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and inefficient parade: and the lives, treasure and time of the enemy, were wasted to no purpose. They had vainly threats ened to drive us to the last trial, a contention for our all, to oblige us to defend our altars and our firesides, which if they had attempted, the firm countenance of our army, the undaunted resolution of our militia and those patriotic individuals who stepped forth and manifested a zeal and alacrity scarcely paralleled in any former period of our history, followed by the liberal contributions made by several respectable bodies of men, afforded every rational ground, that we should have triumphed over our foes; and that the rashness and audacity of the attempt, would be equalled only by the succession of defeats and disgraces which would have followed.
For his part, he confessed he was one of those, however paradoxical it might appear, who sincerely wished, that the enemy had landed. Thoroughly satisfied, that opposed by a brave and well disciplined militia commanded by men who had the first interest in the preservation of this country, the invaders must, in his opinion, have met with repeated defeats, which would probably have terminated in total destruction or captivity.
Upon the whole, when he considered that our trade had been protected from the ravages and depredations of a most formidable confederacy of power, combined for the purposes of injustice and restless ambition; that the intentions of invading this island had been frustrated; and the most powerful armaments our combined enemies were able to send forth to terrify or molest us, had been baffled, he could not but be persuaded that the event of the campaign, all circumstances considered, was clearly in our favour.
As to Ireland, he did not doubt, but such relief would be given to that country, as its state and present distresses particularly called for, and such as our own immediate situation would permit. The interest of both nations, he had every reason to believe, would be discussed with temper and candour; for though a violent mob had recently acted in a riotous manner in Dublin, he trusted and was firmly persuaded, that such illegal and unwarrantable proceedings had not met with the least encouragement or countenance, from the gentlemen of property, real influence, or character in Ireland. He could not bring himself to suppose even for a moment, that the people of that kingdom, who had uniformly, for a great length of time, conducted themselves in
so commendable a manner, and had given so many repeated proofs of their affection and good-will fer this country, would take an advantage of its distressed situation. Extremities he hoped were not wished for by either nation; the good nature of this country, the generosity of that, and the wisdom of both, would, he flattered himself, prevent them.
The subject of unanimity was too trite he found to be handled by him, or pressed on the House in any new form. But, as he was persuaded our situation was such, that unanimity was our greatest and best resource, the only true basis, on which every prosperous measure in future could be built; he could not help strenuously and warmly recommending it to gentlemen on every side of the House. He hoped and trusted, that they could bury their dissentions in the general good; and make the most vigorous exertions, in order to advance the public service, at a time, that every head, and every heart, should be united, to avert the danger with which the Empire was threatened: His Lordship therefore moved the following address,
Most gracious Sovereign,
We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, beg leave to return your Majesty the thanks of this House, for your most gracious speech from the throne.
We are truly sensible that in the present arduous situation of affairs, we are called upon by every principle and every sentiment of duty to your Majesty, and to those we represent, to exert and to unite our utmost efforts in the support and defence of our country against a most unjust war, and one of the most dangerous confederacies that was ever formed against the crown and people of Great Britain.
We see and revere the goodness of Divine Providence, in frustrating and disappointing the designs of our enemies to invade this kingdom: and whenever they attempt to carry their menaces into execution, we trust that their attacks will be repelled, and their enterprize defeated, by the blessing of the same Providence on the valour and intrepidity of your Majesty's fleets and armies; and that your Majesty's gracious and endearing declaration of your confidence in the character and courage of your people will be justified, by the most convincing proofs, that they are still animated by
the same ardour, and the same spirit, that have in former times carried this nation through so many difficulties and dangers, and have so often enabled their ancestors to protect their country and all its dominions, and to save not only their own rights, but the liberties of other free states, from the restless ambition and encroaching power of the house of Bourbon.
We acknowledge, with thankfulness, your Majesty's goodness and attention to the address of this House, respecting your loyal and faithful kingdom of Ireland, in being pleased to order such papers to be communicated to this House, as may assist our deliberations on this important business and we beg leave to assure your Majesty, that we will not fail to take into our consideration what further benefits and advantages may be extended to that kingdom by such regulations, and such methods, as may most effectually promote the common strength, wealth, and interests of all your dominions.
Permit us, Sir, to return our humble thanks to your Majesty, for the gracious manner in which your Majesty renews and confirms your intire approbation of the good conduct and steady discipline of the national militia; and to assure your Majesty, that we concur most sincerely with your Majesty, in acknowledging and applauding the meritorious zeal and services of those loyal subjects who stood forth in the hour of danger, and who have added confidence, as well as strength, to the national defence.
Your Majesty's faithful Commons receive with gratitude, and take a sincere part in, your Majesty's paternal expressions of concern, that the various and extensive services and operations of the ensuing year must unavoidably be attended with great and heavy expences: yet, when it is considered how much the commerce, the prosperity, and the safety, of Great Britain depend on the issue of this contest, we doubt not that such powerful considerations and motives will induce all your Majesty's subjects to sustain, with cheerfulness and magnanimity, whatever burthens shall be found necessary, for raising such supplies as may enable your Majesty to prosecute the war with vigour and effect, and to make every exertion, in order to compel your enemies tq listen to equitable terms of peace and accommodation.
Lord Parker seconded the motion, and in a few words, which he delivered in a very low voice, observed, that is
we had not any brilliant successes, for which we could congratulate his Majesty, we had, in the course of the last campaign, acquired many solid advantages, for which we had reason to rejoice. A dreadful invasion had been threatened; but, though the enemy had insulted our coasts, they had clearly indicated by their retreat, that they had but very slender hopes of success, in the event of a debarkation. Our coasts had been protected from ravage, by the good condition and judicious disposition of our army; no impression was attempted to be made on our coasts, and our trade had been conducted safe into port, in spite of the boasted superiority of the House of Bourbon.
These advantages he did not deem inconsiderable; nor did it in the least alter their value in his opinion, that they were not brilliant, nor accompanied with eclat; but while he was thankful to Providence, for the blessings and advantages already received, he earnestly exhorted the House to unanimity; hoping it would concur in the motion made by his Noble Friend, and give that degree of support to the Crown and its Ministers, as would enable his Majesty to humble his enemies, to compel them to consent to measures of equity and justice, restore the national tranquillity, and render his subjects happy. With this view solely, he thought it his duty to give his hearty assent to the Address moved by the Noble Lord.
Lord John Cavendish observed, that little as he was pleased with the speech from the Throne, there was however one part of it,which he could not but approve. His Majesty had mentioned Divine Providence, as a great ally, that had contributed much to our preservation. The thing was right, but his Majesty might have ventured a little further, and have given Providence more credit; for in his opinion, it was to Providence, and nothing else, we owed our salvation. With a fleet very much inferior, a defenceless coast, and an exhausted treasury, we must have fallen a prey to our combined enemies, if they had thought proper to attack us. Our Ministers supine, negligent, and divided; Plymouth naked in point of actual defence, or troops to man the defences, such as they were; what had we a right to expect but destruction. Providence however interposed, and the danger blew over. Providence, not ministers, therefore ought to have the merit. We had lived to see, notwithstanding this miraculous interposition, and to the
present Administration we owed, the shameful and ignominious sight of a British fleet flying from the enemy; and abandoning a naked coast to their insults. This, he would be bound to maintain, was the first time such a disgrace had happened to us, and defied Administration to point out a period, when the enemy rode triumphant and without opposition in the British channel.
His Lordship was astonished at the King's silence, on a topic of all others the most interesting, it having been the source of all our present calamities. He meant the American war. He desired to know from some one or other of the Ministers present, if it was not of consequence to the nation to be informed of the state and condition of that country? whether it was to be totally abandoned, or whether we had in that part of the world any rational prospect of a successful termination to that cruel, impolitic, and expensive war? That accursed war had already cost the nation many millions, and many thousand lives; yet, America was not once mentioned in the speech; unless his Majesty included it in all my dominions," a person might be tempted to conclude, that by totally omitting or rather avoiding any mention of the colonies, his Majesty meant to renounce his sovereignty over
The disposal of the army at home, called for his highest and most marked disapprobation. Enormous sums had been voted for it, and expended without the least appearance of economy, or frugality, and, instead of detaching part of it to act with vigour against the enemy, the whole enormous machine was kept idle and inactive at home. The modelling of the army was as scandalous as it was unjust. The experienced veteran was obliged to make way for the raw subaltern, who had more friends or fortune, than merit or claim from long service, to recommend him. Thus murmurings, jealousies, and grievances were created, among those who were fighting the battles of their country, and undergoing all the fatigues and perils of war, who ought not to have their attention diverted from their duty, by the misconduct of Ministers heaping injuries upon them, which are generally resented, as it may be presumed, by persons who, from their habits and profession, have a quick sense of honour, and are impatient of rect indignity offered to them, either in their individual or professional character.