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they had, in fact, a trade of seven millions per annum, of which Great Britain had heretofore enjoyed the monopoly, to offer in return; and since, with respect to France in particular, the rising strength of the new Republic had a direct claim on her attention. It crippled the power of her ancient enemy in that quarter where, had it been uninterrupted, it might have grown to a boundless extent, of which France must have felt sufficient proof in the events of the late war. Should America' succeed in maintaining her independence, she could offer, he contended, the fairest op- · portunity for that country to strengthen both her commercial and naval resources; should she fall, England would be aggrandized once more in both; and even in her military resources, by the excellent soldiers now training on both sides in this war.
In his private conversation and correspondence, he spoke openly of his indignation against the mothercountry. Defenceless towns burnt in the midst of winter, slaves excited to revolt against and murder their masters, and the savage Indians encouraged to assassinate and sack peaceable farmers, their wives and children, were injuries, he declared, in which his own ill-treatment by her was swallowed up and forgotten. These ever whetted his resentment, and made him feel all thoughts of returning to her dominion as revolting and intolerable.
The French ministry fell in at once with much of his able reasoning, and received him and his colleague privately with the greatest respect. But Great Britain was watchful, and instructed her ambassador, lord Stormont, to make the strictest inquiry upon the subject of certain hostile preparations in the ports of France. Steps were therefore taken to conciliate the British cabinet; and the immediate consequences, with regard to some individuals, exhibit the petty minds and resources of some of the world's great men. Although merchants had exported warlike stores to America immediately under the sanction of the French court, Hodge, an American merchant, was com
mitted to the Bastille for equipping a privateer from Dunkirk ; and the master of the Amphitrite, who had just returned from America, after landing a supply of artillery, was also arrested; while count de Vergennes, the minister for foreign affairs, remonstrated with the American deputies (16th July, 1777) on the nature of their proceedings. · The spring indeed of this year brought no flattering intelligence of American affairs : Washington had been compelled to retreat and avoid any decisive engagement. At the conclusion of 1776, the British troops in America amounted to nearly 28,000 men; the American commander could scarcely muster four thousand effective men; and it was not until the latter end of May that Congress were able to send him any reinforcement. Dr Fothergill wrote at this time, for the information of Franklin, that while the American eause still had its warm friends in England, the intelligence received across the Atlantic had almost convinced them that the struggle was at an end; that the shadow of authority in Congress could scarcely be said to exist; that a general defection from that body was apparent; that their troops deserted by shoals, that the officers were discontented, and that no new levies could be made: in short, that nothing remained but to divide the country among the conquerors.
The councillors of a higher monarchy however favoured the American cause. In the midst of French vacillation, and anticipated British triumphs, the news of the entire surrender of major-general Burgoyne's army to general Gates, arrived in Europe, and seems to have decided the French ministry. Throughout Paris public rejoicings took place at the event; and our philosopher was not tardy in taking advantage of the public feeling. In April 1777, he had made certain advantageous offers to Spain, through the count d'Aranda, the Spanish ambassador at Paris; and he now reminded M. de Vergennes, that America would
no longer brook the total neglect of her claims and proffered friendship.
It will be interesting at this crisis to glance hastily at the proceedings of the British parliament. A bill passed the Commons in February, to enable the admiralty to grant letters of marque against all vessels belonging to the revolted colonies; and lord North at the same time moved for a bill “ to enable his majesty to secure and detain persons charged with, or suspected of, the crime of high treason committed in America.” The former measure was passed unanimously, the latter not without considerable opposition.
In the Lords, the earl of Chatham, notwithstanding his great age and infirmities, resolved to make one more effort in favour of his falling country. On the 30th of May, he therefore moved their lordships for an address to his majesty, requesting that the most speedy and effectual measures might be taken for putting a stop to the hostilities carrying on against the American colonies, upon the only just and solid foundation, that of “ the removal of accumulated grievances." " 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. 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 former 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 yourself at fault, you must try back. I am experienced in spring hopes and vernal promises; I know what ministers throw out; but at last will come your equinoctial disappointments. You have got nothing in America but stations.
You have been three years teaching them the art of war. They are apt scholars; and I will venture to tell your lordships, that the American gentry will make officers enough, fit to command the troops of all the European powers. What you have sent there are too many to make peace, too few to make war. If you conquer them, what then? You cannot make them respect you; you cannot make them wear your cloth. You will plant an invincible hatred in their breasts against you. Coming from the stock they do, they never can respect you.” He afterwards said: “The proposal is specific. I thought it so clear, that I did not enlarge upon it. I mean the redress of all their grievances, and the right of disposing of their own money. This is to be done instantaneously. I will get out of my bed to move it on Monday. This will be the herald of peace; this will open the way for treaty; this will shew parliament sincerely disposed. Yet still much must be left to treaty. Should you conquer this people, you conquer under the cannon of France; under a masked battery then ready to open. The moment a treaty with France appears, you must declare war, though you had only five ships of the line in England; but France will defer a treaty as long as possible."
On the 18th November in a speech on the address to the king, he said, “. But yesterday, and England might have stood against the world: now none so poor to do her reverence.' I use the words of a poet; but though it is poetry, it is no fiction. It is a shameful truth, that not only the power and strength of this country are wasting away and expiring; but her wellearned glories, her true honour, and substantial dignity, are sacrificed. France, my lords, has insulted you; she has encouraged and sustained America ; and whether America be wrong or right, the dignity of this country ought to spurn at the officious insult of French interference. The ministers and ambassadors of those who are called rebels and enemies are in Paris; in Paris they transact the reciprocal interest of America and France. Can there be a more mortifying insult? Can even our ministers sustain a more humiliating disgrace? Do they dare to resent it? Do they presume even to hint a vindication of their honour, and the dignity of the state, by requiring the , dismission of the plenipotentiaries of America ? Such
is the degradation to which they have reduced the glories of England! The people whom they affect to call contemptible rebels, but whose growing power has at last obtained the name of enemies; the people with whom they have engaged this country in war, and against whom they now command our implicit support in every measure of desperate hostility: this people, despised as rebels, or acknowledged as enemies, are abetted against you, supplied with every military store, their interests consulted, and their ambassadors entertained, by your inveterate enemy! And our ministers dare not interpose with dignity, or effect! Is this the honour of a great kingdom? Is this the indignant spirit of England, who “but yesterday' gave law to the house of Bourbon ? My lords, the dignity of nations demands a decisive conduct in a situation like this. I love and honor the English troops: I know their virtues and their valor: I know they can achieve any thing except impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility. You cannot, I venture to say it, YOU CANNOT conquer America. Your armies last war effected every thing that could be effected; and what was it? It cost a numerous army, under the command of a most able general, now a noble lord in this house, a long and laborious campaign, to expel five thousand Frenchmen from French America. My lords, you cannot conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know, that in three campaigns we have done nothing, and suffered much. Besides the sufferings, perhaps total loss, of the northern force, the best appointed army that ever took the field, commanded by sir William Howe, has retired from the American lines; he was obliged to relinquish his at