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It was very true, that this kingdom was not in a
flourishing state, it was impoverished by war. But if we were not
rich, it was evident that France was poor. If we were straitened in our
finances, the enemy were exhausted in their resources. This was a great
empire; it abounded with brave men, who were able and willing to fight
in a common cause; the language of humiliation should not, therefore, be
the language of Great Britain. His lordship said, that he was not afraid
nor ashamed of those expressions going to America. There were numbers,
great numbers there, who were of the same way of thinking, in respect
to that country being dependent on this, and who, with his lordship,
perceived ruin and independence linked together."

Thus far the speech; on which I remark--That his lordship is a total
stranger to the mind and sentiments of America; that he has wrapped
himself up in fond delusion, that something less than independence, may,
under his administration, be accepted; and he wishes himself sent to
Congress, to prove the most extraordinary of all doctrines, which is,
that independence, the sublimest of all human conditions, is loss of
liberty.

In answer to which we may say, that in order to know what the contrary
word dependence means, we have only to look back to those years of
severe humiliation, when the mildest of all petitions could obtain no
other notice than the haughtiest of all insults; and when the base
terms of unconditional submission were demanded, or undistinguishable
destruction threatened. It is nothing to us that the ministry have been
changed, for they may be changed again. The guilt of a government is
the crime of a whole country; and the nation that can, though but for
a moment, think and act as England has done, can never afterwards be
believed or trusted. There are cases in which it is as impossible to
restore character to life, as it is to recover the dead. It is a phoenix
that can expire but once, and from whose ashes there is no resurrection.
Some offences are of such a slight composition, that they reach no
further than the temper, and are created or cured by a thought. But the
sin of England has struck the heart of America, and nature has not left
in our power to say we can forgive.

Your lordship wishes for an opportunity to plead before Congress the
cause of England and America, and to save, as you say, both from ruin.

That the country, which, for more than seven years has sought our
destruction, should now cringe to solicit our protection, is adding the
wretchedness of disgrace to the misery of disappointment; and if England
has the least spark of supposed honor left, that spark must be darkened
by asking, and extinguished by receiving, the smallest favor from
America; for the criminal who owes his life to the grace and mercy of
the injured, is more executed by living, than he who dies.

But a thousand pleadings, even from your lordship, can have no effect.
Honor, interest, and every sensation of the heart, would plead against
you. We are a people who think not as you think; and what is equally
true, you cannot feel as we feel. The situations of the two countries
are exceedingly different. Ours has been the seat of war; yours has seen
nothing of it. The most wanton destruction has been committed in our
sight; the most insolent barbarity has been acted on our feelings. We
can look round and see the remains of burnt and destroyed houses, once
the fair fruit of hard industry, and now the striking monuments of
British brutality. We walk over the dead whom we loved, in every part of
America, and remember by whom they fell. There is scarcely a village but
brings to life some melancholy thought, and reminds us of what we have
suffered, and of those we have lost by the inhumanity of Britain. A
thousand images arise to us, which, from situation, you cannot see, and
are accompanied by as many ideas which you cannot know; and therefore
your supposed system of reasoning would apply to nothing, and all your
expectations die of themselves.

The question whether England shall accede to the independence of
America, and which your lordship says is to undergo a parliamentary
discussion, is so very simple, and composed of so few cases, that it
scarcely needs a debate.

It is the only way out of an expensive and ruinous war, which has no
object, and without which acknowledgment there can be no peace.

But your lordship says, the sun of Great Britain will set whenever she
acknowledges the independence of America.--Whereas the metaphor would
have been strictly just, to have left the sun wholly out of the figure,
and have ascribed her not acknowledging it to the influence of the moon.

But the expression, if true, is the greatest confession of disgrace
that could be made, and furnishes America with the highest notions of
sovereign independent importance. Mr. Wedderburne, about the year 1776,
made use of an idea of much the same kind,--Relinquish America! says
he--What is it but to desire a giant to shrink spontaneously into a
dwarf.

Alas! are those people who call themselves Englishmen, of so little
internal consequence, that when America is gone, or shuts her eyes
upon them, their sun is set, they can shine no more, but grope about in
obscurity, and contract into insignificant animals? Was America, then,
the giant of the empire, and England only her dwarf in waiting! Is the
case so strangely altered, that those who once thought we could not live
without them, are now brought to declare that they cannot exist without
us? Will they tell to the world, and that from their first minister of
state, that America is their all in all; that it is by her importance
only that they can live, and breathe, and have a being? Will they, who
long since threatened to bring us to their feet, bow themselves to
ours, and own that without us they are not a nation? Are they become so
unqualified to debate on independence, that they have lost all idea of
it themselves, and are calling to the rocks and mountains of America to
cover their insignificance? Or, if America is lost, is it manly to sob
over it like a child for its rattle, and invite the laughter of the
world by declarations of disgrace? Surely, a more consistent line of
conduct would be to bear it without complaint; and to show that England,
without America, can preserve her independence, and a suitable rank with
other European powers. You were not contented while you had her, and to
weep for her now is childish.

But Lord Shelburne thinks something may yet be done. What that something
is, or how it is to be accomplished, is a matter in obscurity. By arms
there is no hope. The experience of nearly eight years, with the expense
of an hundred million pounds sterling, and the loss of two armies,
must positively decide that point. Besides, the British have lost their
interest in America with the disaffected. Every part of it has been
tried. There is no new scene left for delusion: and the thousands
who have been ruined by adhering to them, and have now to quit the
settlements which they had acquired, and be conveyed like transports to
cultivate the deserts of Augustine and Nova Scotia, has put an end to
all further expectations of aid.

If you cast your eyes on the people of England, what have they
to console themselves with for the millions expended? Or, what
encouragement is there left to continue throwing good money after bad?
America can carry on the war for ten years longer, and all the charges
of government included, for less than you can defray the charges of war
and government for one year. And I, who know both countries, know well,
that the people of America can afford to pay their share of the expense
much better than the people of England can. Besides, it is their own
estates and property, their own rights, liberties and government, that
they are defending; and were they not to do it, they would deserve to
lose all, and none would pity them. The fault would be their own, and
their punishment just.

The British army in America care not how long the war lasts. They enjoy
an easy and indolent life. They fatten on the folly of one country and
the spoils of another; and, between their plunder and their prey, may go
home rich. But the case is very different with the laboring farmer, the
working tradesman, and the necessitous poor in England, the sweat of
whose brow goes day after day to feed, in prodigality and sloth, the
army that is robbing both them and us. Removed from the eye of that
country that supports them, and distant from the government that employs
them, they cut and carve for themselves, and there is none to call them
to account.

But England will be ruined, says Lord Shelburne, if America is
independent.

Then I say, is England already ruined, for America is already
independent: and if Lord Shelburne will not allow this, he immediately
denies the fact which he infers. Besides, to make England the mere
creature of America, is paying too great a compliment to us, and too
little to himself.

But the declaration is a rhapsody of inconsistency. For to say, as Lord
Shelburne has numberless times said, that the war against America is
ruinous, and yet to continue the prosecution of that ruinous war for
the purpose of avoiding ruin, is a language which cannot be understood.
Neither is it possible to see how the independence of America is to
accomplish the ruin of England after the war is over, and yet not affect
it before. America cannot be more independent of her, nor a greater
enemy to her, hereafter than she now is; nor can England derive less
advantages from her than at present: why then is ruin to follow in the
best state of the case, and not in the worst? And if not in the worst,
why is it to follow at all?

That a nation is to be ruined by peace and commerce, and fourteen or
fifteen millions a-year less expenses than before, is a new doctrine in
politics. We have heard much clamor of national savings and economy; but
surely the true economy would be, to save the whole charge of a silly,
foolish, and headstrong war; because, compared with this, all other
retrenchments are baubles and trifles.

But is it possible that Lord Shelburne can be serious in supposing that
the least advantage can be obtained by arms, or that any advantage can
be equal to the expense or the danger of attempting it?



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