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[265] tempting spectacle for the English Colonies; and ex-

Chap. XL.} 1769. March
hibited at their very gates, will hasten the epoch of their revolution.

Du Chatelet to Choiseul, 17 March, 1769. Idee sur l'opposition trouvee par les Espagnols à la Louisiane.

But while the statesmen of France were pleasing themselves with the thought of founding at New Orleans a commercial republic like Venice or Amsterdam, as a place of refuge for the discontented of every creed and tongue, Spain took counsel only of her pride. ‘The world must see that I,’ said the Catholic King, ‘unaided, can crush the audacity of sedition.’1 Aware of the wishes of the French Min isters, he concealed his purpose by making no military preparations at Cadiz, and dispatched Alexander O'Reilly in all haste for Cuba, with orders to extirpate the sentiment of independence at New Orleans.

England had proved herself superior in war not to Spain only, but to the combined power of Spain and France. Her navy was the best in the world; her army respectable. Could not she, in her turn, crush the insolent town of Boston, suppress its free schools, shut up its Town Hall, sequester its liberties, drag its patriots to the gallows, and for the life, restless enterprise, fervid charities and liberal spirit of that moral and industrious town, substitute the quiet monotony of obsequious obedience? England could not do what a feebler despotism might undertake without misgivings. She stood self-restrained. A part of the Ministry wished the Charter of Massachusetts

1 Grimaldi to Fuentes, 1769; Gayarre, II. 267.

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