, a Colonel of Infantry, from Alsace, able to
Chap. XXIX.} 1767.
converse with Americans
of German parentage in their own tongue.
His written instructions, dated on the twenty-second day of April, enjoined him to repair to Amsterdam
, the free city which was the great centre of commercial intelligence, and to examine the prevailing report respecting the English Colonies
If it should seem well founded, he was ordered to go to them; to ascertain their wants, in respect of engineers and artillery officers, or munitions of war, or provisions; the strength of their purpose to withdraw from the English
government; their resources in troops, citadels and intrenched posts; the plan on which they projected their revolt, and the chiefs who were to assume its direction.
‘The commission which I give you,’ said Choiseul
, ‘is difficult, and demands intelligence.
Ask of me the means which you think necessary for its execution; I will furnish you with them all.’1
The eagerness of the Minister
suffered his hopes to run ahead of realities; for a Frenchman could not compute the power of Anglo-American forbearance; nor had the brave officer whom he employed, sagacity enough to measure the movement of a revolution; but from this time Choiseul
sought in every quarter accurate accounts of the progress of opinion in America
, alike in the writings of Franklin
, the reports current among the best informed merchants, and even in New England
sermons, from which curious extracts are to this day preserved among the State Papers