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‘ [262] She would increase her population, enlarge
Chap. XL.} 1769. March
her limits, and grow into a rich, flourishing and free State, contrasting with our exhausted Provinces. From the example before them, the inhabitants of our vast Mexican domain would be led to consider their total want of commerce, the extortions of their Governors, the little esteem in which they themselves are held, the few offices which they are permitted to fill; they would hate still more the Spanish rule, and would think to brave it with security. If by improving the government of the Mexican Provinces and the condition of their inhabitants, we should avoid the fatal revolution, Louisiana would still trade with the harbors on our coast, and also by land with Texas and New Mexico, and through them with Old Mexico. Between Louisiana and Mexico, there are no established limits; the rebels, if they remain as they are, will have a pretext for claiming an arbitrary extension of territory.’1 He therefore advised to reduce the colony, but to keep New Orleans in such insignificance as to tempt no attack.

The King accepted the decision of his Cabinet; adding his fear lest the example of Louisiana should influence the colonies ‘of other powers,’ in which he already discerned the rising ‘spirit of sedition and independence.’2 A different train of reasoning engaged the Cabinet of France.

‘Here,’ said one of its advisers, “is the happy opportunity of dividing the British Empire, by placing before its Colonies the interesting spectacle of two potentates who pardon, who protect, and who deign ”

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