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[236] that his letters and the King's firmness would
Chap. XXXVIII} 1768. Nov.
bring back the misled colonists to a just sense of their duty,1 only opened the way to a new complaint, that the King would not even receive from the Colonies their Petitions.

Meantime as the refusal of America to draw supplies from England, was an invitation to other Powers2 to devise the means of sharing her commerce, the three3 Secretaries of State were called upon to issue orders to the ministers, consuls, and agents of the British Government in the ports of Europe, Madeira and the Azores, to watch the coming in of an American ship, or the sailing of any ship for the continent of America. The Navigation Acts of which the total repeal would only have increased the trade of the Colonies with their mother country, reduced England to playing the humble and helpless part of a spy in the harbors of independent nations;4 while the maritime powers of Europe were eagerly watching the progress of the contest, and speculating on its conclusion.

‘Can the Ministry reduce the Colonies’ asked Du Chatelet? ‘Of what avail is an army in so vast a country? The Americans have made these reflections, and they will not give way.’5

‘To the menace of rigor’ replied Choiseul, ‘they will never give way, except in appearance and for a time. The fire will be but imperfectly extinguished, ’

1 Hillsborough to Gage, 15 Nov. 1768.

2 Commissioners of the Customs in America, to Lords of the Treasury, 15 Sept. 1768.

3 Treasury Minutes, Whitehall, Treasury Chambers, 7 Nov. 1768.

4 Treasury Minutes, 15 December, 1768. Minute Book, XXXIX, 268.

5 Du Chatelet to Choiseul, No. 4, 11 November, 1768.

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