The British Response to the Declaration of Independence

I’ve always thought that a great book is waiting to be written about the British perspective on the American Revolution.  For example, have you ever seen the official response to the Declaration by King George III?  I hadn’t until recently.  Here it is.

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His Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech to Both Houses of Parliament on Thursday, October 31, 1776

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

Nothing could have afforded Me so much Satisfaction as to have been able to inform you, at the Opening of this Session, that the Troubles, which have so long distracted My Colonies in North America, were at an End; and that My unhappy People, recovered from their Delusion, had delivered themselves from the Oppression of their Leaders, and returned to their Duty. But so daring and desperate is the Spirit of those Leaders, whose Object has always been Dominion and Power, that they have now openly renounced all Allegiance to the Crown, and all political Connection with this Country. They have rejected, with Circumstances of Indignity and Insult, the Means of Conciliation held out to them under the Authority of Our Commission: and have presumed to set up their rebellious Confederacies for Independent States. If their Treason be suffered to take Root, much Mischief must grow from it, to the Safety of My loyal Colonies, to the Commerce of My Kingdoms, and indeed to the present System of all Europe. One great Advantage, however, will be derived from the Object of the Rebels being openly avowed, and clearly understood. We shall have Unanimity at Home, founded in the general Conviction of the Justice and Necessity of Our Measures.

. . .

My Lords, and Gentlemen, in this arduous Contest I can have no other Object but to promote the true Interests of all My Subjects. No people ever enjoyed more Happiness, or lived under a milder Government, than those now revolted Provinces: the Improvements in every Art, of which they boast, declare it: their Numbers, their Wealth, their Strength by Sea and Land, which they think sufficient to enable them to make Head against the whole Power of the Mother Country, are irrefragable Proofs of it. My Desire is to restore to them the Blessings of Law and Liberty, equally enjoyed by every British Subject, which they have fatally and desperately exchanged for all the Calamities of War, and the arbitrary Tyranny of their Chiefs.

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12 Responses

  1. Kent says:

    That last paragraph is excellent. Someone needs to get that speech writer on the phone…

  2. Bruce Boyden says:

    Alas, it’s been done — although I don’t know whether any of these are “great” books: Stanley Weintraub, Iron Tears: America’s Battle for Freedom, Britain’s Quagmire: 1775-1783 (2005); Christopher Hibbert, Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes (2002); Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775-1783 (1993); Michael Pearson, Those Damned Rebels: The American Revolution As Seen Through British Eyes (2000); Don Cook, The Long Fuse: How England Lost the American Colonies 1760-1785 (1996).

  3. prometheefeu says:

    I do love the way the king justifies his actions using virtually the same words as the rebels. I don’t suppose we’ll ever read a speech talking about the need to preserve tyranny and abolish liberty.

  4. uyjt says:

    DFYHTFUJHFYIK

  5. Erika says:

    To prometheefeu: I believe it’s called The Communist Manifesto. 🙂

  6. Garret lamkins says:

    I think this is all baloney The british also paid a way bigger tax than e colonists did so why all of this. This is useless. I thought this would oppose the constitution not agree to it. I looked at this and lost the debate at my school. I was on the britsh side. This did not hel a freakin bit.

  7. Garret lamkins says:

    Poop poop poop

  8. Garret lamkins says:

    Tfutabihtcotusanducgtfh

  9. Garret lamkins says:

    F u

  10. Rick says:

    Garret, you clearly need some work on reading comprehension. Read that last line again.

    “My Desire is to restore to them the Blessings of Law and Liberty, equally enjoyed by every BRITISH SUBJECT, which they have fatally and desperately exchanged for all the Calamities of War, and the arbitrary Tyranny of their Chiefs.”

    America is a British colony to this very day. The lie that we won the Revolutionary war needs to end today! We are British SUBJECTS. Subject=SLAVE

    • Daniel P says:

      Rick, I dissagree with your notion that the people of the States, at least the 13 original colonies are still subjects of the British crown. This was clearly clarified in the 1783 Paris Peace Treaty, whereas the King George, had relinquished his claim of sole Sovereignty over the colonists, whom were once his subjects became sovereign in their own right, as the colonies then became States. Notice in his address to Parliment, he showed the distaste for the colonies of becoming States, as States they would no longer be colonies.

  11. XYZ says:

    Rick… um what? You need to take a trip to Greystone, look it up.