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‘ [237] unless other means than those of force conciliate the
Chap. XXXVIII} 1768. Nov.
interests of the Metropolis and its Colonies. The Americans will not lose out of their view their rights and their privileges; and next to fanaticism for religion, the fanaticism for liberty is the most daring in its measures and the most dangerous in its consequences.’1

It was obvious that the simplest mode of taking part with the colonists would be by a commerce between the French and Spanish Colonies and the British Colonies on the continent of North America; and on this subject Choiseul sent to Du Chatelet2 an elaborate digest of all the materials he had collected. But the simple-hearted King of Spain, though he enjoyed the perplexity of England, ‘because it created embarrassments to the natural enemy3 of the two Crowns, and secured to France and Spain more time to prepare for contingent events,’ showed no disposition to interfere.

‘What a pity,’ resumed Du Chatelet to Choiseul, ‘that neither Spain nor France is in a condition to take advantage of so critical a conjuncture; and that we must regard it as a passive benefit. The moment is not yet come; and precipitate measures on our part might reconcile the Colonies to the metropolis. But if the quarrel goes on as far as it seems likely to do, a thousand opportunities cannot fail to offer of which decisive advantage may be taken. The objects presented to you, to the King, and to his Council, demand the most profound combinations, the most ’

1 Choiseul to Du Chatelet, 22 Nov. 1768.

2 Du Chatelet to Choiseul, 18 Nov. 1768.

3 D'Ossun to Choiseul at the Escurial, 21 November, 1768.

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