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‘ [92] capable of forming a scheme for such an union, and
chap. IV.} 1752.
be able to execute it in such a manner, as that it has subsisted for ages, and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary, and must be more advantageous.’

While the people of America were thus becoming familiar with the thought of joining from their own free choice in one confederacy, the government of England took a decisive step towards that concentration of power over its remote dominions, which for thirty years1 had been the avowed object of attainment on the part of the Board of Trade. Halifax with his colleagues, of whom Charles Townshend was the most enterprising and most fearlessly rash, was appointed to take charge of American affairs; with the entire patronage and correspondence belonging to them.2 Yet the independence of the Board was not perfect. On important matters governors might still address the Secretary of State, through whom, also, nominations to offices were to be laid before the king in council. We draw nearer to the conflict of authority between the central government and the colonies. An ambitious commission, expressly appointed for the purpose, was at last invested with the care of business, from which party struggles and court intrigues, or love of ease and quiet had hitherto diverted the attention of the ministry. Nor did the Lords of Trade delay to exercise their functions, and

1 See the very elaborate Report of the Board of Trade, signed by Chetwynde, Dominique, Bladen, and Ashe, 8 September, 1721.

2 Order in Council, 11 March, 1752.

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