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[147] of Beaumarchais. Vergennes continued to present
Chap. L} 1775. Sept.
America to his mind in every possible aspect. He found it difficult to believe, that the mistakes, absurdity, and passion of the British ministers could be so great as they really were; otherwise he never erred in his judgment. He received hints of negotiations for Russian troops; but yet he held it impossible that the king of England should be willing to send foreign mercenaries against his own subjects. Henry the Fourth would not have accepted the aid of foreign troops to reduce Paris; their employment would render it in any event impossible to restore affectionate relations between the parent state and the colonies. But Vergennes had not penetrated the character of the British government of his day, which, in the management of domestic affairs, was tempered by a popular influence, but which, in its foreign policy, consulted only the interests or the pride of the oligarchy, and was less capable of a generous impulse than that of France. The ministry did not scruple to engage troops wherever they chanced to be in the market.

The hereditary prince of Hesse Cassel, who was already the ruler of the little principality of Hainau, had instinctively scented the wants of England, and written to George the Third: ‘I never cease to make the most ardent vows and prayers for the best of kings; I venture to offer, without the least condition, my regiment of five hundred men, all ready to sacrifice with me their life and their blood for your majesty's service. Deign to regard the motive and not the thing itself. Oh! that I could offer twenty thousand men to your majesty; it should be done with ’

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