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[53] was planning how to drive the English from the
Chap Xxviii} 1767. Feb.
Falkland Islands, and called on France to prepare to go to war in two years; ‘for Spain’ said Grimaldi, ‘cannot longer postpone inflicting chastisement on English insolence.’1 ‘This is the rhodomontade of a Don Quixote,’ said the French Minister, and Choiseul kept the guidance of affairs in his own hand, and for the time was resolved not to disturb the peace.

Executive moderation might still have saved England from a conflict. Undismayed by the disorder in the cabinet, the ill health of Chatham, the factions in a corrupt Parliament, or the unpromising aspect of foreign relations, and impressed with the necessity of giving up trifles that created uneasiness,2 Shelburne proceeded diligently to make himself master of each American3 question, and to prepare its solution.

The subject of the greatest consequence was the forming an American fund. To this end, without exercising rigor in respect to quit-rents long due, he proposed to break up the system of forestalling lands by speculators, to require that the engrossing proprietors should fulfil the conditions of their grants, and to make all future grants on a system of quitrents, which should be applied to defray the American expenses then borne by the Exchequer of Great Britain.4

1 The Marquis de Grimaldi to Prince Masserano, 20 Jan. 1767; De Guerchy at London to Choiseul, 12 Feb. 1767; D'Ossun at Madrid to Choiseul, 24 Jan. 1767. Compare Choiseul to De Guerchy of 2 Jan., and Choiseul to D'Ossun, 27 Jan. 1767.

2 Richard Jackson to Hutchinson, Jan. 1767.

3 Paper indorsed, ‘Things to be considered of in North America,’ in Lansdowne House Mss. Compare the Justice and Policy of the late Act of Parliament for Quebec, 1774, 17.

4 Circular of Shelburne to all the Governors in America, 11 Dec. 1766; Shelburne to General Gage, 11 Dec. 1766; Shelburne to Chatham, 1 Feb. 1767.

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