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1767. Aug.

done so much to diminish its influence; his intellect bore no comparison to his virtues, his conduct no analogy to his good intentions. Deceived by reverence for the past, without ability to plan a system suited to his age, he left the field open to those who wished ill to liberty in America and in England. His enemies were pleased, for he had acted just as their interests required; the king was never in better spirits.

Grafton, too, obtained the credit of moderation by his seeming readiness to retire ; and, after the rejection of all his offers to Rockingham, people saw him at the head of the treasury with less dissatisfaction. He retained the expectation of an alliance with Bedford, who could not keep his party together without official patronage; but, for the moment, he relied on Townshend.

So Charles Townshend remained in the cabinet, treating every thing in jest, scattering ridicule with full hands, and careless on whom it fell. Grafton was apparently the chief; but the king held the helm, and, as the dissolution of parliament drew near, was the more happy in a dependent ministry. The patronage of the crown amounted to an annual disbursement of six millions sterling; and the secret service money was employed to cover the expenses of elections, at a time when less than ten thousand voters chose a majority of the house of commons. As merchants and adventurers, rich with the profits of trade or the spoils of India, competed for boroughs, the price of votes within twenty years had increased threefold. The Duke of Newcastle grumbled as usual. Edmund Burke grumbled also, because the moneyed men of his party did not engage more of “the venal boroughs."

“May the anarchy in the British government last for ages,” wrote Choiseul. “ Your prayer will be heard,” answered Durand, then in London as minister. sition during this reign will always be strong, for the cabinet will always be divided; but the genius of the nation, concentrating itself on commerce and colonies, compensates the inferiority of the men in power, and makes great advances without their guidance." “My position," observed Choi

66 The oppo

1767. Aug.

seul, as he contemplated, alike in Asia and in America, the undisputed ascendency of the nation which he called his “enemy,” “is the most vexatious possible; I see the ill ; I do not see the remedy.” Anxious to send accurate ac

counts, Durand made many inquiries of Franklin, and asked for all his political writings. “That intriguing

nation," said Franklin, “would like very well to blow up the coals between Britain and her colonies; but I hope we shall give them no opportunity.”

“In England,” observed Durand, “there is no one who does not own that its American colonies will one day form a separate state. The Americans are jealous of their liberty, and will always wish to extend it. The taste for independence must prevail among them; yet the fears of England will retard its coming, for she will shun whatever can unite them.” “Let her but attempt to establish taxes in them,” rejoined Choiseul, “ and those countries, greater than England in extent, and perhaps becoming more populous, having fisheries, forests, shipping, corn, iron, and the like, will easily and fearlessly separate themselves from the mother country.” “Do not calculate," replied Durand, revolution in the American colonies. They aspire not to independence, but to equality of rights with the mother country. A plan of union will always be a means in reserve by which England may shun the greater evil. When the separation comes, the other colonies of Europe will be the prey of those whom excessive vigor may have detached from their parent stock. The loss of the colonies of France and of Spain will be the consequence of the revolution in the colonies of England."

The idea of emancipating the whole colonial world was alluring to Choiseul; and he judged correctly of the nearness of the conflict. 6 The die thrown,” sai

men in Boston, on hearing the revenue act had been carried through. “ The Rubicon is passed.” “We will form one universal combination," it was whispered, “to eat nothing, drink nothing, and wear nothing imported from Great Britain.' The fourteenth of August was commemorated as the anniversary of the first resistance to the stamp act. Of the

on a near

intended appropriation of the new revenue, to make the crown officers independent of the people, the patriots said : “ Such counsels will deprive the prince who now sways the British sceptre of millions of free subjects.” And, when it was considered that Mansfield and the ministry declared some of the grants in colonial charters to be nugatory on the ground of their extent, the press of Boston, in concert with New York, following the precedent set by Molineux in his argument for Ireland, reasoned the matter through to its logical conclusion.

“ Liberty," said the earnest writer, “is the inherent right of all mankind. Ireland has its own parliament, and makes laws; and English statutes do not bind them, says Lord Coke, because they send no knights to parliament. The same reason holds good as to America. Consent only gives human laws their force. Therefore, the parliament of England cannot extend their jurisdiction beyond their constituents. Advancing the powers of the parliament of England, by breaking the rights of the parliaments of America, may in time have its effects.” “ If this writer succeeds,” said Bernard, “ a civil war must ensue.'

The act suspending the legislative functions of New York increased the discontent. The danger of the example was understood; and, while patriots of Boston encouraged one another to justify themselves in the eye of the present and of coming generations, they added : “Our strength consists in union. Let us, above all, be of one heart and one mind. Call on our sister colonies to join with us. Should our righteous opposition to slavery be named rebellion, yet pursue duty with firmness, and leave the event to Heaven.” An intimate correspondence grew up between New York and Boston. They would nullify Townshend's revenue act by consuming nothing on which he had laid a duty, and avenge themselves on England by importing no more British goods.

In September of this year, Franklin was at Paris. His examination before the house of commons had

Sept. given him a wide European reputation. He was presented to various members of the French academy, as the American

1767.

who would one day disembarrass France of these English. Malesherbes recognised “his extraordinary talents for politics ;” and was led to extol“ the American governments, as they permitted the human mind to direct its efforts towards those important objects which promote the prosperity and happiness of the people.” Just then Charles Townshend was seized with fever; and after a short illness, during which he met danger with the unconcerned levity that had marked his conduct of the most serious affairs, he died, at the age of forty-one, famed alike for incomparable talents and extreme instability. Where were now his gibes ? Where his flashes of merriment, that set the table in a roar; his eloquence, which made him the wonder of parliament ? If his indiscretion forbade esteem, his good-humor dissipated hate. He had been courted by all parties, but never possessed the confidence of any. He followed no guide, and he had no plan of his own. No one wished him as an adversary; no one trusted him as an associate. He sometimes spoke with boldness; but at heart he was as timid as he was versatile. He had clear conceptions, depth of understanding, great knowledge of every branch of administration, and indefatigable assiduity in business. During the last session of parliament, his career had been splendid and successful. He had just obtained the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland for his brother, and a peerage for his wife, to descend to his children; and with power, fortune, affection, and honors clustering around him, he fell in the bloom of manhood, the most celebrated statesman who has left nothing but errors to account for his fame.

The choice of his successor would decide on the continuance of the ministry, of which his death seemed to presage

the overthrow. Choiseul esteemed Grenville by far the ablest financier in England, and greatly feared

his return to office. Dreading nothing so much as to be ruled, and following his own sure instinct, the king directed that the vacant place should be offered to Lord North.

At that time, Lord North was thirty-five years old, having seen the light in the same year with Washington. While

1767. Sept.

the great Virginian employed himself as a careful planter, or fulfilled his trust as a colonial legislator, or, in his hour of leisure, leaning against the primeval oaks on the lawn at Mount Vernon, mused on the destinies of his country and resolved to preserve its liberty, Lord North entered the cabinet, in which he was to remain for fifteen most eventful years. He was a minister after the king's own heart; not brilliant, but of varied knowledge; good-humored and able; opposed to republicanism, to reform, and to every popular measure. He had voted for the stamp act, and against its repeal; and had been foremost in the pursuit of Wilkes. Though choleric, he was of an easy temperament; a friend to peace, yet not fearing war; of great personal courage, which, however, partook something of apathy; rarely violent; never enterprising; of such moderation in his demands, that he seemed comparatively disinterested. His judgment was clear and his perceptions quick; but his power of will was feeble, a weakness which endeared him to his royal master. He took a leading part in the conduct of affairs, just as the people of America were discussing the new revenue act, which the king had not suggested; which no living member of the cabinet would own; which Grafton, the prime minister, described as “ absurd ;” but which was the fatal bequest of Charles Townshend.

The Sons of Liberty thought to avoid the new taxes by a universal agreement to send for no more goods from Britain. “Such a confederacy,” said Bernard, “ will be impracticable without violence;” and he advised a regiment of soldiers, as the surest way of “inspiring notions of acquiescence and submission.” “Ships-of-war and a regiment,” said Paxton in England, “are needed to insure tranquillity."

Never was a community more divided by fear and hope than that of Boston, to which the continent was looking for an example. Rash words were spoken, rash counsels conceived. “ The commissioners of the customs,” said the more hasty, 66 must not be allowed to land.” “Paxton must, like Oliver, be taken to Liberty Tree or the gallows, and obliged to resign."

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