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[57] Merchants of New-York, at the instigation of a
Chap. Xxviii} 1767. Feb.
person much connected1 with Charles Townshend, had sent a very temperate Petition,2 setting forth some of the useless grievances of the Acts of Trade, and praying for the free exportation of their lumber and an easier exchange of products with the West Indies.3 The reasonable request provoked universal dislike; Grenville and his friends appealed to it as fresh evidence, that nothing would give satisfaction to the Colonists, but a repeal of all restrictions on trade, and freedom from all subordination and dependence. Besides; Townshend, whom Chatham had thrice4 denounced to Grafton as ‘incurable,’ was more and more inclining to the same views, and in giving them effect, exercised over Grafton the superiority, which intellectual vigor and indefatigable activity are sure to win over selfindulgent indolence and sluggish, well-intentioned dulness.

At this critical conjuncture, when nothing but Chatham's presence could restore activity to the Administration, and draw Parliament from its Lethargy,5 the gout had returned upon him at Marlborough on his way to London.6 But business would not wait. On the eighteenth of February, there appeared in the account of the Extraordinaries, a large and unusual expenditure on the continent of America.

1 Shelburne to Chatham, 6 Feb. 1767; Chat. Corr. III. 191; S. Sayre to J. Reed, 3 Sept. 1766.

2 Prior Documents, 165.

3 W. S. Johnson's Journal, Monday, 16 Feb. 1767; Garth to Committee of S. C., 12 March, 1767.

4 Chatham to Grafton, 7 Dec. 1766, Ms.; Chatham to Grafton, 23 Jan. 1767. This letter is printed in the Chat. Corr. III. 200, with the erroneous date of Feb. 9. The third letter of Chatham to Grafton, in which he calls C. Townshend incurable, is a letter really dated 9 Feb. 1767. See Grafton's Autobiography for all three.

5 De Guerchy to Choiseul, 3 Feb. 1767.

6 Chatham to Shelburne, 16 Feb. 1767, Marlborough.

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