population in the colonies.1
‘Upon the best inquiry
I can make,’ wrote Shirley
, ‘I have found the calcunations right.
The number of the inhabitants is doubled every twenty years;’ and as the demand for British manufactures, with a corresponding employment of shipping, increased with even greater rapidity, he found in them inexhaustible resources of wealth for a maritime power.
But this great increase, combined with the political vigor and sagacity which was displayed in the plan of union framed by the Congress
, excited alarm in England
, lest the regions of which she was making the conquest should assert their independence.
calmed the rising fear.
said he, ‘have been entertained, that they will in time unite to throw off their dependency upon their mother country, and set up one general government among themselves.
But if it is considered how different the present constitutions of their respective governments are from each other, how much the interests of some of them clash, and how opposed their tempers are, such a coalition among them will seem highly improbable.
At all events, they could not maintain such an independency without a strong naval force, which it must for ever be in the power of Great Britain
to hinder them from having.
And whilst his majesty hath seven thousand troops kept up within them, with the Indians at command, it seems easy, provided his Governors and principal officers are independent of the Assemblies for their subsistence, and commonly vigilant, ’