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[66] death of a son, who left infant children, and one
Chap. XXIX.} 1767. April.
of the loveliest women in England a heart-broken widow to weep herself to death for sorrow,—came to the House of Lords to move an Address, that the King in Council would declare the Massachusetts Act of Amnesty null and void.1 The Ministry contended truly, that the motion was needless, as the Act would certainly be rejected in the usual course of business. ‘Perhaps we had best look into the Massachusetts Charter before we come to a decision,’ said one of the Administration. ‘No!’ cried Lord Townshend. ‘Let us deliberate no longer; let us act with vigor, now, while we can call the Colonies ours. If you do not, they will very soon be lost for ever.’

Lord Mansfield2 spoke in the same strain, descanting ‘upon the folly and wickedness of the American incendiaries,’ and drawing an animated picture of the fatal effects to England and to the Colonies, which the ‘deplorable event of their disjunction must produce.’3

All that he said carried conviction to the House of Lords,4 and hastened the very event which he deplored. In the six hours debate, the resistance of New-York and Massachusetts5 had been so highly colored, that Choiseul began to think the time for the great American insurrection was come. He resolved, therefore, to send an emissary across the Atlantic, and selected for that purpose the brave and upright De

1 Journals of the Lords, XXXI. 566.

2 W. S. Johnson to Pitkin, 11 April, 1767; W. S. Johnson's Journal, 10 April, 1767; De Guerchy to Choiseul, 11 and 13 April, 1767; Horace Walpole to Mann, 17 April, 1767; Walpole's Memoirs, II. 454.

3 Mauduit to Hutchinson, 11 April, 1767; Note to Hutchinson's Hist. III. 171.

4 Extract of a letter from London.

5 Benj. Franklin to Ross, London, 11 April, 1767; W. S. Johnson to Dyer, 10 April, 1767.

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