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Watson, Brook (1735-1807) to Joshua Mauger

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03902.004 Author/Creator: Watson, Brook (1735-1807) Place Written: London, England Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 19 December 1765 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 23.5 x 19 cm.

Discusses business matters. Reports at length on his talk with Lord Halifax about the Stamp Act and the situation in America. Provides a view into the British debate over handling the discord in the American colonies in such a way that will both "appease the Americans and preserve the honor of Parliament." Comments on the arguments over a measure to force America to submit to English law made by George Grenville, Lord Sandwich (who is quoted), and others, which was later withdrawn. Mentions the fear that France might interfere. Mentions the actions of the Duke of Grafton and Mr. Pitt, who was an associate of Watson's, and Lord Rockingham. Also mentions Lord Rockingham, who was a member of the current ministry. Watson was a member of Parliament. Mauger was a merchant with business interests in British Nova Scotia.

… Mr. Pitt about ten days ago wrote Thos Nuttal Esqr … that notwithstanding Lord Temples determination to Opose [sic] the measures of the present Ministry, he was determin'd at this Critical Conjuncture to Act a Contrary part and tho' he wou'd not be Minister, yet he would Accept a place, and adopt the measures of the present Ministry so far as he had been consistant with his Advise to them; Mr Nuttall showd this letter to a Gentleman who Immidiatly [sic] made the Contents known to the Duke of Grafton, the Duke sent to Mr Nuttall desiring him To speak with him Immidiatly, which Nuttall wisely declin'd untill such time as he had receiv'd Mr Pitts Advise how to Act on the Occasion, this obtain'd he waited on his Grace, not to show but excuse him self from showing said letters, which greatly disconcerted the present ministry as they had plum'd themselves on being suppored on the oping fo the Parliament by that great Patriarch, the oposition finding it otherwise, thought them selves sure of Beating the Ministry in both Houses, the subject was on the Kings Speech and the Adress to the Throen on the Occasion, the Ministry as usual had prepaird the Adress, which was mov'd for in the House [of] Lords by Lord Rockingham, and in the Commons by Lord Palmerston, the Oposition in the House of Lords was the Duke of Bedford, Lords Temple, Halifax, Sandwich and all that Party, they mov'd for an addition to the Address moved for by Lord Rockingham and the Ministry, many Learned Arguments was us'd on the Occasion, wch was to Intimate the Resolution of that House to compel the Americans to an Immidate submission to those Laws enacted by them the Ministry said ti was necessary for the House to made thoroughly Acquainted with the situation of Affairs in America before the proceeded on that business, to which end his Majesty had most graciously to lay before them all papers and matters relative thereto, after long debates wch lasted till 8 oClock, Lord Sandwich got up and in a learnedly Eligant Speech, told the House, "that he was sorry to see debates run so high on a subject wch he humbly conceiv'd con'd answer to purpose, that he spoke more freely on that Ocasion that he shoud otherwaise [sic] have done, knowing that his old and worth Friends in the late [ministry], and his Noble Generous friend in the present Ministry woud attend untill he shoud in few word[s] summ up what had been said on both sides the question and thence deduced the Consiquences, which he had done he told the old party that if the amendment they proposed coud answer any good purpose, he was persuaded his friends on the oposit side woud readily Admit it which he humbly thought they might do without loosing ground as Ministers, but on the other hand, as he hoped the Lord who made the motion for the amendment woud from what had been said he convinced, that he might with draw it without weakening the party he supported, and that the [party] supporting it coud only tend to produce Contention in the House at a time when it required their united deliberations for the Publick safety, so he hoped his Lordship woud withdraw the same" - On which the Lord who mov'd or the Amendment Cry'd Agreed I withdraw my motion Lord Sandwich weakly insirted on dividing the House, which was accordingly done and the Number were 80 for the Address to 24 against it.

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