a good and virtuous king.’
For a moment they
thought that danger menaced George the Third himself, and that he was deficient in the greatness of character which his position required; but his fortitude was exemplary in difficulties, and he always bore adversity with a courage that would have become a righteous cause.
Others might quail; he scoffed at the thought of an insurrection, but stationed troops where riotous disorder was apprehended.
‘I know,’ said he, ‘what my duty to my country makes me undertake, and threats cannot prevent me from doing that to the utmost extent.’
A rumor prevailed that seven or eight members of the opposition would be sent to the tower of London
; but this happened only to Stephen Sayre
, an American by birth, a man of no political importance.
Loyal addresses began to come in, to the joy of Lord North; but the king, from his fatal experience and his instincts, which, on the subject of despotic authority, were more true than those of any man in his cabinet, wished to avoid the appeal to popular opinion.
Yet for a time the public was united by the representation, that the insurrection in the colonies had been long premeditated with the deliberate design of achieving independence; and while that delusion lasted, the violent measures of coercion were acquiesced in ‘by a majority of individuals of all ranks and professions;’ yet their countenance of the ministry was passive, without zeal, and unattended by a willingness to serve in America
, so that the regiments could not be kept full by enlistments in Britain.
The foreign relations of England
became, therefore, of paramount importance.