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In the course of the very long debate, the younger

Chap. XXIII.} 1781. June 12.
William Pitt, then just twenty-two, avoiding the question of independence, explained to a listening house the principles and conduct of his father on American affairs. Then, referring to Lord Westcote, he said: ‘A noble lord has called the American war a holy war; I affirm that it is a most accursed war, wicked, barbarous, cruel, and unnatural; conceived in injustice, it was brought forth and nurtured in folly; its footsteps are marked with slaughter and devastation, while it meditates destruction to the miserable people who are the devoted objects of the resentments which produced it. The British nation, in return for its vital resources in men and money, has received ineffective victories and severe defeats, which have filled the land with mourning for the loss of dear relations slain in the impious cause of enforcing unconditional submission, or narratives of the glorious exertions of men struggling under all difficulties in the holy cause of liberty. Where is the Englishman who can refrain from weeping, on whatever side victory may be declared?’ The voice was listened to as that of Chatham, ‘again living in his son with all his virtues and all his talents.’ ‘America is lost, irrecoverably lost, to this country,’ added Fox. ‘We can lose nothing by a vote declaring America independent.’

On the division, an increased minority revealed the growing discontent of the house of commons at the continuance of the war.

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