Who was the Earl of Sandwich?

During the Parlimentary assembly of 1775 there occured a remarkable scene. The petulant Earl of Sandwich said the proposition of Lord Chatham that the colonies ought to have less control by England deserved only contempt, and ought to be immediately rejected. He could not believe it was the work of a British peer, but of some American. Turning his face toward Franklin, who stood, leaning on the bar, he said: " I fancy I have in my eye the person who drew it up, one of the bitterest and most mischievous enemies this country has ever known." The eyes of the whole House were now fixed on Franklin, when Chatham arose and said, with emphasis, "The plan is entirely my own; but if I were the first minister, and had the care of settling this momentous business, I should not be ashamed of publicly calling to my assistance a person so perfectly acquainted with the whole American affairs--one whom all Europe ranks with our Boyles and Newtons, as an honor, not to the English nation only, but to human nature." Sandwich moved that the bill be "rejected now and forever," and it was done. This drew from Chatham a terrible storm of invective. He perceived the fixed intention of the ministry to enslave the Americans at all hazards. "I am not surprised," he said, " that men who hate liberty should detest those who prize it, or that those who want virtue themselves should persecute those who possess it. The whole of your political conduct has been one continual series of weakness and temerity, despotism, and the most notorious servility, incapacity, and corruption. I allow you one merit, a strict attention to your interests; in that view, who can wonder that you should put a negative on any measure which must deprive you of your places, and reduce you to that insignificance for which God and nature designed you." The bill was rejected, because it was considered a greater concession to the colonies, and quite as injurious to the national honor as the proposition of Dean Tucker, a famous pamphleteer, that Parliament should by solemn enactment sever the colonies from the parent government, and disallow any application for restoration to the rights and privileges of British subjects, until, by humble petition, they should ask for pardon and reinstatement. This would not have been a severe punishment for the Americans.

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