success in reducing the American
colonies to un-
conditional submission, would have stained the glory of a nation whose great name was due to the freedom of its people, and would, moreover, have been dangerous, if not fatal, to her own liberties.
Yet the word of the king would be irrevocable; for to what power in England
could the colonies look for interposition in their behalf?
Not to the landed aristocracy, which would not suffer the authority of parliament to be questioned; not to the electors, for they had just chosen a parliament, and thus exhausted their power of mediation; not to the city of Bristol
, which bounded its political liberality by its commercial interests; not to the city of London
, for with the unprincipled Wilkes
as its Lord Mayor
, it could offer no support beyond a noisy remonstrance; not to the public opinion of England
, for though it really preferred that the colonies should be tolerably governed, it never showed forbearance when the imperial supremacy of England
Conscious that his will was unrestrained, the king made his decision without a moment's hesitation in conformity with his own nature; and he wished the world to know that his will could not change.
To render retreat impossible, on the twenty third of August, two days after receiving a copy of the petition of congress, he made a proclamation for suppressing rebellion and sedition.
It set forth, that many of his subjects in the colonies had proceeded to open and avowed rebellion, by arraying themselves to withstand the execution of the law, and traitorously levying war against him; but its menaces were chiefly directed against men in England
‘There is reason,’