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George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent, Vol. 8 6 0 Browse Search
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d the oldest monarchy of modern Europe, the connecting link between the world of antiquity and the modern world, assist to repress the development of the youngest power in the west? Catharine claimed to sit on the throne of the Byzantine Cesars, as heir to their dignity and their religion; and how could she so far disregard her own glory, as to take part in the American dispute, by making a shambles of the mighty empire which assumed to be the successor of Constantine's? The requisition of England was marked by so much extravagance, that nothing but the wildest credulity of statesmanship could have anticipated success. The first suggestion to Catharine that the king of England needed her aid, was flattering to her vanity, Chap. L.} 1775 Oct. and, supposing it had reference only to entanglements in Europe, she was pleased with the idea of becoming the supreme arbiter of his affairs. But when the application came to be exhibited to her as a naked demand of twenty thousand men to
er natural ally in the defence of the liberty of commerce; that a war between Britain and France would bring advantage to the navigation of the republic, if she would but maintain her neutrality; that she had never derived any benefit from a close alliance with England; that, in the war of succession, which gave to that power the key to the Mediterranean, she had nothing for her share but the total waste of her forces and her treasure; that she had religiously observed her treaties, and yet England denied her the stipulated freedom of merchandise in free bottoms, and searched and arbitrarily confiscated her ships. Besides, janizaries should be hired to subdue the colonists rather than the troops of a free state. Why should a nation who have themselves borne the title of rebels and freed themselves from oppression by the edge of their swords, employ their troops in crushing what some were pleased to call a rebellion of the Americans, who yet were an example and encouragement to all n
an forecast can perhaps neither prevent nor turn aside. If the continuation of the civil war may be regarded as infinitely advantageous to the two crowns, inasmuch as it will exhaust the victors and the vanquished, there is, on the other hand, room to fear, first, that the English ministry, feeling the insufficiency of its means, may stretch out the hand of conciliation; or, secondly, that the king of England, after conquering English America, may use it as an instrument to subjugate European England; or, thirdly, that the English ministry, beaten on the continent of America, may seek indemnity at the expense of France and Spain, to efface their shame and to conciliate the insurgents by offering them the commerce and supply of the isles; or, fourthly, that the colonists, on attaining independence, may become conquerors from necessity, and by forcing their excess of produce upon Spanish America, destroy the ties which bind our colonies to their metropolis. These different supposit