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anada would hasten the independence of British America, and he was now from vantage ground to watch his prophecy come true. The philosophers of the day, like the king, wished the happiness of the people, and public opinion required that they should be represented in the cabinet. Maurepas complied, and in July, 1774, the place of minister of the marine was conferred on Turgot, whose name was as yet little known at Paris, and whose artlessness made him even less dangerous as a rival than Vergennes. I am told he never goes to mass, said the king, doubtingly, and yet consented to the appointment. In five weeks, Turgot so won upon his sovereign's good will, that he was transferred to the ministry of finance. This was the wish of all the philosophers; of D'Alembert, Condorcet, Bailly, La Harpe, Marmontel, Thomas, Condillac, Morellet, and Voltaire. Nor of them alone. Turgot, said Malesherbes, has the heart of L'Hopital, and the head of Bacon. His purity, moreover, gave him clearsig
east as the king of England, who, by law and the constitu- Chap. XVI.} 1774. Oct. Nov. tion, was bound to guard the franchises of his peopleagainst corruption. You will learn with interest, thus Garnier, in November, announced his bargain to Vergennes, that you will have in the house of commons, a member who will belong to you. His vote will not help us much; but the copies of even the most secret papers, and the clear and exact report which he can daily furnish us, will contribute essentiala vote of about five to one. But Rockingham, Shelburne, Camden, Stanhope, and five other peers made a written protest against the inconsiderate temerity which might precipitate the country into a civil war. The king's speech, wrote Garnier to Vergennes, will complete the work of alienating the colonies. Every Chap. XVI.} 1774. Dec. day makes a conciliation more difficult, and every day will make it more necessary. On the fifth of December, the new house of commons debated the same subje
importance of the island gave them a claim to be heard; but their Chap. XVII.} 1774. Dec. petition, though in due time received by the king and communicated to the house of commons, had no effect whatever. It is plain enough, thus reasoned Vergennes, the king of England is puzzled between his desire of reducing the colonies, and his dread of driving them to a separation; so that nothing could be more interesting than the affairs of America. As the king of France might be called upon to render assistance to the insurgent colonies, the conduct of the English in their support of the Corsicans was cited as a precedent to the French embassy at London, and brought before the cabinet at Versailles. To Louis the Sixteenth Vergennes explained, that the proceedings of the continental congress contained the germ of a rebellion; that while the Americans really desired a reconciliation with the mother country, the ministry from their indifference would prevent its taking place; that Lord N
or of a congress, was unanimously approved. The assembly, now in its seventh year, had long since ceased to represent the people; yet the friends to government plumed themselves on this victory, saying openly, No one among gentlemen dares to support the proceedings of congress; and Colden exclaimed, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. That one vote was worth a million sterling, said Garnier to Rochford with an air of patronage, on hearing the news, while he explained to Vergennes that the vote was to the ministry worth nothing at all, that New York was sure to act with the rest of the continent. The royalists hoped for a combined expression of opinion in the central states. In January, the Quakers of Pennsylvania published an epistle, declaring that the kingdom of Jesus Christ is not of this world, Chap. XIX.} 1775 Jan. and that they would religiously observe the rule not to fight; and the meeting of the Friends of Pennsylvania and New Jersey gave their testi
de prisoners will prevent their doing any further mischief. The charter for the province of Massachusetts Bay empowers the governor to use and exercise the law martial in time of rebellion. The attorney and solicitor-general report that the facts stated in the papers you have transmitted, are the history of an actual and open rebellion in that province, and therefore the exercise of that power upon your own discretion is strictly justifiable. The minister must recede, wrote Garnier to Vergennes, or lose America forever. Your chief dependence, such were Franklin's words to Massachusetts, must be on your own virtue and unanimity, which, under God, will bring you through all difficulties. There was no hope in England but from Chatham, who lost not a moment in his endeavor to prevent a civil war before it should be inevitably fixed; saying, God's will be done, end let the old and new world be my judge. On the first day of February, he presented his plan for true reconcilement an
th, that his principles and those of parliament were as yet too wide from each other for discussion; and on the same day, Lord North, armed with the king's consent in writing, proposed in the house of commons a plan of conciliation. Now, said Vergennes, as he heard of it, Chap. XXII.} 1775. Feb. now more than ever is the time for us to keep our eyes wide open. The proposal was formed on the principle, that parliament, if the colonies would tax themselves to its satisfaction, would impose haughty, insolent nation only, but by all mankind. Present inconveniences are, therefore, to be borne with forti- Chap. XXII.} 1775. Feb. tude, and better times expected. Every negotiation which shall proceed from the present administration, wrote Garnier to Vergennes, will be without success in the colonies. Will the king of England lose America rather than change his ministry? Time must solve the problem; if I am well informed, the submission of the Americans is not to be expected.
New England of the fisheries, to reply not to ministers only, but to their pensioned apologist, in a speech which was admired in England, and gained applause of Vergennes. He justified the union of the Americans, and refuted the suggestion that New York was or could be detached from it. By the extent of America, the numbers of ibut to go home where duty called him. The French minister, who revered his supreme ability, sought with him one last interview. I spoke to him, wrote Garnier to Vergennes, of the part which our president Jeannin had taken in establishing the independence and forming the government of the United Provinces; and the citation of the vented.—With his superiority, said Garnier, and with the confidence of the Americans, he will be able to cut out work for the ministers who have persecuted him. Vergennes felt assured he would spread the conviction that the British ministry had irrevocably chosen its part; and that America had no choice but independence. With per
vingston; not to hasten a revolution, but to concert measures for the preservation of American rights, and for the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the colonies. This happened at a time when the king believed New York won over by immunities and benefactions and the generals who were on the point of sailing were disputing for the command at that place. Burgoyne would best manage a negotiation, said the king; but Howe would not resign his right to the post of confidence. Vergennes saw things just as they were; the British ministry, with a marvellous blindness that but for positive evidence would be incredible, thought it easy to subdue Massachusetts, and corrupt New York. On the fifteenth day of April, letters were written to Gage, to take possession of every colonial fort; to seize and secure all military stores of every kind, collected for the rebels; to arrest and imprison all such as should be thought to have committed treason; to repress rebellion by force; to
ress of the two houses of parliament to the king, pledging lives and fortunes for the reduction of America, and of the king's answer. The Americans, he wrote to Vergennes, display in their conduct, and even in their errors, more thought than enthusiasm, for they have shown in succession, that they know how to argue, to negotiate, heories. The field of Lexington, followed by the taking of Ticonderoga, fixed the attention of the government of France. From the busy correspondence between Vergennes and the French embassy at London, it appeared, that the British ministry were under a delusion in persuading themselves that the Americans would soon tire; that at London, as early as the tenth of July, began the necessary preliminary in- July. 10. quiries. All England, such was the substance of its numerous reports to Vergennes, is in a position, from which she never can extricate herself. Either all rules are false, or the Americans will never again consent to become her subjects.
petitions, the British nation with no more appeals. What then, they ask, remains to be done? and they answer: That we commit our injuries to the justice of the evenhanded Chap. Xxxvii} 1775 June. Being who doth no wrong. In my life, said Shelburne, as he read Jefferson's report, I was never more pleased with a state paper, than with the assembly of Virginia's discussion of Lord North's proposition. It is masterly. But what I fear is, that the evil is irretrievable. At Versailles, Vergennes was equally attracted by the wisdom and dignity of the document; he particularly noticed the insinuation, that a compromise might be effected on the basis of the modification of the navigation acts; and saw so many ways opened of settling every difficulty, that it was long before he could persuade himself, that the infatuation of the British ministry was so blind as to neglect them all. From Williamsburg, Jefferson repaired to Philadelphia; but before he arrived there, decisive communicati