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[102]

Three days after the arrival of the news of the

Chap. XLVII.} 1775. July and Aug.
Charlestown battle, Rochford, the secretary of state, called the attention of De Guines, the French ambassador, to the dispute with the colonies; and remarked that ‘many persons of both parties were thoroughly persuaded that the way to terminate the war in America, was to declare war against France.’ De Guines suppressed every sign of indignation or of surprise; and encouraged the secretary's communicativeness. It was declared to be the English opinion, that England now, as before the last peace, was a match for Spain and France united; that, in the event of a war with those powers, America, through fear of the recovery of Canada by France, would give up her contest and side with England. Rochford repeated these remarks to the Spanish minister, from indiscretion, or in the hope to intimidate the two courts; but as the ministry had no object so dear as that of keeping their places, it followed that if the nation should clamor for an attack on the house of Bourbon, they would at once become belligerent. The subject was calmly revolved by Vergennes; who was unable to imagine, how sensible people could regard a war with France as a harbor of refuge; especially as her marine, which had been almost annihilated, was restored. ‘The English cabinet is greatly mistaken,’ said he, ‘if it thinks we regret Canada; it may come to pass that they will themselves repent having made its acquisition.’ He felt the want of gaining exact information on the state of opinion in America. For that end accident offered a most trusty agent in De Bonvouloir, a French gentleman, cousin german to the Marquis de Lambert; a man of good judgment and impenetrable secrecy.

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