REVOLUTIONARY WARBRITISH HOUSE OF LORDS.
Manuscript on paper, approximately 163 ll, folio, [London], October 26, 1775-May 23, 1776, being an abridged version of the Journals of the House of Lords, period sheep-backed boards, occasional spotting, lacking spine, upper cover detached, first few gatherings loose or working loose.
EVENTS AT THE HOUSE OF LORDS IN A CRUCIAL YEAR IN AMERICA'S HISTORY. In August of 1775, George III had issued his Proclamation of Rebellion, a response to the Battle of Bunker Hill. The present ledger begins on the opening of Parliament; the King on that occasion reiterated that the rebellion was the work of a "desperate conspiracy" and that he intended to use armed force to quell it. The journal records that "The Ld. Camden presented to the House a Petition ... praying that Conciliatory Measures may be adopted with respect to America." Lord Cavendish then suggests that a dearth of information about the "State and Condition of the Colonies" has resulted in measures being taken that "rather encreased than diminished [the Disorders and Discontents in the British Colonies]." By gathering intelligence, he aims to avoid "the alarming and dangerous Expedient of calling in Foreign Forces to the Support of His Majesty's Authority within His own Dominions and the still more dreadful Calamity of shedding British Blood by British Hands."
In subsequent days, the Olive Branch Petition is read, and Richard Penn appears before the House arguing that "said Petition affords Ground of Conciliation of the unhappy Differences subsisting between the Mother Country and the Colonies," and that all efforts should be taken to achieve a peaceful outcome. Come November, discussions focus on the logistics of sending land troops to America; by March of 1776, the suggestion is made that if the Colonies promptly submit a petition to the King listing their "Just Right and real Grievances" then a truce will be declared. Finally, as diplomatic negotiations fail, legislation tends towards the supplying of troops with provisions and arms.