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[329]

Chapter 61:

Turgot and Vergennes.


March—April, 1776.

for a whole year the problem of granting aid to
Chap. LXI.} 1776. Mar.
the American insurgents had under all its aspects been debated in the cabinet of the king of France, and had not yet found its solution. Louis the Sixteenth was a bigot to the principle of regal power; but George the Third wanted, in his eyes, the seal of legitimacy: his sense of right, which prompted him to keep good faith with the English, was confused by assertions that the British ministry was capable of breaking the existing peace without a warning, if it could thus win the favor of the people, or votes in parliament: he disliked to help rebels; but these rebels were colonists, and his kingdom could recover its share in the commerce of the world only by crushing the old colonial system, from which France had been shut out. He had heard and had read very much on the subject, but without arriving at a conclusion. His ministers were irreconcilably divided. Vergennes promoted

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