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[26] said one of his letters, which was then under consider-
chap II.} 1748. July.
ation1 in England before the king, ‘to secure this valuable province from the enemy, or from a faction within it, without the assistance of regular troops, two thousand men at least. There never was so much silver in the country as at present, and the inhabitants never were so expensive in their habits of life. They, with the southern colonies, can well discharge this expense.’2

The party of royalists who had devised the congress, as subsidiary to the war between France and England, were overtaken by the news, that preliminaries of peace between the European belligerents had been signed in April; and they eagerly seized the opportunity of returning tranquillity, to form plans for governing and taxing the colonies by the supreme authority of Great Britain. A colonial revenue, through British interposition, was desired, for the common defence of America, and to defray the civil list in the respective provinces. Could an independent income be obtained for either of these purposes, it might, by degrees, be applied to both.

To the convention in Albany came William Shirley, already for seven years governor of Massachusetts; an English lawyer, artful, needy, and ambitious; a member of the Church of England; indifferent to the laws and the peculiar faith of the people whom he governed, appointed originally to restore or introduce British authority, and more relied upon than any crown officer in America. With him appeared Andrew Oliver and Thomas

1 Board of Trade to Clinton, 29 June, 1748.

2 Clinton to Newcastle, from the draught.

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