needed her aid, was flattering to her vanity,
and, supposing it had reference only to entanglements in Europe
, she was pleased with the idea of becoming the supreme arbiter of his affairs.
But when the application came to be exhibited to her as a naked demand of twenty thousand men to be shipped to America
, where they were to serve, under British command, not as auxiliaries but as mercenaries, with no liberty left to herself but to fix the price of her subjects in money and so plunge her hand as deeply as she pleased into the British
exchequer, the offer was taken as an offence to her pride, and an insult to her honor.
Using no palliatives she framed accordingly a sarcastic and unequivocal answer: ‘I am just beginning to enjoy peace, and your majesty knows that my empire has need of repose.
It is also known what must be the condition of an army, though victorious, when it comes out of a long war in a murderous climate.
There is an impropriety in employing so considerable a body in another hemisphere, under a power almost unknown to it, and almost deprived of all correspondence with its sovereign.
My own confidence in my peace, which has cost me so great efforts to acquire, demands absolutely that I do not deprive myself so soon of so considerable a part of my forces.
Affairs on the side of Sweden
are but put to sleep, and those of Poland
are not yet definitively terminated.
Moreover, I should not be able to prevent myself from reflecting on the consequences which would result for our own dignity, for that of the two monarchies and the two nations, from this junction of our forces, simply to calm a rebellion which is not supported by any foreign power.’