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[133] so ran its words, ‘to apprehend that such rebellion
Chap. XLIX.} 1775. Aug.
hath been much promoted and encouraged by the traitorous correspondence, counsels, and comfort of divers wicked and desperate persons within our realm;’ not only all the officers civil and military, but all subjects of the realm, were therefore called upon to disclose all traitorous conspiracies, and to transmit to one of the secretaries of state ‘full information of all persons who should be found carrying on correspondence with, or in any manner or degree aiding or abetting the persons now in open arms and rebellion against the government within any of the colonies in North America, in order to bring to condign punishment the authors, perpetrators, and abettors of such traitorous designs.’

This proclamation, aimed at Chatham, Camden, Barre, and their friends, and at the boldest of the Rockingham party, even more than against the Americans, was read without the customary ceremonies at the Royal Exchange, where it was received with a general hiss. The ministry could no longer retrace their steps without resigning their places; war was menaced against the remnant of a popular party in England. As to the colonies, the king would perish rather than consent to repeal the alterations in the charter of Massachusetts, or yield the absolute authority of parliament.

The progress of these discussions was closely watched by the agents of France. Its ambassador, just after Penn's arrival, wrote of the king and his ministers to Vergennes: ‘These people appear to me in a delirium; that there can be no conciliation we have now the certainty;’ ‘Rochford even ’

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