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[55] Admiralty; Halifax, Charles Townshend, and their
chap. II.} 1749.
colleagues, were busy with remodelling American constitutions; while Bedford, the head of the new party that was in a few years to drive the more liberal branch of the whig aristocracy from power, as Secretary of State for the Southern Department, was the organ of communication between the Board of Trade and the crown.

These are the men who proposed to reconcile the discrepancy between the legal pretensions of the metropolis and the actual condition of the colonies. In vain did they resolve to shape America at will, and fashion it into new modes of being. The infant republics were not like blocks of marble from the quarry, which the artist may group by his design, and gradually transform by the chisel from shapeless masses to the images of his fancy; they resembled living plants, whose inward energies obey the Divine idea without effort or consciousness of will, and unfold simultaneously their whole existence and the rudiments of all their parts, harmonious, beautiful and complete in every period of their growth.1

These British American colonies were the best trophy of modern civilization; on them, for the next forty years, rests the chief interest in the history of man.2

1 Bacon de Augmentis Scientiarum. Lib. VII, cap. II. Quemadmodum enim Statuarius, quando simulacrum aliquod sculpit ant incidit, illius solummodo partis figuram effingit,circa quam manus occupata est, non autem caeterarum, (veluti si faciem efformet, corpus reliquum rude permanet et informe saxum, done ad illud quoque pervenerit) e contra vero natura, quando florem molitur, aut animal, rudimenta partium omnium simul parit et product: eodem modo, etc., etc. Lord Bolingbroke, in his Idea of a Patriot King, translates the words of the great master: ‘Nature throws out altogether and at once the whole system of every being, and the rudiments of all the parts.’

2 John Adams's Works, v. 405. ‘The history of the American Revolution is indeed the history of mankind during that epoch.’

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