Page:The Hessians and the other German auxiliaries of Great Britain in the revolutionary war.djvu/39

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.





Chapter III.


THE TREATIES BEFORE PARLIAMENT.


The aggressive or apologetic tone of the ministers of German despots was of little importance, when once the course of their masters had been determined on. The impassioned protest of a young German poet or of a French pamphleteer could hardly be reckoned among political forces. The King of Prussia, whose word might have been law in the matter of letting-out German soldiers for foreign service, preferred to sneer rather than to command. But in the Parliament of Great Britain the treaties between the King of England and the mercenary princes were discussed by responsible ministers of the crown on the one side, and by statesmen, some of whom might one day be called to power, on the other. It is true that the majority which supported the administration was so overwhelming that the opposition could not hope soon to overthrow it. But there can be little doubt that if the greater number of votes in Parliament was in 1776 on the Tory side, the weight of intellect was as decidedly with the Whigs.

On February 29, 1776, Lord North moved that the treaties entered into between His Majesty and the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, the Duke of Brunswick, and the hereditary Prince of Hesse-Cassel, be re-