the

HISTORYCHPEUROPE

molt eager expectation. Nor was the aflonilhment lefs within doors. From fome perplexity in its con- firuclion, and obfcurity in the words, the extent or drift of the mo- tion was not immediately compre- hended. The courtiers looked at each other with amazement, and feemed at a lofsin what light to confider the miniller. That nu- merous high prerogative party, who always loved a ftrong government, in whatever hands it might be lodged, and accordingly had, upon principle, ever oppofed any relaxa- tion in favour of the colonies, heard propofitions with horror, and confidered themfelves as abandoned and betrayed. Even fome of the old {launch friends of government, who had always gone with every adminillration, and uniformly pur- fued the fame line of conduct in all changes of men and meafures, be- gan now more than to waver. In a word, the treafury benches feemed to totter, and that minifierial pha- lanx, which had been f0 long ir- refillible, ready to break, and to fall into irretrievable diforder.

The oppofition to the miniller’s motion, accordingly originated on his own fide. They aiierted, that the propofitions contained in it, f0 far from being founded upon, were in direét oppofition to every prin- ciple and idea of the addrefs ; that by adopting it, they mull: give up every ground they had gone upon in the whole courfe of American meafures ; that it was a contradic- tion to all the acts and declarations of parliament; that even upon the principles of the gentlemen in op- pofition, (to whom it was intended as a means of paying court) it could be productive, of no good confe-

quence; but upon their own, would Vot. XVII]. 1775.

[*97 be attended with numberlefs bad ones; that the propofal was, in effect, an acknowledgment of (ome- tliing really grievous in the idea of taxing America by parliament; that it was therefore a ihameful pre- varication, and a mean departure from principle. They finally con- cluded, that they would make no conceffions to rebels with arms in their hands; and that they would enter into no meafure for a fettle- ment with the Americans, in which an exprefs and definitive acknow- ledgment from them, ofthe fupre- macy of parliament, was not a pre- liminary article. So high was the diilatisfaflion on this fide, that a motion was made for the chairman of the committee to quit the chair. The minifler was repeatedly called upon his legs, either to make ex- planations, or to endeavour to re- concile feeming contradicitions.

In this Ptate of diforder and con- fufion, when all government and command feemed at an end, it was found necelTary to change the ground of argument. This talk fell to the lot ofa gentleman of the long robe, who had been for fome years in op- pofition, and had lately diilinguifh- ed himfelf for his zeal in promoting all the rneafures for reducing the colonies. This learned gentleman undertook to interpret the fpeech and motion, and to prove that no- thing lefs was meant or eEeéted by either than a dereliction of the claims or right of parliament, or a yielding in any degree to the info- lence of the Americans; but, on the contrary, a more wife arui ef- fectual method of enforcing the rights of the one and reprefling the inlolence of the other. As the fpeech of the noble propofer had feemed chiefly addreflcd to the op-

[*G] polition,