that the Colonies shared in the licentious-
ness of opinion, which he thought was infusing itself into all orders of men; and that a due obedience and submission to law must in all cases go before the removal of grievances.
‘Otherwise,’ said he, ‘we shall soon be no better than the savages.’2
He was now accustomed ‘to talk a great deal about America
and he told Shelburne
plainly that the Billeting Act
‘should be enforced;’ though he declined ‘to suggest the mode.’
Besides; the dependence of the Colonies was believed by the public to be at stake;4
‘underwent the imputation of rebellion.’5
The difficulties that beset Shelburne
were infinitely increased by the condition of parties in Great Britain
The old Whig aristocracy was passing out of power with so ill a grace, that they preferred the immediate gratification of their passions to every consideration of wisdom and expediency.
America was the theme in all companies, yet was discussed according to its bearings on personal ambition; justice and prudence were lost sight of in unreflecting zeal for a momentary victory.
Men struggled for a present advantage more than for any system of government; and the liberties of two millions of their countrymen, the interests of a continent, the unity of the British
empire, were left to be swayed by the accidents of a Parliamentary skirmish.6