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[27] to its Governor, and learned with astonish-
Chap. XXVI.} 1766. Aug.
ment that colonies which were supposed to have no liberties but by inference, spoke boldly and firmly of rights and a Constitution.1 In this manner, time was bringing him some assuagement of his former deep humiliation.

Could Chatham have regained his health, he would have mastered all difficulties, or fallen with dignity. Jealous of the Bourbon courts, he, too, thought of the possibility of war, and urged the improvement of the harbor of Pensacola, which, it was said, could be made to admit vessels of the heaviest burden, shelter at least forty ships of the line, and hold in check all the commerce of Vera Cruz.2

The rival statesmen, with eyes fixed on America,

Sept.
were, all the while, competing for European alliances. No sooner had Chatham entered on the ministry, than he rushed with headlong confidence into the plan of a great Northern League to balance the power of the Bourbons; and hastily invited Frederic of Prussia and Catherine of Russia to connect themselves intimately with England. But, at all courts, his accepting a Peerage robbed him of his lustre; and Frederic, disliking George the Third, retaining the rankling memory of having been deserted in 1763, doubting the fixedness of any Ministry in England, put the invitation aside. Choiseul was as superior in diplomacy, as his opponent had been in war; and with steady purpose and consummate skill, was establishing such relations with every power of Europe, that, in the event of new hostilities respecting America, France would have Spain for its partner, and no enemy but England.

1 Durand to Choiseul, 27 Aug. 1766.

2 Durand to Choiseul, 23 Aug. 1766.

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