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[162] ‘If we suffer by the war,’ said Lord North,
Chap. LI.} 1775. Oct.
‘the Americans will suffer much more. Yet,’ he added, ‘I wish to God, if it were possible, to put the colonies on the same footing they were in 1763.’ His seeming disinclination to the measures of his own ministry, justly drew on him the rebuke from Fox for not resigning his place. ‘The present war,’ argued Adair at length, ‘is unjust in its commencement, injurious to both countries in its prosecution, and ruinous in its event, staking the fate of a great empire against a shadow. The quarrel took its rise from the assertion of a right, at best but doubtful in itself; a right, from whence the warmest advocates for it have long been forced to admit that this country can never derive a single shilling of advantage. The Americans, it is said, will be satisfied with nothing less than absolute independence. They do not say so themselves; they have said the direct contrary: “Restore the ancient constitution of the empire, under which all parts of it have flourished; place us in the situation we were in the year sixty three, and we will submit to your regulations of commerce, and return to our obedience and constitutional subjection:” this is the language of the Americans. Our ministers tell us they will not in truth be content with what they themselves have professed to demand. Have you tried them? Make the experiment. Take them at their word. If they should recede from their own proposals, you may then have recourse to war, with the advantage of a united, instead of a divided people at home.’ Sir Gilbert Elliot was unwilling ‘to send a large armament to America without sending at the same time terms of ’

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