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[218] taken place, the courts of Admiralty could not then
chap. IX.} 1755.
interpose, to give a warrant to the outrage. The sum afterwards paid into the British exchequer, as the king's share of the spoils, was about seven hundred thousand pounds. Eight thousand French seamen were held in captivity. All France resented the perfidy. ‘Never,’ said Louis the Fifteenth, ‘will I forgive the piracies of this insolent nation;’ and, in a letter to George the Second, he demanded ample reparation for the insult to the flag of France by Boscawen, and for the piracies of the English men-of-war, committed in defiance of international law, the faith of treaties, the usages of civilized nations, and the reciprocal duties of kings.1 The wound inflicted on France by this robbery of private property on the high seas before a declaration of war, rankled inwardly, and for a whole generation was ready to bleed afresh. At the time, the seizure of so many thousand French seamen was a subject of boast in the British parliament; and the people, proud of their strength on the ocean, were almost unanimous for engaging in war. But its successful conduct seemed to require united activity in America and allies in Europe.

Corruption and force are the instruments of feebleness; the incompetent ministry knew not how to use the one or the other. They turned to Russia; and with as much blindness to the interests of their country, as indifference to every thing but the possession of place, they instructed Sir Hanbury Williams, the new envoy at St. Petersburg, a diplomatist boastful of his powers of observation, and yet credulous

1 Louis XV. to Geo. II., 21 October, 1755.

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