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[102] an act of hostility. Having thus invited a conflict
chap. IV.} 1753.
with France by instructions necessarily involving war, the cabinet took no effective measures to sustain the momentous claims on which it solemnly resolved to insist. The governor of Virginia was reminded of the great number of men enrolled in the militia of that province. These he was to draw forth in whole or in part; with their aid, and at the cost of the colony itself, to build forts on the Ohio; to keep the Indians in subjection; and to repel and drive out the French by force. But neither troops, nor money, nor ships of war were sent over; nor was any thing, but a few guns from the ordnance stores, contributed by England. The Old Dominion was itself to make the conquest of the West. France was defied and attacked: and no preparation was made beyond a secretary's letters,1 and the king's instructions.2 A general but less explicit circular was also sent to every one of the colonies, vaguely requiring them to aid each other in repelling all encroachments of France on ‘the undoubted’3 territory of England. Such was the mode in which Holdernesse and Newcastle gave effect to the intimations of the Board of Trade.

That Board, of itself, had as yet no access to the king; but still it assumed the direction of affairs in its department. Busily persevering in the plan of reforming the government of the colonies, it made one last great effort to conduct the American administration by means of the prerogative. New York remained

1 Earl of Holdernesse to Lieut. Gov. Dinwiddie, August, 1751.

2 Instructions to Lieut. Governor Dinwiddie, August, 1753.

3 Circular of Holdernesse to the American Governors, 28 August, 1753.

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