support of loyalists on the ground that it would only convince the Americans of the inveteracy of the mother country against them, calling their behaviour “justifiable rebellion.” Their style of speech is exemplified in an attack on the joint address of both Houses to the King in February, 1775, which requested the ministry to take the most effectual measures to enforce obedience in America to the laws and authority of the supreme legislature, asking for additional forces for this purpose ; "both Houses, they said, were blindly entrapped to give their sanction to as sanguinary a scroll (in the form of an address) as was ever laid by a prostitute Senate at the feet of deluded Royalty.” (P.H., XVIII., 309.)

The ministers considered that the acts of the colonists spoke for themselves, rendering further argument or enquiry unnecessary. “The Americans,” said Lord North,“ have tarred and feathered your subjects, have plundered your merchants, have burnt your ships, denied all obedience to your laws and authority; yet so clement and forbearing has our conduct been that it is incumbent on us now to take a different course.” The time for argument had gone by. All the advices sent from the Governors of the different provinces told the same story.

Lord Dunmore, writing from Virginia to the Earl of Dartmouth in December, 1774, of the non-importation associations, says : “The associations first in part entered into, recommended by the people of this colony, and adopted by what is called the Continental Congress, are now enforcing throughout this country with the greatest rigour. A Committee has been chosen in every county, whose business it is to carry the association of the Congress into execution, which Committee assumes an authority to inspect the books, invoices and all other secrets of the trade and correspondence of merchants; to watch the conduct of every inhabitant without distinction; and to send for all such as come under their suspicion into their presence to interrogate them respecting all matters which at their pleasure they think fit objects of their enquiry ; and to stigmatize, as they term it, such as they find transgressing what they are now hardy enough to call the laws of the Congress; which stigmatizing is no other than inviting the vengeance of an outrageous and lawless mob to be exercised upon the unhappy victims.”

General Gage, a few days earlier, writes from Boston that all government and law were at an end. He calls for more troops. “Nothing that is said at present can palliate ; conciliating, moderation, reasoning, is over ; nothing can be done but by forcible means." Governor Bull writes from Charleston, South Carolina, in July : “ The spirit of opposition to taxation and its consequences is so violent and so universal throughout America, that I am apprehensive it will not be soon or easily appeased.” Lieut. Governor Colden, writing from New York, says: “However considerable the numbers may be who disapprove of violent riotous measures, yet the spirit of mobbing is so much abroad it is in the power of a few people at any time to raise a mob; and the gentlemen and men of property will not turn out to suppress them.” Governor Wentworth, of New Hampshire, reports many acts of violence and terrorism in that province and of the seizure of a fort. Captain Wallace writes from Rhode Island of the seizure of a number of cannon by the people, which act they very frankly told him they had done to prevent their falling into the hands of the king or any of his servants."

There is no value in reciting all the causes of irritation, such as Franklin's gross misuse of private letters in his capacity as Postmaster General, or the foolish revival by the British ministry of the Act 25 Henry VIII., all the fatuous pinpricks, the grossly insulting language and savage acts of violence which embittered the quarrel. As an example, on September 1, 1774, a poster was stuck upon the office doors of all the lawyers in Boston : “Anyone and everyone of the Bar that shall presume after this day to appear in Court or otherwise to do any business with the Judges shall assuredly suffer the pains of death.”

If it may be answered that this is only one side of a question to which there must be another; the reply is that this was the information received by His Majesty's ministers on which they must act, and that it was corroborated by deeds which the opposition called justifiable rebellion.

The American view of the historical past was, I think, very ably and honestly set out by Mr. Hartley, when putting forward some unlikely proposals for conciliation (P.H., XVIII., 355-60), showing how the whole quarrel rested on British monopoly of trade. The quarrel was of long standing. "I had early opportunity," says Governor Pownall (ibid. 322)

“ of seeing the commencement of this business. I was at the Congress held at Albany in 1754. I saw that a crisis of this nature was then taking its rise. I have in the course of my employment in that country, seen the progressive advance of it; the whole scope; therefore my conduct ... has been to advise such modes of policy as might prevent matters coming to the point at which they are now arrived."

There were two issues—a real and a purely technical one. The successive ministries consistently bungled the real issue, while the opposition put forward and insisted on the technical issue as the chief cause of dispute, with such success that it has passed into history as the reality. The real issue was the enforcement of the Navigation Acts for the benefit of British trade. The ill-judged severity which had disturbed the roundabout trade between the different colonies of the mainland, the West India Islands, the Spanish Main, the East Indies, the European countries and Africa, by the strict enforcement of these laws was the great cause which brought about the Revolution. No political party in Britain appears to have realized that the effect of the Seven Years' War had been to extend so widely the commerce of the islands all over the world that the complications of trade rendered the strict enforcement of the Navigation Acts an irritating nullity. It was accompanied by such smuggling that Governor Colden, writing from New York in December, 1774, says : “Smuggling is such a business among us as to be publicly espoused by numbers and more strenuously advocated than the legal trade.” (P.H., XVIII., 128).

The war itself had been a time when this illicit free trade had asserted itself everywhere successfully. For instance, when, in 1762, France ceded to Spain part of Louisiana, the Spaniards complained of the close neighbourhood of the English, for “ Ils s'occupent de l'établissement d'un commerce interlope immense, sur les côtes du nouveau et du vieux Mexique.” (Rousseau, II.) After Havana was returned to Spain in 1763 the British had no rights of trade there ; but, says Rousseau, “à la Havane l’Espagne n'envoyait ordinairement, par an, que deux vaisseaux, et les droits perçus, à l'entrée et à la sortie des marchandises, ne dépassaient pas 30,000 piastres. Lorsque les Anglais se furent emparés de ce port, il y entra, dans l'espace d'une année, neuf cent soixante bâtiments marchands de leur marine et les droits perçus dépassèrent 400,000 piastres fortes” (ibid., II., 24). Aux environs de Buenos Aires, l'interlope s'élevait à trente millions de livres par an, dont le profit passait en entier aux Anglais.

The issue was whether, in the face of the violence of the colonials, the commercial system could be modified, so as to permit the colonies to share in the advantages of British trade, while protecting that trade from foreign competition. A difficulty at once arose at home from the position of Ireland. Lord Townshend, declaring that the resolutions of the American Congress condemning those Acts showed that the views of America were immediately directed to the total overthrow of that Great Palladium of British Commerce, the Act of Navigation, urges that if it is to be destroyed and trade allowed to flow in what was called its natural channels, Ireland was much better entitled to it than America. (P.H., XVIII., 166.)

The Whig opposition throughout appear to have approved without change of the Navigation Laws, failing, or not wishing,

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