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[501] the East India Company before any compulsive mea-
Chap LI.} 1774. Feb.
sures were thought of.1 But events were to proceed as they had been ordered. Various measures were talked of for altering the Constitution of the Government in Massachusetts, and for prosecuting individuals. The opinion in town was very general, that America would submit; that Government was taken by surprise when they repealed the Stamp Act, and that all might be recovered.2

The King was obstinate, had no one near him to explain the true state of things in America, and admitted no misgivings except for not having sooner enforced the claims of authority. On the fourth day of February, he consulted the American Commander-in-Chief who had recently returned from New-York. ‘I am willing to go back at a day's notice,’ said Gage, ‘if coercive measures are adopted. They will be lions, while we are lambs; but if we take the resolute part, they will undoubtedly prove very meek. Four regiments sent to Boston will be sufficient to prevent any disturbance.’ The King received these opinions as certainly true; and wished their adoption. He would enforce the claim of authority at all hazards.3 ‘All men,’ said he, ‘now feel, that the fatal compliance in 1766 has increased the pretensions of the Americans to absolute independence.’4 In the letters of Hutchinson, he saw nothing to which the least exception could be taken;5 and condemned the Address of Massachusetts, of

1 Franklin to Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, William Phillips. Ms. letter in my possession.

2 Shelburne to Chatham, Chat. Corr. IV. 324.

3 Dartmouth to Haldimand, 5 Feb. 1774.

4 From letters communicated to me by Lady Charlotte Lindsay.

5 Hutchinson's Diary.

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