Our purses are ready,
Chap. XXXV.} 1768. Aug.
Steady, boys, steady,
Not as slaves, but as freemen, our money we'll give.
The British administration was blind to its dangers, and believed union impossible.1 ‘You will learn what transpires in America infinitely better in the city than at court;’ wrote Choiseul2 to the French Minister in England. ‘Never mind what Lord Hillsborough says;’ he wrote again; ‘the private accounts of American merchants to their correspondents in London are more trustworthy.’3 The obedient official sought information in every direction—especially of Franklin, than whom no man in England uttered more prophetic warnings, or in a more benign or more loyal spirit. ‘He has for years been predicting to the Ministers the necessary consequences of their American measures,’ said the French envoy;4 ‘he is a man of rare intelligence and welldisposed to England; but, fortunately, is very little consulted.’ While the British Government neglected the opportunities of becoming well-informed respecting America, Choiseul collected newspapers, documents, resolves, instructions of towns, and even sermons of the Puritan clergy, and with clear sagacity and candid diligence, proceeded to construct his theory. ‘The forces of the English in America are scarcely ten thousand men, and they have no cavalry;’ thus reasoned the dispassionate statesmen of France; ‘but ’