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[343] Spanish ambassador, to consider the dangers that me-
Chap. LXI.} 1776. Apr.
naced the two kingdoms and the necessity of preparing for war, neither Turgot nor Malesherbes was present. Vergennes was left to pursue his own policy without obstruction, and he followed the precedent set by England during the troubles in Corsica. After a
year's hesitation and resistance, the king of France, early in May, informed the king of Spain that he had resolved, under the name of a commercial house, to advance a million of French livres, about two hundred thousand dollars, towards the supply of the wants of the Americans; the Catholic king, after a few weeks' delay, using the utmost art to conceal his act, assigning a false reason at his own treasury for demanding the money, and admitting no man in Spain into the secret of its destination except Grimaldi, remitted to Paris a draft for a million more as his contribution. Beaumarchais, who was trusted in the American business and in eighteen months had made eight voyages to London, had been very fretful, as if the scheme which he had importunately urged upon the king had been censured and rejected. ‘I sat long in the pit,’ so Vergennes defended himself, ‘before I took a part on the stage; I have known men of all classes and of every temper of mind; in general, they all railed and found fault; and yet I have seen them in their turn commit the errors which they had so freely condemned; for an active or a passive principle, call it as you will, brings men always towards a common centre. Do not think advice rejected, because it is not eagerly adopted; all slumber is not a lethargy.’ The French court resolved to increase its

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