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[341] name; but shared the alarm1 of the church at the
chap. XVIII.} 1765. Oct.
free-thinking and free press which late years had fostered. The Duke de Choiseul, who at that time was minister of the marine and for the colonies, revolved in his own mind the coming fortunes of the new world; repressed regrets for Louisiana, because he saw that America must soon become independent; predicted to his sovereign the nearness of the final struggle between England and its dependencies, and urged earnestly, that France should so increase its naval force,2 as to be prepared to take advantage of the impending crisis.

The amiable, but inexperienced men who formed the active ministry of England, were less discerning. The names of Rockingham, and Grafton, and Conway, must be pronounced with respect; yet suddenly and unexpectedly brought to the administration of an empire, they knew not what to propose. Of the men on whose support they were compelled to rely, many were among the loudest and ablest supporters of the Stamp tax. So orders were given3 to Bernard, in Massachusetts, and elsewhere to governors, in cases of a vacancy, to act as stamp-distributors; and the resolves of Virginia were reserved for the consideration of that very parliament which had passed the Stamp Act by a majority of five to one. Rockingham had promised nothing to the friends of America but relief to trade, where it was improperly curbed. To rouse the ministry from its indifference, Thomas Hollis,4 who perceived in the ‘ugly squall,’ that had just reached

1 The king's answer to the clergy, 1765.

2 Memorial of Choiseul, communicated to me verbally, by M. de Barante, who has a copy of it.

3 Grey Cooper to Bernard, 8 Oct, 1765. Same to Shirley, 10 Oct. Treasury Letter Book.

4 Hollis: Diary, 23 Oct.

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