History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 5

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
OPINION IN ENGLAND. BORDER WAR IN AMERICA.
JULY–NOVEMBER 1776.

IN England, when the demand of the Americans had changed from redress to independence, ninety-nine ont of one hnndred of their old well-wishers desired their subjection. While Germain attributed “infinite honor to the beloved and admired Lord Howe,” he strained after words to praise “the inborn courage and active spirit,” and youthful fire, and wise experience of General Howe, whom the king nominated a knight-companion of the order of the Bath. The cause of the Americans seeming now to be lost, Fox wrote to Rockingham: “It should be a point of honor among us all to support the American pretensions in adversity as much as we did in their prosperity, and never desert those who have acted unsuccessfully upon whig principles.”

The session of parliament was at hand; Rockingham, Burke, and their friends proposed to stay away from its meetings, assigning as their motive that their opposition did but exhibit their weakness, and so strengthened the ministry. Fox remonstrated: “I conjure you, over and over again, to consider the importance of the crisis; secession would be considered as running away from the conquerors, and giving up a cause which we think no longer tenable.” But the rebellion seemed in its last agony; they therefore kept aloof for the time, willing to step in on the side of mercy when the ministers should have beaten it down.

The king, as he opened parliament on the thirty-first of October, derived from the declaration of independence “the

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