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Chapter 19:

The king Drives out the Newcastle Whigs.— the dawn of the New republic.


The world did not at once perceive the purposes
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of the new ministers, who were careful at first to adopt as literally as possible the orders of William Pitt, and his plan for conducting the war. He had infused his own haughtiness and determined spirit into the army and navy of England; the strings which he had struck with power still vibrated; his light, like that of ‘an annihilated star,’ still shone brilliantly to the world; and it was without fear, that, in the first days of January, 1762, England, justified by the avowed alliance between the branches of the House of Bourbon, extended the strife to the Peninsula and the colonies of Spain.

Behold, then, at last, the great league of the Roman Catholic powers, France, Spain, Austria, and the German Empire, the mighty authorities of the Middle Age, blessed by the consecrating prayers of the see of Rome, and united in arms; but America and the future of humanity were already safe. The character of the war was changed. The alliance of [433] France and Spain had been made under the influence

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of Choiseul, a pupil of the new ideas, the enemy of the Jesuits, and the patron of philosophy; and the federation of the weaker maritime states presented itself to the world as the protector of equality on the seas. England, on the other hand, had no motive to continue hostilities, but the love of rapine and of conquest; and on the twelfth of January, about a week after the declaration against Spain, the king directed measures to be taken to detach Austria from the House of Bourbon, and recover its alliance for England.

The proposition was made through Sir Joseph Yorke, at the Hague, who was to tempt the empress by ‘the hope of some ulterior acquisitions in Italy.’ The experienced diplomatist promptly hinted to his employers that offers from Prussia, that is, the offer of the restoration of Silesia, would be more effective. A clandestine proposition from England to Austria was itself a treachery to Frederic and a violation of treaties; it became doubly so, when the consequence of success in the negotiation would certainly have been the employment of England's influence to compel Frederic to the cession of Silesia. To promise acquisitions in Italy, with all whose powers England was at peace, was an outrage on the laws of nations; the proposition, if accepted, equally implied perfidy in Austria towards France. ‘Her Imperial Majesty and her minister,’ said Kaunitz, ‘cannot understand the proper meaning of this confidential overture of the English;’ and it did not remain a secret.

No one desired the cessation of hostilities more than Frederic, if he could but secure his own possessions. ‘To terminate this deadly war advantageously,’ [434] thus he wrote, in January, 1762, to George,

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‘there is need of nothing but constancy; but we must persevere to the end. I see difficulties still without number; instead of appalling me, they encourage me by the hope of overcoming them.’ Nothing could be more praiseworthy than the desire of the British Government to establish peace; but nothing could be more pusillanimous than the method adopted to promote it. Ignorant of continental affairs, George the Third and his Favorite held it necessary to break or bend the firmness of will of the king of Prussia; and with that view invoked the interposition of Russia. The female autocrat of the North, the Empress Elizabeth, who, during her reign, abolished the punishment of death, but, by her hatred of the Prussian king, brought provinces into misery and tens of thousands to massacre on battle-grounds, a childish person, delighting in dress and new clothes, in intoxication and the grossest excesses of lewdness, was no more. So soon as it was known, that she had been succeeded by her nephew, the frank, impetuous Peter the Third, who cherished an unbounded admiration and sincere friendship for Frederic, the British minister at St. Petersburg was provided with a credit of one hundred thousand pounds to be used as bribes,1 and was instructed by Bute to moderate the excessive friendship of the emperor for Frederic; the strength of that friendship was a source of anxiety.2

At the same time an attempt was made to induce parliament to abandon the Prussian alliance; and [435] early in February, Bedford, though a member of the

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cabinet, offered a resolution in the House of Lords against continuing the war in Germany. In the debate Bute did but assume an appearance of opposition, and the question was only evaded and postponed. It was evidently the royal wish to compel Frederic to the hard necessity of ceding territory to Austria. A statement was demanded of him of his idea on the subject of peace, and of his resources for holding out, as a preliminary to the renewal of the subsidy from England. But he rendered no such account, which could have been but an inventory of his weakness. The armies of Russia were encamped in Prussia Proper; to Gallitzin the minister of Russia at London, Bute intimated that England would aid the emperor to retain a part of the conquests made from the king of Prussia, if he would continue to hold him in check. But the chivalric Czar, indignant at the perfidy, inclosed Gallitzin's despatch to Frederic himself,3 and hastening to reconcile his empire with his illustrious friend, restored all the conquests that had been made from the kingdom to that prince, settled with him a peace including a guaranty of Silesia, and finally transferred a Russian army to his camp. The fact, that Prussia had transformed Russia from an enemy into an ally, while England had a new enemy in Spain, and a dependent in Portugal, gave a plausible reason for discontinuing the grant to Prussia. Still the subsidy was promised; but ‘the condition of the bounty4 of this nation,’ wrote Bute, at the king's command, ‘is the employment of it towards [436] the procurement of peace, not the continuance of
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war.’ ‘This Englishman,’ said Frederic, ‘thinks that money does every thing, and that there is no money but in England.’5 And, deserted by his ally, he was left to tread in solitude the paths of greatness. Little did George the Third dream that he was filling his own cup with bitterness to the brim; that the day was soon to come, when he in his turn would entreat benefits from Frederic, and find them inexorably withheld.

During these negotiations, and before the end of March, news reached Europe of victories in the West Indies, achieved by Monckton with an army of twelve thousand men, assisted by Rodney and a fleet of sixteen sail of the line and thirteen frigates. On the seventh of January, the British armament appeared off Martinico, the richest and best of the French colonies, strongly guarded by natural defences, which art had improved. Yet, on the fourteenth of February, the governor and inhabitants were forced to capitulate. Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent's, were soon after occupied; so that the outer Caribbee Islands, in the whole extent of the arc which bends from St. Domingo towards the continent of South America, were British. For the siege of Havana the continental colonies were ordered to contribute quotas of men, and reinforcements were on their way from England.

These successes gave new courage to the king's friends to pursue their system. Newcastle, who had received ‘all kinds of disgusts’ from his associates in the cabinet, seized the occasion of withholding the subsidy [437] from Prussia to indulge with Bute his habit of

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complaint. But ‘the Earl never requested me to continue in office,’ said Newcastle, ‘nor said a civil thing to me;’ and at last most lingeringly the veteran statesman resigned. English writers praise his disinterestedness, because the childless man, who himself possessed enormous wealth, who while in office had provided bountifully for his kindred, and who left his post only to struggle in old age to recover it and act his part anew, did not accept a pension. America gives him the better praise, that, beneath all his frivolity and follies, he had a vein of good sense, which restrained him from decisive attacks on colonial liberty.

So fell the old whig aristocracy which had so long governed England. It was false to the cause of liberty and betrayed the man of the people, only to be requited with contumely by those who reaped benefits from its treachery. Its system of government under its old form, could never be restored. It needed to be purified by a long conflict with the inheritors of its methods of corruption, before it could be awakened to a perception of its duty and animated to undertake the work of reform. But the power of the people was coming with an energy which it would be neither safe nor possible to neglect. Royalty itself no less than aristocracy was doomed. In the very days in which the English whig aristocracy was in its agony, Rousseau, the most eloquent writer of French prose, told the world, that ‘nature makes neither princes, nor rich men, nor grandees;’ that ‘the sovereignty of the people is older than the institutions which restrain it; and that these institutions are not obligatory but by consent.6 You put trust,’ said he, ‘in the actual order

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of society, without reflecting that this order is subject to inevitable changes. We are approaching the state of crisis and the age of revolutions.’ ‘Were all the kings put away, they would hardly be missed, and things would go on none the worse.’7 ‘I hold it impossible that the great monarchies of Europe should endure much longer.’8

On the retirement of Newcastle, Bute, near the end of May, transferring the seals of the Northern Department to George Grenville, became first lord of the treasury, the feeblest of British prime ministers. Bedford remained privy seal; Egremont, Grenville's brother-in-law, secretary of state for the Southern Department and America; while the able Lord North retained his seat at the Treasury Board. Early in June, on the death of Anson, Halifax returned from Ireland to join the cabinet as first lord of the admiralty. Charles Townshend was still secretary at war, yet having that confidence in his own genius which made him restless in occupying a station inferior to Grenville's.

The confidence of the ministry was confirmed by success in war. The British army and navy had acquired a habit of victory; the British men-of-war reposed in the consciousness of maritime supremacy; and, as the hawk, from his resting-place among the clouds, gazes calmly around for his prey, their eye glanced over every ocean in search of the treasureships of Spain. ‘Great monarchies,’ Choiseul had [439] said9 in April, ‘spite of redoubled misfortunes,

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should have confidence in the solidity of their existence. If I were the master, we would stand against England as Spain did against the Moors; and if this course were truly adopted, England would be reduced and destroyed within thirty years.’

But the exhausted condition of France compelled her to seek peace; in February and March, the subject had been opened for discussion through the ministers of Sardinia in London and Versailles; and after passing April in the consideration of plans, early in May Bute was able to submit to Bedford his project. ‘I am glad of the peace as it has been chalked out,’ said Bedford; ‘a much longer continuance of the war, however relieved by the lustre of farther conquests, is likely to prove fatal to the nation;’ and in July he accepted the embassy to France, though the appointment was not declared till the first of September.

“A good peace with foreign enemies,” said Hutchinson, from Massachusetts, as early as March, ‘would enable us to make a better defence against our domestic foes.’. The relations of Ireland and of America to the British king and the British parliament were held to be the same. By Poyning's Act, as it was called, no bill could be accepted in Ireland, until it had been transmitted to England, and returned with the assent of the Privy Council. The principle had already been applied by royal instructions to particular branches of American legislation. The [440] design began to be more and more openly avowed, of

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demanding a suspending clause in every act.

It had been already decided that every American judge should hold his appointment at the royal pleasure. Hardy, governor of New Jersey, having violated his instructions, by issuing a commission during good behavior, was promptly dismissed; and at a time when the new-modelling of the charter governments was contemplated, William Franklin, the only son of the great adversary of the proprietaries of Pennsylvania, to ‘the extreme astonishment and rage’ of the younger Penn, at the suggestion of Bute, became his successor.

When New York refused to vote salaries to its chief justice, unless he should receive an independent commission, the Board of Trade, in June, 1762,10 recommended that he should have his salary from the royal quitrents. ‘Such a salary,’ it was pleaded to the Board by the chief justice himself, ‘could not fail to render the office of great service to his Majesty, in securing the dependence of the colony on the crown, and its commerce to Great Britain.’11 It was further hinted, that it would insure judgments in favor of the crown against all intrusions upon the royal domain by the great landed proprietors of New York, and balance their power and influence in the Assembly. The appeal was irresistible, and, by the direction of Bute and his colleagues, all of whom favored American taxation by act of parliament, the measure was adopted. Thus was consummated the system of subjecting the halls of justice to the prerogative. The king, in the royal provinces, instituted courts, [441] named the judges, removed them at pleasure, fixed

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the amount of their salaries, and paid them out of funds that were independent of legislative grants. The system, established as yet in one only of the older provinces, was designed for all. In no part of the continent was opposition to the British government more deeply rooted, more rational and steadfast, than in New York, where the popular lawyers continued their appeals, through the weekly press, to the public mind, and, supported by the great landholders, excited the people to menace resistance and to forebode independence.

It began to be widely known, that at the end of the war some general regulation of the governments of the colonies would be attempted; and the officers of the crown who wished to escape the responsibility attached to a dependence on the people, were quite certain that a provision would be made for their independent support.12 The purpose of raising a revenue by parliament at the peace was no longer concealed; and chastisement was prepared for Maryland and Pennsylvania, the refractory provinces which had so much tasked the attention of the great English lawyers, Mansfield, Charles Yorke, and Pratt. The perseverance of Maryland in disobeying the royal requisition was laid before the king, who expressed what was called ‘just displeasure’ at the ‘obstinate’ disobedience of the Assembly of that province. He censured them as not ‘animated by a sense of their duty to their king and country.’ ‘Though there is little room,’ added Egremont, ‘to expect a change in persons who seem determined to adhere to their own [442] opinion, his Majesty has judged it proper to direct me

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to express his sentiments on the conduct of the Assembly of your province, that they may not deceive themselves by supposing that their behavior is not seen here in its true light.’13 The despatch bore the impress of George the Third, and shadowed forth his intentions.

The reprimand of the legislature of Pennsylvania was delayed till Sir Jeffrey Amherst could report its disregard of his final appeal. On receiving from him full accounts, a similar letter conveyed to the Assembly of Pennsylvania ‘the king's high disapprobation of their artfully evading to pay any obedience to his Majesty's requisitions.’14

No one was more bent on reducing the colonies to implicit obedience than the blunt, humane, and honest, but self-willed Duke of Bedford, who, on the sixth day of September, sailed for France with full powers to negotiate a peace. Scarcely was he gone, before Egremont, Pitt's successor, desiring, like Pitt, to conduct the negotiation from ministry to ministry, limited the powers of Bedford. The angry duke remonstrated to Bute, who just then, in company with the Duke of York, had been decorated with the order of the Garter, at a very full chapter, where Temple sat directly by his side in silent sullenness. The prime minister incurred the enmity of Egremont, by promising to ask of the cabinet a restitution to Bedford of his full powers. ‘Are you sure of the cabinet's concurrence?’ asked Rigby. ‘The king will be [443] obeyed,’ replied Bute, ‘and will talk to the two secre-

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taries on their scruples.’ And it was so. The young man of three-and-twenty subdued his two secretaries of state, secretly laughing all the while at their displeasure and dismay. ‘Judge of Grenville's countenance,’ said he to Bute, ‘by that of his brother,’ Earl of Temple, ‘at the installation.’ ‘Lord Egremont was wise enough to fly into a passion in the closet.’ ‘I have but one sentiment to offer,’ said he to the king,—‘which is, to send the Duke of Bedford fixed articles for the preliminaries, upon no event to be changed, and if the French refuse to comply, immediately to recall him.’ ‘The sentiment,’ said George, who repeated the conversation, ‘is totally different from mine; a boy of ten years old might as well have been sent to Paris on this errand.’ The secretary yielded, and some subjects were left at the discretion of Bedford; but Bute, with singular perfidy, indirectly, through the Sardinian minister, and in his own handwriting, communicated15 to the French ambassador the decision adopted, and even minutes of the advice given by the various members of the cabinet council, on condition that the details should be kept religiously from Spain, and from the Duke of Bedford. Thus the ministry of the hostile power, with which Bedford was to negotiate a peace, was, without his knowledge, made acquainted with his most secret instructions. Nothing better explains the character of Bute, and its discovery drew on him the implacable displeasure and contempt of Bedford.

The consummation of the peace languished and was delayed; its failure even was anticipated, because [444] Grimaldi, for Spain, was persuaded that the expedi-

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tion of the English against Havana must be defeated. But before the end of the twenty-ninth day of September news arrived of a very different result.

Havana was then, as now, the chief place in the West Indies, built on a harbor large enough to shelter all the navies of Europe, capable of being made impregnable from the sea, having docks in which ships of war of the first magnitude were constructed, rich from the products of the surrounding country, and the centre of the trade with Mexico. Of this magnificent city England undertook the conquest. The command of her army, in which Carleton and Howe each led two battalions, was given to Albemarle, the friend and pupil of the Duke of Cumberland. The fleet was intrusted to Pococke, already illustrious as the conqueror in two naval battles in the East.

Assembling the fleet and transports at Martinico, and off Cape St. Nicholas, the adventurous admiral sailed directly through the Bahama Straits, and on the sixth day of June came in sight of the low coast round Havana. The Spanish forces for the defence of the city were about forty-six hundred; the English had eleven thousand effective men, and were recruited by nearly a thousand negroes from the Leeward Islands, and by fifteen hundred from Jamaica. Before the end of July, the needed reinforcements arrived from New York and New England; among these was Putnam, the brave ranger of Connecticut, and numbers of men less happy, because never destined to revisit their homes.

On the thirtieth of July, after a siege of twentynine [445] days, during which the Spaniards lost a thousand

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men, and the brave Don Luis de Velasco was mortally wounded, the Moro Castle was taken by storm. On the eleventh of August, the governor of Havana capitulated, and the most important station in the West Indies fell into the hands of the English. At the same time, nine ships of the line and four frigates were captured in the harbor. The booty of property belonging to the king of Spain was estimated at ten millions of dollars.

This most memorable siege was conducted in midsummer, against a city which lies just within the tropic. The country round the Moro Castle is rocky. To bind and carry the fascines was, of itself, a work of incredible labor, made possible only by aid of African slaves. Sufficient earth to hold the fascines firm was gathered with difficulty from crevices in the rocks. Once, after a drought of fourteen days, the grand battery took fire by the flames, and crackling and spreading where water could not follow it, nor earth stifle it, was wholly consumed. The climate spoiled a great part of the provisions. Wanting good water, very many died in agonies from thirst. More fell victims to a putrid fever, of which the malignity left but three or four hours between robust health and death. Some wasted away with loathsome disease. Over the graves the carrion-crows hovered, and often scratched away the scanty earth which rather hid than buried the dead. Hundreds of carcasses floated on the ocean. And yet such was the enthusiasm of the English, such the resolute zeal of the sailors and soldiers, such the unity of action between the fleet and army, that the vertical sun of June and July, the heavy rains of August, raging [446] fever, and strong and well defended fortresses, all

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the obstacles of nature and art, were surmounted, and the most decisive victory of the war was completed.

The scene in the British cabinet was changed by the capture of Havana. Bute was indifferent to further acquisitions in America, for he held it ‘of much greater importance to bring the old colonies into order than to plant new ones;’16 but all his colleagues thought otherwise; and Bedford was unwilling to restore Havana to Spain except for the cession of Porto Rico and the Floridas. The king, who persisted in the purpose of peace, intervened. He himself solicited the assent of Cumberland to his policy; he caused George Grenville, who hesitated to adopt his views, to exchange with Halifax the post of secretary of state for that of the head of the admiralty; and he purchased the support of Fox as a member of the cabinet and leader of the House of Commons by the offer of a peerage. These movements enraged both the people and the aristocracy; Wilkes, through The North Briton, inflamed the public mind; while the Duke of Devonshire and the Marquis of Rockingham resigned their offices in the royal household. An opposition seemed certain; nor was it expected by the friends of the prerogative, that ‘ancient systems of power would fall to the ground without a struggle.’17 ‘The king's rest is not disturbed,’ said Bute; ‘he is pleased to have people fairly take off the mask, and looks with the utmost contempt on what [447] he sees is going forward;’18 and on the last day of

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October, he called for the council-book, and struck from it the name of the Duke of Devonshire; a high indignity, almost without example.

The principal representatives of the old whig aristocracy were driven into retirement, and the king was passionately resolved never again to receive them into a ministry. In the impending changes, Charles Townshend coveted the administration of America, and Bute gladly offered him the secretary-ship of the plantations and Board of Trade. Thrice Townshend had interviews with the king, whose favor he always courted; but for the time he declined the station from an unwillingness to attach himself to Fox and Bute, and not from any apprehension of the sweeping whirlwind which was just beginning to rise at the menace of danger.

At that very time, men were earnestly discussing in Boston the exclusive right of America to raise and to apply its own revenues. The governor and council had, in advance of authority by law, expended three or four hundred pounds sterling on a ship and sloop, that were to cruise against privateers, for the protection of fishermen. Otis, in September, 1762, seized the opportunity in a report to claim the right of originating all taxes as the most darling privilege of the representatives. ‘It would be of little consequence to the people,’ said he, on the floor of the House, ‘whether they were subject to George or Louis, the king of Great Britain, or the French king, if both were arbitrary, as both would be, if both could levy taxes without parliament.’ ‘Treason! treason!’ shouted [448] Paine, the member from Worcester. ‘There is not

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the least ground,’ said Bernard in a message, ‘for the insinuation under color of which that sacred and well beloved name is brought into question.’ Otis, who was fiery, but not obstinate, erased the offensive words, as his sentiments were fully expressed without them; but immediately, claiming to be one

Who dared to love his country and be poor,

he vindicated himself through the press.

Invoking the authority of ‘the most wise, most honest, and most impartial Locke,’ ‘as great an ornament as the Church of England ever had,’ because ‘of moderate and tolerant principles,’ and one who ‘wrote expressly to establish the throne which George the Third now held,’ he undertook to reply to those who could not bear that ‘liberty and property should be enjoyed by the vulgar.’

Deeply convinced of the reality of ‘the ideas of right and wrong,’ he derived his argument from original right. ‘God made all men naturally equal. The ideas of earthly grandeur are acquired, not innate. Kings were made for the good of the people, not the people for them. No government has a right to make slaves of the subject. Most governments are, in fact, arbitrary, and consequently the curse and scandal of human nature; yet none are, of right, arbitrary. By the laws of God and nature, government must not raise taxes on the property of the people, without the consent of the people or their deputies.’ And it was reasoned, that ‘the advantage of being a Briton rather than a Frenchman, consisted in liberty.’

As a question of national law, Otis maintained the rights of a colonial assembly to be equal to [449] those of the House of Commons, and that to raise or

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apply money without its consent, was as great an innovation as for the king and House of Lords to usurp legislative authority.

The privileges of Massachusetts, it was held, were safe under the shelter of its charter and the common law; yet Otis did not fail to cite, also, the preamble to the British statute of 1740, for naturalizing foreigners, where ‘the subjects in the colonies are plainly declared entitled to all the privileges of the people of Great Britain.’

In conclusion, he warned ‘all plantation governors’ not to spend their whole time, as he declared ‘most of them’ did, ‘in extending the prerogative beyond all bounds;’ and he pledged himself ‘ever, to the utmost of his capacity and power, to vindicate the liberty of his country and the rights of mankind.’

The Vindication of Otis filled the town of Boston with admiration of the patriotism of its author, and the boldness of his doctrines. ‘A more sensible thing,’ said Brattle, one of the Council, ‘never was written.’ By the royalists its author was denounced as ‘the chief incendiary,’ a ‘seditious’ ‘firebrand,’ and a ‘leveller.’ ‘I am almost tempted,’ confessed the unpopular Hutchinson, ‘to take for my motto Odi profantum vulgus,’ hatred to the people. ‘I will write the history of my own times, like Bishop Burnet, and paint characters as freely; it shall not be published while I live, but I will be revenged on some of the rascals after I am dead;’ and he pleaded fervently that Bernard should reserve his favor exclusively for ‘the friends to government.’ ‘I do not say,’ cried Mayhew from the pulpit, on the annual Thanksgiving day, ‘I do not say our invaluable rights [450] have been struck at; but if they have, they are not

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wrested from us; and may righteous Heaven blast the designs, though not the soul, of that man, whoever he be amongst us, that shall have the hardiness to attack them.’ Thomas Hollis, a wealthy Englishman, a lover of humanity, a devoted friend to America, sent word to Boston to build no hopes upon the king, and already foresaw the approaching and certain independence of America.

1 Bute to Keith, 6. Feb. 1762, in Raumer, II. 492. There is a copy of the letter among the Mitchell Papers in the British Museum.

2 Bute to Keith, 26 February, 1762, in Raumer, II. 501.

3 Histoire de la Guerre de Sept Ans, chap. 15. But compare the denial, in Adolphus: Hist., i. 80, and Bute to Mitchell, in Appendix to Adolphus, i. 587.

4 Bute to Mitchell, 9 April, 1762.

5 Histoire de la Guerre, &c. in $CEuvres Posthumes, IV. 284.

6 Contract [438] Social, printed in April, 1762.

7 From Emile.

8 Note to a passage in the Third Book of Emile. That work was published in May, 1762.

9 Choiseul's Despatch of 5 April, 1762. Flassan: Histoire de la Diplomatie Francaise, VI. 466

10 Representation of the Board to the king, 11 June, 1762.

11 Pratt to the Lords of Trade, 24 May, 1762.

12 Bernard to Shelburne, 4 January, 1767. Compare, too, Novanglus.

13 H. Sharpe to Egremont, 25 April, Egremont to H. Sharpe, 10 July, 1762.

14 Egremont to Gov. of Pennsylvania, 27 Nov., 1762.

15 Wiffen's House of Russell, II. 506.

16 Knox Extra official papers, II. 29.

17 Lord John Russell's Introduction to vol. III. of the Bedford Correspondence, XXVII.

18 Wiffen, II. 503.

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