Friday, December 28, 2012

The Rejection of Peace: Lord Chatham (1777) and Ron Paul (2007)

By, Chris Rossini
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If video cameras were around in 1777, we'd be watching a YouTube titled "Lord Chatham Was Right".

On May 30th, 1777 Lord Chatham gave a speech to the British House of Lords in an effort to stop the hostilities in America.

Here are some highlights:
My Lords, this is a dying moment; perhaps but six weeks left to arrest the dangers that surround us. The gathering storm may break; it has already opened, and in part burst. It is difficult for government, after all that has passed, to shake hands with defiers of the King, defiers of the Parliament, defiers of the people. I am a defier of nobody; but if an end is not put to this war, there is an end to this country…

They are rebels; but for what? Surely not for defending their unquestionable rights! What have these rebels done heretofore?...

I state to you the importance of America: it is a double market--the market of consumption, and the market of supply. This double market for millions, with naval stores, you are giving to your hereditary rival. America has carried you through four wars, and will now carry you to your death, if you don't take things in time. In the sportsman's phrase, when you have found yourselves at fault, you must try back…

If you conquer them, what then? You can not make them respect you; you can not make them wear your cloth; you will plant an invincible hatred in their breasts against you. Coming from the stock they do, they can never respect you…

You have said, Lay down your arms; and she has given you the Spartan answer, "Come, take."...

We are the aggressors. We have invaded them. We have invaded them as much as the Spanish Armada invaded England. Mercy can not do harm; it will seat the King where be ought to be, throned on the hearts of his people; and millions at home and abroad, now employed in obloquy or revolt, would pray for him.

…I will tell your Lordships very fairly what I wish for. I wish for a repeal of every oppressive act which your Lordships have passed since 1763. I would put our brethren in America precisely on the same footing they stood at that period…

My Lords, I shall no doubt hear it objected, "Why should we submit or concede? Has America done any thing on her part to induce us to agree to so large a ground of concession?" I will tell you, my Lords, why I think you should. You have been the aggressors from the beginning...
If, then, we are the aggressors, it is your Lordships' business to make the first overture. I say again, this country has been the aggressor. You have made descents upon their coasts; you have burned their towns, plundered their country, made war upon the inhabitants, confiscated their property, proscribed and imprisoned their persons. I do therefore affirm, my Lords, that instead of exacting unconditional submission from the colonies, we should grant them unconditional redress.
We have injured them; we have endeavored to enslave and oppress them. Upon this ground, my Lords, instead of chastisement, they are entitled to redress. A repeal of those laws, of which they complain, will be the first step to that redress. The people of America look upon Parliament as the authors of their miseries; their affections are estranged from their sovereign. Let, then, reparation come from the hands that inflicted the injuries; let conciliation succeed chastisement; and I do maintain, that Parliament will again recover its authority; that his Majesty will be once more enthroned in the hearts of his American subjects; and that your Lordships, as contributing to so great, glorious, salutary, and benignant a work, will receive the prayers and benedictions of every part of the British empire.
The British were operating on an empire mindset. Chatham's motion was defeated by a vote of 99 to 28.

The following day, King George III responded:
“Lord Chatham’s highly unseasonable motion can have no other use than to convey some fresh fuel if attended to by the Rebels…while the truth is that the great lenity of this country encreased their pride and encouraged them to rebel; but thank God the Nation does not see the unhappy Contest through [Chatham’s] mirror. If his sentiments were adopted, I should not esteem the situation in this country a very dignified one, for the Islands would soon cast off all obedience.”
Fast forward to 2007 and The American Empire.

Here is Ron Paul making the case for peace, non-aggression, no nation building, and no policing of the world:

His Highness, Rudy Giuliani, gives a completely ignorant and arrogent response, and the empire mentality is almost tangible in the thunderous applause from the peanut gallery.

Like Lord Chatham, Ron Paul's plea for non-aggression has fallen on deaf ears.


  1. Very prescient of both men. And very imperial both responses. In today's terms, the British had to "maintain credibility." That was the concept that kept the US pounding on Vietnam for a decade and a concept every gangster in the protection business would understand at once. Arguing that the gangster is in fact the aggressor and should be lenient to businesses that don't pay the required protection fee is, in the gangster/imperial mind, an invitation to suicide.

  2. What a great posting. I was unaware of Lord Chatham's speech yet this video is one of my favorites. Thank you!

  3. Many have the intelligence to understand the words of these great men, but most lack the wisdom to put them into action...

  4. Those who don't know history, are destined to repeat it. Today however it is more like: "those who don't know history, re-write it to favor their statist views, then repeat it."

  5. Ron Paul was the only person on that stage who conducted himself with grace, dignity, and integrity. The rest are pimps.

    If only ridding ourselves of the likes of Giuliani was as easy as Dr. Scholls wart remover.

    I often appear arrogant to people who have little to no knowledge of libertarianism. The truth is I am humbled. I myself was once trapped in that establishment 3x5 card (as Tom Woods says), which restricts you to the range of thought between Mitch McConnell and Hillary Clinton.

    Hopefully, my frustrations with other people can be ameliorated by the spreading of libertarian ideas with those who are receptive. Those who perceive our frustrations as arrogance don't understand our search for morality and truth. Libertarians, on the surface, can appear to be callous libertines. This is the farthest thing from reality.

    We love humanity immensely, and we have taken a hard road, in a sense, to express that love. A great deal of hate is leveled on us for speaking out against the attempted perfection of slavery, in all its forms.