Revolutionary War History: Pre-war discussion in the British House of Commons

"The Americans are a degenerate race of Europeans; they have nothing of the soldier in them," was the customary language of men who were destined by their own defeats to illustrate the valor which they depreciated, and who learned too late to consider the Americans as a regenerated race of Europeans, in whom the energy of freemen more than supplied the mechanical expertness of severely-disciplined slaves. General Clarke. . declared in a company of learned men at London, and in the hearing of Dr. Franklin, that with a thousand British grenadiers he would undertake to march from one end of America to another. . Another general officer asserted in the House of Commons that "The Yankees (a foolish nickname which now began to be applied to the Americans) never felt bold."

The speeches of other military officers in Parliament, and of the prime minister, Lord North, conveyed ideas equally calculated to delude their countrymen and to inflame by contumely all the rage and courage which injustice and injury had already kindled in the Americans. "Believe me, my lords," said the Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, in the House of Peers, "the first sound of a cannon will send the Americans a-running as fast as their feet can carry them." Unfortunately for his country, he was believed.

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