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guished their proceedings. Theý also cotitended thar this measure would establim a molt pernicious prece: dent, as it would neceffarily follow, that every petiti: on from whatever quarter of the globe, must be accoma panied by evidence to establisi its authenticity. They observed, that improper questions might be asked Mr Penn, which might draw from him what might tend to prejudice him with respect to his private for cune and affairs in America ; that his evidence-inight have the fame effect with respect to others who were friends to government in America, and who, by a pubo lic exposure of their private conduct in its favcůr, would be liable to perforial danger, and ruin to their fortunes.
These trifling objections were all answer ed in such a manner, that none of the ministerialifts could make a reply, but the motion was rejected by a majority of 36 to 22. The nobleman who made the motion, and who is remarkable for his perseverence, made another, that Mr Penn be examined at the bat the next day. Tho' this motion could 'nor decently be refused, yet so disagrecable was every species of enquiry to the ministry, that another debate arose upon it; but it was at length agreed that he should be examined, at a tiine appointed, which was the icth of December.
Many curious particulars came out in the examina tion of Mr Penn, which government would have defired never to have been krown. He informed the House, in the most clear and distinct manner, of all the particulars concerning which he was interrogated, and spoke with an ingenuity that did him much hoa
He informed them concerning what the colo. nists intended to do, and what they did not, and to mong other things, declared that they had no inten
tion to attempt independency, unless they were driven to it by the violence of the mother country. He inade no hesitation in declaring the firength of his own province, and informed thein that she colony contained 60,000 men able to bear arms; that of these 20,000 had entered voluntarily to serve witha dụt pay, and were armed and embodied before his de: parture. Being alked concerning that volunteer force, he replied, that it included inen of the best fortune and character in the province, and that it was composed generally of men who were pollefied of property either landed or otherwife. That
That an ada ditional body of 4,500 minute-men had since been raised in the province, who were to be paid when called out to service. That they had the means and materials for casting iron cannon in great plenty; that they caft brass cannon in Philadelphia, and that they made finall arms in great abundance and perfection. He concealed nothing that might be of service to in. form this nation of what was hier interest and duty to observe concerning the colonies.
After the examination was finished, the Duke of Richmond, who had proposed it, made a motion for reconciliation with America upon the footing of the petition, which, after a long debate, was rejected by a large majority, and matters, left to proceed upon the ruinous plan upon which they had been liitherto carried on. It was easy to perctive that government was determined to pursue the fanguinary meafure of reducing the coloni's to unconditional fubmillion, in spite of all conviction of the impossibility thereof; for though alt conciliatory fchemes were rejected, the prohil itory at was brought in and supported with great zeal. 1 bis bill was a full proof of the lengths they intended to go, R
and fully shewed the extent of their purposes. This act totally forbade all trade and intercourse with the thirteen united colonies. All property belonging to the Americans, whether of ships or goods, on the highfea's, or in thoharbours, were declared forfeited to the caprors, being the officers and crews of his Majesty's ships of war; and several clauses of the bill were inserted, to facilitate and lefsen the expence of the condemnation of prizes, and the recovery of prize money.
There were feveral other clauses in this bill inconsistent with all the rules of policy and found judgment, which gave the Congress a fuffrcient handle in point of argument for proceeding to their act of independency. They were now thrown out of the King's protection, and made rebels and out-laws by a new act of parliament, which was confidered by them as inconsistent with the feveral laws of the constitution ; for which reafon it was argued, that the compact between the King and the people. being thereby diffolved by an act of the ruling powers, the people in the colonies were thereby freed from all obligations of obedience, and were again brought back to a state of nature. There appeared a real want of wisdom and justice in this prohibitory bill; for though they had yet no proof that the province of Georgia had acceded to the association, yet that province was included in the bill, and given up by au. thority of parliament to be plundered by every warfhip that should come upon the coast. But what was most barbarous and absurd in the restraining act was, that all thofe who should be taken on board any American vessels were indiscriminately to be compelled without distinction of persons to serve as common failors in our ships of war. This was a refinement in tyranny which was worse than death, and which the
most savage nations had never thought of nor practised. To make prisoners, who should have the misfortune to be taken in this plundering war, fight against their own families, kindred, and countrymen, , and after being plundered themselves, to become accomplices in plundering their brethren, was a stretch of cruelty beyond the invention of heathens, and could only be devised by Papists or Jacobites. This cruelty was still heightened by this dreadful circumstance, that these unhappy persons who were thus compelled were subject to the articles of war, and lịable to be shot for desertion. This devilish and tyrannical law resembled much the Scotch law of inquisition, by which the prisoner was squeezed or rack. ed with boots and thumbikins till he discovered all his friends or accomplices, and thereby was made the instrument of the ruin of those that were dearest to him, and whom he loved best. If ever any human creature hall, in any age of the world, attempt to vindicate or colour this law with the varnish of humanity, he must be, by all the friends of human nature, considered as allied to a rank of beings, who are strangers to every idea of mercy and benevolence. To be reduced to such a condition as this law supposes, is the last degree of wretchedness and indignity, to which human nature can be subjected. It obliged Englishmen to practise a cruelty unknown to the most favage nations.
Such a compulfion upon prisoners as this bill enforced, was never known to be practised in any case of war or rebellion ; and the only examples of this sort that can be produced, must be found amongst pirates, the out-laws and enemies of human fociety. The chicf author of this tyrannical law may easily be traced from a speech of a certain law lord, who declared while the bill was depending, That we
were not how to consider the questions of the original right or wrong, justice or injustice; we were now engaged in a war, and mult uië our utiñaft efforts to obe tain the ends proposed by it; we must fight or be pursued; and the justice of the cause must give way to our present filuation, To this he appied the la. conic fpeech of a Scotch soldier vi fortune in the feta vice of Guitavus Adolphus, who pointing to the enemy, füid to fis men, See you those lad? hillthein or they will kill you. Suctia
' a speech from one of the first judges of the nation, thews plainly what juice we may expect, provided our ju.jus do not protect us, The fivereli puuiihmen, that could be inflicted upon such an enemy to human nature, would be to confine hiin to be a perpetual witn. fs of supreme benevolence and philanthropy. Ii is fufficient to róuse the relentment of ail wlio have the finalett degree of humanitý iâ them to hear or read such a speech. It brings to the readers remembrance a speech which Milton into the mouth of one of his fallen angels: Evil, BE THOU MY GOOD,
The colonists who had hitherto deferred the pro. ject of independency, which was fuggested to them by the meafures of the parliament, were now driven to this ineasure by the violent proceedings that have been already mentioned. They found that they were now to be persecuted with all the vengeance that the government could inflict, and that while they remained in a state of dependence upon Great Britain, no mation could afford them any aslistance. They therefore came to a resolution to declare themselves independent states, and to renounce all allegiance to the British government, and all political connection with the mother country, in their declaration of inde