Whatever may or ought to be the wish of the
two crowns, nothing can arrest the course of events which sooner or later will certainly bring about the absolute independence of the English colonies, and, as an inevitable consequence, effect a total revolution in the relations of Europe and America. Of all the suppositions that can be made on the event of this war, the reduction of these colonies by England presents to the two crowns the perspective of the most lasting quiet. The Anglo-American enthusiasts for liberty may be overwhelmed by force, but their will can never be broken. If their country is laid waste, they may disperse themselves among the boundless backwoods, inaccessible to a European army, and from the depths of their retreats be always ready to trouble the English establishments on their coasts; while England would lose all the advantages that she has thus far derived from America in peace and war. If it is reduced without a universal devastation, the courage of the colonists will be like a spring which remains bent only so long as an undiminished pressure weighs it down. If my view is just, if the complete success of the English ministry would be the most fortunate result for France and Spain, it follows that the project of that ministry is the most extravagant that could be conceived; and that very few persons will doubt. Should the English government, after painful and costly efforts, fail in its hostile plans against the colonies, it will hardly be disposed at once to multiply its enemies, and form enterprises for compensation at the expense of France and Spain, when it will
Chap. LXI.} 1776. Apr.
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