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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
eet Burgoyne, but he also sent him a secret communication, in which among other things he declared upon his honor that the Americans had the certainty of being sustained by France and Spain. This clandestine correspondence proved that Lee had then no fidelity in his heart; though his treasons may as yet have been but caprices, implying momentary treachery rather than a well considered system. His secret was kept in America, but the statement found its way through the British ministry to Vergennes, Chap. XLII.} 1775. July. who pronounced it an absurdity worthy only of contempt. All the while skirmishes continued. A party of Americans on the eighth of July drove in the British advance guard nearest Roxbury, and took several muskets. On the evening of the tenth, three hundred volunteers swept Long Island, in Boston harbor, of more than seventy sheep and fifteen head of cattle, and carried off sixteen prisoners. Two days later, just after the arrival of six crowded transports, Gr
l battle reached the cabinet, and spread rapidly through the kingdom and through Europe. Two more such victories, said Vergennes, and England will have no army left in America. The great loss of officers in the battle saddened the anticipations oflamor for an attack on the house of Bourbon, they would at once become belligerent. The subject was calmly revolved by Vergennes; who was unable to imagine, how sensible people could regard a war with France as a harbor of refuge; especially as her to aid insurgents; but the danger of an attack from the English was held before his eyes, and on the seventh of August Vergennes could reply to De Guines: Be assured, sir, the king very much approves sending Bonvouloir with such precaution that we r relations and events of the utmost importance. Yet all the while the means of pacifying America were so obvious that Vergennes was hardly able to persuade himself they could be missed by the English ministers. The folly imputed to them was so gr
ely 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 au may be sure the plan of these people is, by devastations to force back America fifty years if they cannot subdue it. Vergennes had already said: The cabinet of the king of England may wish to make North America a desert, but there all its power will be stranded; if ever the English troops quit the borders of the sea, it will be easy to prevent their return. Vergennes could not persuade himself that the British government should refuse conciliation, when nothing was demanded but the revocis as obstinate and as feeble as Charles the First, and every day he makes his task more difficult and more dangerous. Vergennes gave up his doubts, Sept. saying: The king's proclamation against the Americans changes my views altogether; that proc
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