The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 4

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Author: William Pitt  | Date: 1781

I
The War in America Denounced*
(1781)

The mischief, however, recoiled on the unhappy people of this country, who were made the instruments by which the wicked purposes of the authors of the war were effected. The nation was drained of its best blood, and of its vital resources of men and money. The expense of the war was enormous—much beyond any former experience.

And yet, what has the British nation received in return? Nothing but a series of ineffective victories, or severe defeats—victories celebrated only by a temporary triumph over our brethren, whom we would trample down and destroy; victories, which filled the land with mourning for the loss of dear and valued relatives, slain in the impious cause of enforcing unconditional submission, or with narratives of the glorious exertions of men struggling in the holy cause of liberty, the struggling in the absence of all the facilities and advantages which are in general deemed the necessary concomitants of victory and success. Where was the Englishman, who on reading the narratives of those bloody and well-fought contests, could refrain from lamenting the loss of so much British blood spilt in such a cause, or from weeping, on whatever side victory might be declared?2

* Spoken in the House of Commons in June, 1781, when he was twenty-two years old and had been only a few months in his seat. Abridged. The subject was Fox’s motion for peace with the American Colonies. Pitt’s maiden speech on February 26 of this year had evoked from Burke the remark, "He is not merely a chip of the old block, but the old block itself."

2 Four months after the date of this speech Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.

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Chicago: William Pitt, "I. The War in America Denounced (1781)," The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 4 in The World’s Famous Orations, ed. William Jennings Bryan (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906), 5. Original Sources, accessed December 15, 2019, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GHBSPAZQIY1GWVF.

MLA: Pitt, William. "I. The War in America Denounced (1781)." The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 4, in The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan, Vol. 4, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906, page 5. Original Sources. 15 Dec. 2019. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GHBSPAZQIY1GWVF.

Harvard: Pitt, W, 'I. The War in America Denounced (1781)' in The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 4. cited in December, 1906, The World’s Famous Orations, ed. , Funk and Wagnalls, New York, pp.5. Original Sources, retrieved 15 December 2019, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GHBSPAZQIY1GWVF.